Twitter just redesigned its homepage? You probably read about it but did you notice any changes? Probably not unless you don’t use Twitter at all.
The “revamped homepage” as some pundits put it can only be seen when you’re not logged in.
I already wondered what strange marketing tactic this is when StumbleUpon has done that, relaunching the site for outsiders but not the members. For weeks signed in Stumblers couldn’t see the new shiny homepage.
Twitter seems to commit the same mistake as StumbleUpon. Why is redesigning the frontpage or site just for casual visitors a problem? For at least two reasons.
Just imagine a person who got used to a certain look which encounters a different design on a friend’s computer. Then s/he logs in just to discover that the design disappears. “What’s wrong” is the first question you can think of. Is Twitter broken? The user experience is quite poor now. You get two different site designs depending on whether you are a member or not. A new user might feel cheated getting a different look and feel instead of the one s/he expected to get judging from the homepage.
Don’t you feel neglected when the new kid on the block gets preferential treatment while you, the loyal disciple gets the business as usual kind of reaction? This is exactly how Twitter made its users feel. The feeling might not surface but inside the gut you feel it. It feels strange to be treated like that. Why do they care less for those they should value the most, their members?
Now I might be a little picky. Let’s just assume it’s OK to redesign just for casual visitors. Still it feels weird.
The new Twitter homepage or landing page as some describe it looks like a search engine. The speculation about the ominous Twitter vs Google competition got reignited with this step. Let’s assume the that you are a person who have never heard of Twitter before. Now the person enters the Twitter landing page and sees a search engine. Then she enters its favorite keyword or topic and hits the “search” button. Now I just did that.
I entered “seo” and hit the search button. The first two results were in Spanish.
I speak some Spanish but it could have been German, Japanese or whatever else most people don’t speak. It’s just random. For the average Google user it’s just random crap results. So don’t promise if you can’t deliver. Don’t try to look like a search engine if you aren’t one. Most people will bounce off that landing page especially as most of the popular topics are cryptic for people new to Twitter.
These are currently the top 5 most popular topics on the Twitter homepage. At #6 there is Harry Potter, the only key phrase most people will know but I doubt that Harry Potter will make people join Twitter. Thus overall the new Twitter homepage alienates both existing users as well as potential ones.
Who the hell advises Twitter on SEO? They should be fired. I guess they don’t have a SEO advisor yet. The leaked documents showed just a “SEO?” 😉