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​Twitter's New Design Looks Awfully Familiar...

The new circular avatars make it look like Instagram, Snapchat and...Google Plus.

by Carl Franzen
Jun 15 2017, 8:07pm

Twitter unveiled a new design today, and boy is it curvy. Avatar photos have gone from postage stamp-style squares to circles, and all the corners on pretty much everything have been rounded.

There's been some significant font and styling changes, as well as thinner strokes and new buttons. It looks pretty weird to me right now, but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon and forget how the old Twitter looked.

That said, the changes make Twitter look much more like numerous other social networks today, including Instagram (a failed Twitter acquisition target), Snapchat, and...yes, Google Plus (which is still around—kind of—no pun intended)!

In fact, I'd argue that Google Plus pioneered the circle avi design trend. Take a look at this screenshot from Google Plus's May 2013 redesign.

Image: Google Plus

Instagram didn't get circular avatar photos until September of that year, and Snapchat followed with its circular Stories interface in October. Facebook, too, changed the look of its Messenger app that same month. Twitter is unquestionably late to the game, as some web designers have been asserting for years that circular avatar photos are better at differentiating a profile photo from a post.

Image: Carl Franzen/Snapchat

According to David Pierce at Wired, the changes at Twitter are driven in part by its CEO Jack Dorsey, who "has grown ruthless about removing the Twitter brand from the Twitter experience," to focus on users' "content."

While there hasn't been a massive outcry over the redesign as in some social network refreshes past, the changes are prompting some users to ask Twitter for other perennially-desired improvements, such as better tools for fighting abuse.

None of today's changes addressed that topic, unfortunately.

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