When I opened the Brass Flowers Twitter account in October 2010, it offered me the “new” Twitter. I opted in. The new design relies on left and right panels. The left panel is similar to what you’re used to from Twitter. The right side is a much wider version of the right column that’s already there. You have your trending topics, but now if you click to something, it might open in the right panel rather than opening as a new web page.
The main thing I noticed was that the layout doesn’t make sense for the “lowest common denominator” of around 1000 pixels wide. It’s still considered a best practice to design assuming many people still have 1024 as their resolution. And this makes sense when you consider that many laptops are still at 1200 or 1280, and that many netbooks are 1024.
Most people are using Twitter apps from computers and phones. But then why redesign, or why redesign for wider than the lowest common denominator? I asked some of my friends if they were getting a left-right scroll bar. Some are. That’s not good.
Here is a screen shot of what the page looks like on my office monitor and what it looks like from my netbook (click to enlarge). The content takes up 1040 pixels on my office monitor, and it takes up 928 pixels on my netbook. Note that in both cases, you really have very little opportunity to design and brand the background… unless you think people are on really wide monitors, and with the popularity of smaller devices like iPads and netbooks, who can assume that?
Update on 6 October 2010: We scooped Masahble! 🙂 They just covered this today. Here is their look at how you can still be a Twitter background designer.