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Twitter prepares design overhaul

Graeme Parton

Micro-blogging site Twitter is set to unveil its most significant design overhaul in nearly two years, as it looks to attract new users.

The platform’s new mobile application will provide updated content feeds for popular subjects, such as live TV shows, breaking news and sporting events. The updated design will also lend itself to visual content, with videos and photos displayed more prominently for users.

An early version of Twitter’s new app, which offers an interface more similar to those used by rival networks Instagram and Facebook, is currently in the beta testing phase for use on Android smartphones. While it is hugely popular, Twitter often struggles to retain its users; the new developments are thought to be part of an attempt to stop this happening.

In response to the changes, Debra Williamson from research firm eMarketer, suggested that Twitter must streamline its offering to make it simple for users. By doing this, it should be able to boost its user-base and increase advertising revenue. She said:

“A lot of people might get overwhelmed with the stream, it needs to do a better job of surfacing tweets or information based on what they know about you, where you are and what you’re doing.”

It is thought that Twitter has around 250m regular users worldwide. This is based on an announcement made in December last year that it had reached the 200m milestone.

Another research analyst, Brian Wiesner from Pivotal Research, said that the overhaul was unlikely to significantly boost user numbers but the changes could help improve the site’s ability to retain interest. He explained:

“Twitter feels like more of a niche application at this point in time, at least for the bulk of the population. It is more akin to LinkedIn: there’s a very strong use case for those who use it and like it but it is not for everyone.”

Twitter is expected to roll out the updates to users before the end of 2013.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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