Innovate through experimentation

Friday, 4 May 2012

In order to offer you the simplest and most engaging Twitter experience, we frequently test hundreds of variations of new features and designs with small groups of users. We test everything from subtle tweaks in the language of our sign-up pages and removing the search box from our homepage to big shifts in navigation elements. These experiments help us understand what experiences people like best or use most often. When an experiment ends, we study the results and roll out the most successful variation to everyone as soon as we can.

After recent experimentation, we introduced a slight redesign to every Tweet that flows through your timeline on A Tweet may be our basic unit of communication, but it also contains a universe: each one has an identity with a username, real name and avatar; a 140-character message that includes text as well as metadata like time and language; some context (replies, favorites and retweets of that Tweet), and perhaps media (photos, videos or links).

Now, when you hover over the newly-redesigned Tweet, you’ll always see options to reply, favorite or retweet in the lower-left corner against a grey background.

Innovate through experimentation

If the Tweet contains media, you’ll also see specific options like “View photo” or “View video”; otherwise, you’ll see the option to “Expand”. You can expand any Tweet in your timeline to see inline context like favorites or retweets from other people, or additional Tweets from that same conversation. You can also click on any Tweet’s timestamp or “Details” to see that Tweet’s permalink, the unique web page for that Tweet.

We made these changes because this iteration showed a significant increase in engagement, the highest of all the implementations during our experiment. We hope you like this change, which we think makes all of the possible ways to interact with a Tweet more clear. Even more, we hope you don’t mind our ongoing experiments. We’re always curious to find new ways to delight you, and to improve your Twitter experience.

*Editor's note: As of November 2017, Twitter has increased the character count of Tweets in certain languages to make it easier to share what’s happening.


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