In October, Twitter said it is redesigning conversations on the platform in an effort to encourage friendlier and more useful discussions. Now the company is ready to test the redesign with a wider group of users, and will take applications from anyone who wants to try it out. Users are invited to apply at this link.
The new design is intended “to make it easier to see more of what people are saying,” the company says. A new rounded shape to replies makes a Twitter thread look more like text messages. Replies are also indented, giving them the appearance of a Reddit thread. Replies from people you follow appear in blue, and replies from the original tweeter are in gray.
Twitter is also experimenting with efforts to de-emphasize engagement numbers. The number of likes and retweets that a reply has received are now hidden until a user clicks on the reply, along with sharing options and other details about the tweet.
As experiments go, this seems… fine? For all of Twitter’s talk about fundamentally rethinking every aspect of the site, in practice it mostly just lightly iterates on a feature set that has existed for a decade. Adjusting the shape of the text bubbles may offer a welcome refresh of the design, but the new look seems unlikely to change the nature of conversation on the platform.
The company emphasized that these features are likely to change as test users offer their feedback. A general release is at least “many months” away, the company said.