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“New Twitter” Kills Custom Backgrounds

If you are an agency, organization or individual that has made use of customized Twitter backgrounds to share contact info, expanded “about me,” Facebook URLs and more in the left-hand side of the Twitter.com profile page, then the roll out of “New Twitter” may leave you with some additional work to spruce up your page.

In addition to inline media and other features, the new Twitter.com platform refresh takes up greater screen real estate. In doing so, it blocks out the formerly empty left hand part of the background that proved popular real-estate to share additional information, albeit in a static, non-linkable format via a custom background.

This obviously isn’t just a government agency or organizational issue, but one that will affect thousands of profiles whenever viewed on Twitter.com. As @GrafikDepot points out, if a viewer is using a screen resolution of 1600 pixels wide (or larger), most old Twitter backgrounds will look fine on New Twitter. The problem is that very few users have resolution set to 1600 wide or larger (~12% according to MarketShare’s August 2010 report on screen resolutions), the vast majority are viewing at 1024 or 1280.

Head over to blog.govtwit.com for some are some sample pages with before/after “New Twitter” views of the background image. Below is how @GovLoop’s profile looks on new Twitter…

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Adriel Hampton

This is perhaps the most significant anti-user UI change Twitter has made. Interested to see how folks react. Other than customizing the colors, I’ve always been bad at the custom background, but some folks have put a lot of effort into these.

Steve Lunceford

Agreed, though in honesty, does Twitter *want* you to promote your Facebook page or LinkedIn page, etc vs staying on their platform?

The sad thing is that we’ll no longer have $5 footlong Ressler in his background 😉

Kevin Lanahan

It’s social media. We don’t control the platform. Get used to it.

It’s great that we were able to use the otherwise empty space to promote whatever our message is, the layout changed, and we have to change with it. Magazines change formats, TV ads get shorter, billboards come and go. We have to adapt or get out.