Twitter has changed the way images appear on its website. It used to display cropped photographs in rectangular grids; now it will show the entire un-cropped photo and collect multiple pictures into larger, more dynamic image galleries.
Product manager Akarshan Kumar said in a blog post that the update is part of Twitter’s efforts to move past 140 character missives. “While Twitter began as an all-text platform,” he wrote, “rich media has become essential to the experience.”
Twitter has made other changes to pursue that goal. Its platform now supports automatically-playing videos, better photo-editing tools, and redesigned profiles that make it as easy to view users’ photos and videos as it is to see their tweets.
Perhaps the most noticeable change is the introduction of Moments, a new tool that makes it easy to view photos, videos, and tweets related to specific topics. I said the tool is Twitter’s trending feature done right; others aren’t as keen on it.
Given the mixed reaction to Moments, it’s no surprise that Twitter has swapped the tool’s position on its navigation bar with the notifications tab, which many people are going to use to learn about their new followers, likes, and retweets.
It’s hard not to see that change as underhanded. Combine the little blue line beneath Moments with its new position in a place where people used to find valuable information and this seems like a desperate bid for confused clicks.
The change to how Twitter displays images is a little more straightforward. It’s innocuous, for the most part, and earlier this morning I was asked if I wanted the site to continue to automatically “expand” potentially violent or sexual content, presumably because the update will make that content more noticeable.