Twitter has introduced a newly designed landing page last week. First, let us congratulate Twitter who managed, in the midst of a chaotic growth, to redesign such a good looking landing page.
Many of us have become so used to the circa 1980’s default design that only now, when we get to see the new, smooth, web2.0-inspired design we realize how horrible it was.
The problem is that the new landing page will probably yield little, if any, statistically significant improvement for the company. Here’s why:
- Most twitter users utilize a third party application like Tweetdeck or Seesmic—so they never get to see the new landing page unless they’re forced to use the browser (such as on a computer that isn’t theirs). For these users, the new landing page is useless.
- Even for those users who enter Twitter through the browser (for whatever silly reason), once they check off the “Remember Me” option—they too will never see the landing page again and instead be directed to their profile. For these users, while the landing page may be pretty at first glance, it is mostly useless thereafter.
- Twitter Search—which is one of the most strategically important asset of the company, still looks like an absolute nothing. Yes—it may be google-esque—but it expresses very little of Twitter’s capabilities beyond a few hashtags and trends. In fact, the new landing page (the one we’ll never see again once logged in) has more of that magic sauce than the Search page offering a richer view of trending topics by the week, day, and moment. So here too, the new landing page won’t stick in memory for long.
- And finally—users’ home page—where we spend most of our time if we are using the browser, is the second place where Twitter should express its robustness and encourage users to interact with the system and yet this page is still focused on the live stream and very little on anything else, let alone on enhanced visual or additional functionality. And the landing page? Useless again.
In short, the new Twitter landing page is nicely designed but mostly useless. Like a golden faucet, it draws attention the first time you see it but then, all you care about is the water coming out of it.
So why has Twitter chosen to invest in it? Well, one could argue that Twitter has either chosen a poor strategy or an extremely conservative one. I would put my bets on the latter.
With the many failwhale capacity issues, search issues, and other mini-crashes, Twitter has all hands holding a very thin fabric. So while it knows it needs to update its design and the expressed functionality of Twitter, my guess is that the company has chosen to do so without putting additional burden on an already tearing thread.
But I’m sticking with the simple tap of a Twitter a while longer because if they get it right--when they get it right—what can rise is a powerful, thriving, never seen before engine that flexibly adjusts to whatever users’ interests are in the moment. Instead of passively recording trending topics, Twitter will be able to recommend to users adjacent topics to look into, provide them with relevant content, suggest people to follow, send alerts about new uploaded content, and, with all the user data it has, will be able to take it much farther than any engine has to date.