Twitter has become the go-to place for real-time news and user reactions no matter how big or small an event is. While the company has been adding a decent user base over time, it has also invited harsh criticism from its power users over several key issues. Now, Twitter is looking to solve its problems with a new beta programme. The social media giant is looking to launch a new beta app to test its upcoming features.
In an effort to stay relevant, Twitter wants to gather as much user feedback as possible, something it had announced earlier this month. The company's upcoming beta app will open up to a select audience. The feedback collected from these users will determine which features make it to the company's stable apps.
In a conversation with TechCrunch, Twitter's director of product management, Sara Haider offered a close look at Twitter's new beta app, revealing some of the most significant features that will be tested by beta users initially.
Beta testers will have to download an upcoming standalone app. Unlike its Experiments Program, Twitter will not enforce a non-disclosure agreement with its beta testers which means users of the app will be able to talk about it freely and even share screenshots, therefore, inviting more user feedback.
Some of the biggest changes, compared to the stable apps, on the upcoming Twitter beta app, will include colour-coded replies, algorithmically sorted responses, lack of engagement icons, and other changes. These are naturally quite different from the regular Twitter experience. The way users react to these features will shape Twitter's future design changes.
Some of these features seem like an obvious response to help alleviate Twitter's major drawbacks. Colour-coded replies could help differentiate user responses based on which user has replied to a specific tweet. This could curb spam issues like earlier cryptocurrency-based scams which cropped up on Twitter.
Twitter will also use algorithmic testing so that users don't miss out on important replies on Twitter from their friends. This will also ensure users see different responses to each tweet, based on their friends on Twitter.
The company is also going to experiment with the removal of the hearts/like, replies, and retweet buttons. This could shake up Twitter's core functionality but it seems like a bold experiment, to begin with. It's worth mentioning here that one of Twitter's biggest features, hashtags, were invented by its users themselves.
Twitter says it will not entirely eliminate engagement buttons, but may choose not to display them for users who don't really want them in the first place.