New Twttr App: Twitter’s Prototype to Improve Thread Replies

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Twitter has just launched a prototype of its new mobile app for testing. They named it twttr and it is now here for the first group of testers to try out the new features and give their feedback. One of the major changes it has over the original app is the new way users can view replies to a thread.

For those who have used Twitter, you would know how it can be a pain to follow conversations. Every reply seemed to have its own thread within and so on, creating a weird recurrence that confused many. To make it “easier”, Twitter had incorporated a thin grey line that offered little to no help. And you were taken to another page if you wanted to see the full reply thread.

The main purpose of having a separate app is so Twitter doesn’t upset its current ecosystem before making a drastic change in its interface. It also helps the social media giant to know how users perceive the new layout. It is a smart move by Twitter, staying on the safe side and you really can’t be sure how the masses react to different things. Here’s what’s different.

Color Coding and Indentation

Image: TechCrunch

As you can see above, the replies in a thread are much more intuitive. They have been indented based on their level in the overall conversation. They also have a curved indication next to each reply displayed as well. It’s color-coded to let you know about the person who replied. If you follow that particular person, the indicator is blue and that reply is at the top in longer threads. The replies by the Original Tweeter have a grey indicator while the person who’s neither of these has no indicator.

Extra Step for Engagements

Image: TechCrunch

If you are used to seeing the heartretweet or reply on each tweet or its reply then you might get disoriented with the new layout. The tweets and replies on twttr don’t have any engagement icons on them. In fact, they don’t have anything on them other than the text. So how do you access these features? Well, they can be available once you tap on the tweet. When you do so, the tweet pops up and the familiar buttons appear under it. It does seem inconvenient but if we were to look at the bright side, it does result in an overall cleaner look of the threads.

Introduction of “Show More”

Image: TechCrunch

For longer reply threads, Twitter has introduced a new feature called Show More. You may have seen this used on Facebook or other social sites and now it has made its way on Twitter. What it does is, for a longer thread, show only 1 highlighted reply and give you an option below to show more. So if you’re interested in reading the replies to that particular tweet, you can tap on it and it will smoothly include all other replies below the highlighted reply.

Feedback in Panel

Image: TechCrunch

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the twttr app is still a prototype in its testing phase. This means that Twitter needs feedback from the people using it regarding any bugs, fixes or improvements. To cater to that, there is an extra twttr Feedback option on the profile panel. To access it, swipe right from the left edge of the screen. It’s similar to the one you’re used to today, except for the extra option we just talked about. Tapping on it takes you directly to a survey form where you can report anything.

In my opinion, this is a great step by Twitter. The layout looks way better, cleaner and less confusing than before. The idea of implementing after proper feedback is also clever. By playing it safe, they can avoid a possible backlash. Similar to the one that happened to Snapchat when it changed its layout without much research. twttr is currently only available for iOS through an application process. An Android version is probably on its way.

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