Similar to Facebook’s upgrade to Timeline several months ago, Twitter has now brought a “banner image” feature to all profile pages. For brands and regular users, this puts a greater emphasis on truly integrating aesthetics and design in general into social media. The new creative real estate that Twitter has provided, just like Facebook before it, appears indicative of a general trend in social media; to make social spaces easy for individuals to customize, allowing them to visually define themselves or their social persona.
Before Timeline, the vast majority of social media was very difficult to truly aesthetically customize — profile pictures could be changed, personal information could be edited, but appearance in general was either not changeable at all, or the changeable area was on the periphery of a profile page. In 2012, Facebook and Twitter have both taken strides to change that, making design an even more integral part of the social media experience.
Twitter also completely redesigned its entire app suite, with new versions becoming available for all major mobile operating systems. The new app looks significantly different than its predecessor, but it does appear to shift the mobile interface much closer to the main online user interface. In the previous version, links or images embedded in Tweets would slide open on the right side of the app. In the new app, Tweets are expanded with one tap, and the links/images/videos open in their own full-screen window, very similar to the way Facebook’s app now opens the same content. Visually, the app now features a much smaller option bar on the left side of the screen, with navigation having the same options as the Twitter web interface (home, connect, discover, and “me”).
Mashable and others have guides on the new space’s specifications. Some key information includes:
- Maximum image size is 1252 x 626 pixels, although the platform does drastically shrink that size for profile display
- The banner image loads behind a user’s profile picture
- The white profile information text does not appear to allow color changes to mesh with the new banner image