What Twitter’s New Profile Pages Teach Brands About the Next Evolution in Social Network Design

By: Sofie De Beule

April 9, 2014

As of yesterday, brand new Twitter web profiles are live in the Twittersphere. In a few weeks time, the feature reminiscent of Facebook’s profile pages will slowly roll out to everyone. According to Twitter, the redesigned profiles help users “to show the world who they are and express themselves more easily”. Although the Twitter redesign is a welcomed update to the layout, it’s a bit late considering the fast-paced evolution of social networks.

As we spend most of our time in our Twitter feed looking to tap into conversation, many users often look at brands’ or people’s pages to find out more about their location, a link to their website, or a quick overview of their content. It’s a great way to instantly get to know a brand, so the overall look of pages is extremely important.

Which brings me to this question: what does the new Twitter profile teach brands about the next evolution in social network design?

1. Rich Visual Content

The new mosaic-view of tweets shows that visual design and content have become increasingly important on the microblogging platform (and on any social platform for that matter) as it increases engagement. It wasn’t until October that Twitter changed to a slightly more visual network when it began inserting preview of images and Vines into tweets.

The new tile layout and added header, similar to Facebook’s profile pages, contributes a lot more to the visual experience. Take a look at the image below, for example, and see how Twitter’s ‘Following’ list is now a Pinterest-like board.

The new visual experience also enables brands to promote themselves more through the social platform via Pinned Tweets. You can now pin a tweet to your profile by clicking on the little ‘More’ menu in every tweet and select: “Pin to your profile page”. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t forget to regularly update them.

2. Focus on Engagement

As social networks are continuously searching for new opportunities to boost engagement, Twitter’s redesigned profile shows the tweets with the highest engagement as slightly enlarged to draw more attention to them. By giving more options to users, like customizing your profile with favorite tweets, a larger profile photo, and new cover image, Twitter hopes this will increase engagement as well.

For example, the photo/video area now has a two-column display of all visual content you’ve shared on the social network, which makes visuals a lot more engaging.

3. Accessibility

The new redesign is clearly the next step in making their core product more approachable to a more mainstream audience. The “old” profiles looked a bit out of touch with the current evolution in social network design since Twitter has focused too long on text rather than on pictures. Luckily, it’s now possible to access a lot more rich, eye-catching content which makes it easier to interact with tweets from the main feed.