Surprise! Surprise! The fine folks at Twitter have just released a new design for their homepage and it seems to be all the buzz on the Internet world. I must say that at first it looks a lot different than the original design and after taking a closer look, I’m pretty impressed about it. One of the comments that I’ve been noticing on Twitter about the design is that the platform is now putting more prominence and focus on the search component – definitely a great idea that will offer more accessibility towards those companies or individuals who do not have a Twitter account (although they very well should have one).
Why is Twitter search so much more important than actually signing in? Because that’s where you can figure out what your customers are talking about. Just look at the common topics right now: Hell’s Kitchen, AT&T, William Shatner, etc. Many of these things could be brands or products. Twitter is pretty much banking on the fact that in the old design, the only way you could really exploit trending topics is by signing into the account, but with best practices coming into play, the team probably felt that it would make it more user-friendly by just having it on the homepage. But in something that I’m not sure how popular it will become, they have divided up the trending topics into segments based on time frames:
- Topics people are talking about right now.
- Topics people are talking about today.
- Topics people are talking about this week.
But while that’s an interesting feature, one mustn’t overlook the big search bar in the homepage that pretty much gives all users the option to either log-in or not to do a search on any topic. Without this, the users or interested parties would be subject to the search criteria that the popular masses are talking about. At the time of this writing, I didn’t see anything being said about Washington, DC so instead of waiting for an enormous amount of people talking about it, I can simply enter that into a search and get my information instantly. Twitter has finally seen the light and realizes the true importance of having a search engine – although you can only search for topics, not for users – therefore, it makes it still difficult for non-users to find a user’s profile page without being told.
It was just a few months ago that Twitter decided to purchase third-party powerhouse Summize and “integrate” it into their website. And once they did, they only did it in a half-ass integration. But now they’ve done a complete 180 on that and you can see how smoothly integrated it is on the front-end so that people have that all under one design. In fact, if you clicked on one of the trending topics, you’re going to notice that the new design is being encompassed with the search results as well – perhaps another sign that Twitter is now growing up?
Just look at the above example using the search term “AT&T” and you’ll notice that no longer is the web address under search.twitter.com, but it has been rolled into the twitter.com domain. And the results page looks exactly like the homepage – great tie-in. But while you get the latest tweets regarding said trends, you’ll notice that Twitter has added in some extra pieces of information. With respect to the above graphic, you’ll notice that there’s a bunch of tweets about AT&T, then on the right side are additional trending topics you can look over, along with some search tips. However, look at the blue bar right below the field where you entered your search term. Twitter has done a miraculous job of inserting copy telling why that search has become a trending topic along with some additional pertinent information that might help you out.
So what does this mean for marketers and communicators? Less obstacles to access the dialogue taking place around your product and/or company, I suppose. I believe that there’s more dialogue that can now take place and it should NOT hinder companies from being unable to view the conversation. Just because you’re not on Twitter doesn’t mean you didn’t know where to look or that you can feign ignorance about knowing people are talking about your company. Sure it was easy to find just by going to search.twitter.com, but now it’s literally on the twitter.com homepage so with multiple destinations and touch points, it’s just been made that much easier.