Twitter’s Experimental Apps Focus on Fostering Conversation

Twitter has announced a plan to run experiments on some of its users. While there have been rumors of Twitter becoming more involved in messaging, it is probably more accurate to say that Twitter is interested in conversations. With Twitter’s experimental apps, conversation is moved to the forefront. Namely, the way you send and receive direct messages, monitor your friends’ behavior, and participate in public conversations are all a lot more obvious.

“It’s interesting that Twitter is even able to deliver experimental versions of its apps. While A/B testing and delivering unique interfaces to individual users is pretty common on the Web, it’s still unusual to see in an app,” reports Wired.

However, like a webpage, an app simply is a window that presents data in a certain way. Essentially, Twitter has changed the view without changing the application itself. The experimental apps are not actually structurally different, but is one built with at least three different user interfaces. This is likely being accomplished via server side controls.

“On the normal Twitter app, there are four buttons across the bottom that lead to four different timelines: Home, Connect, Discover and Me,” explains Wired. “They lead to the main timeline of tweets from people you follow, the timeline of interactions other people have taken on your tweets, a stream meant to surface tweets you haven’t seen, and your own Twitter tweet history, respectively.”

In the experimental apps, the buttons lead to Timelines, Notifications, Messages and Me. While Me is the same and Notifications is more or less the same as Connect, Timelines and Messages are both interesting changes.

“Timelines displays the same timeline you see in ‘Home’ on the normal app, but swipe to the right and you get an ‘Activity’ timeline that shows the things people in your network are favoriting and retweeting. It’s like a chattier, real-time view of MagicRecs,” notes Wired.

Perhaps the most glaring difference is that in the experimental version, sending and receiving of messages, monitoring of friend activity, and public conversations are all more obvious. Also, the message button is more pronounced, inviting action.