For the first time in six years, Twitter has decided to update its tweet and follow buttons. The new button avoids the old skeuomorphic design witch boasts realistic looking features such as drop shadows, gradients, and a 3D effect. The blue Twitter bird and black text will disappear and instead mirror the trendy flat design of more classic and simple features with a 2D white and blue version.
The minimalist design growing in popularity emphasizes usability, and was first demonstrated by Microsoft Windows 8. Image simplicity within the flat design is less showy, but conveys clearer messages that are universally comprehensible.
In conjunction with the share count removal from the tweet button, Twitter also discarded the data point where the tweet count information could be found. When asked about the changes, Twitter explained that the tweet count doesn’t mean anything, wasn’t intended for public use and is too pricey when porting to the new Twitter platform. “Rebuilding has its own costs, and would delay our work on other, more impactful offerings for our developer community. After talking to several of the top customers affected, we chose to not continue the feature.”
Withdrawing the count feature also eliminates the spam market that was generated by the sale of tweets for re-tweets, which damages the value and interaction the counter was meant to reflect. The visual consequence of a countless tweet button is certainly creating a major headache for publishers. Finding the most popular site content, and establishing publisher credibility are just a few of the many issues users are now faced with.
With Instagram surpassing them by more than 80 million users, competitors are stepping up their game, and Twitter is under pressure to regain its lost popularity. The introduction of these new changes seem to hint at Twitters struggle to climb back to the top in becoming more user-friendly.
The update comes hand-in-hand with other current changes for Twitter, the most compelling being dismissal of the homepage wallpaper, launch of desktop notifications, and loss of the 140-character limit on direct messages. These changes by Twitter are a quiet reminder that large social platforms are constantly evolving for better or worse, and ruffling some feathers along the way.