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Twitter unveils redesign, touts ease-of-use

Mobile apps get new look and features, Website changes coming

Twitter announced a redesign today aimed at making the site more customizable and easier to use.

The new, simplified design will be rolled out over the next few weeks, and affects Twitter.com, mobile Twitter apps and TweetDeck, which was a third-party app until Twitter bought it earlier this year. The redesign is set to show up immediately on versions of mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android.

"We've simplified the design to make it easier than ever to follow what you care about, connect with others and discover something new," Twitter announced in a blog post. "What we're announcing today is just the beginning. We now have a framework in place that we will quickly build and iterate upon to help users connect with whatever is meaningful to them."

Part of the redesign has Twitter trying to help users find information that would interest them.

For instance, a new section called Stories will be added to users' accounts. There, users should be directed to interesting content.

Twitter also is focused on helping new users figure out how to easily and efficiently use the site and get to the information they want and find people and companies with Twitter profiles. The company also is expanding the functionality of users' profile pages so people and companies can share more about themselves through text, pictures and video.

"To me, these changes add more 'social' to Twitter's social networking tool, making them more Facebook-like," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "It will kind of put Twitter into a bit of a new space, transforming it from a tool that people use to make quick informative/snarky comments to more of a home for their informative/snarky comments."

He added that the redesign is a good move for Twitter, adding more versatility to its interface and making it easier for Twitter Nation to see their updates and their mentions and retweets.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, said that anytime a social network can add functionality, while making the site easier to use, it's a very good thing.

"This redesign seems cool," he said. "It appears all the changes have made Twitter more customizable for users. It's also more useful since your interests become more searchable now."

This redesign follows one that Twitter made to its interface in the fall of 2010. The company allowed people to use the old interface until August, when everyone was finally forced to switch to the new look.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

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