By now, it should be a familiar adage: For such a simple idea, Twitter is a tough service for newcomers to figure out.
But now, in the days before its IPO, the company is putting on its best face for the public.
On Monday evening, Twitter quietly rolled out an entirely new “About” section on its company homepage, giving it a near-complete visual refresh while adding a number of detailed, informative sections.
Much of it is what you’d expect from a company on the verge of going public – a press section, a rundown of executive bios and headshots, a list of Twitter’s milestones and high-level data points.
The most telling section, though, comes at the bottom of the company’s products page, an icon that beckons you to discover what you can do with Twitter.
It is, in essence, a complete visual blueprint of what Twitter is in its most basic terms, a sort of Grey’s Anatomy for the body of a tweet. The breakdown answers simple questions – ones that someone like you, an AllThingsD reader, would likely take for granted – such as “What’s in a tweet?” and “What is following?”
It also offers a simple sign-up flow (smart for onboarding) and a host of slick design flourishes, complete with animations and a nifty tweet counter toward the bottom.
Is this all incredibly rudimentary? Yes, it is.
But, more than that, it is the long overdue arrival of what should be considered table stakes for Twitter, a company that aims to go truly mainstream upon its public market debut, come Thursday. No doubt the increased media attention, too, will drive new users and prospective investors to investigating exactly how Twitter ticks.
To be sure, this has been a long time coming. Under comms VP Gabriel Stricker, Twitter expanded the scope of its communications department in April to include marketing duties, a move that came after previous hiring missteps.
The company has also experimented with a number of cutesy videos and data visualizations to win over laypersons. And, just a few months ago, Twitter poached former Facebook marketing head Kate Jhaveri to further expand the team.
Obviously, Twitter has much more work to do if it wants to be as easily accessible as something like, say, Facebook. An upcoming product redesign could aid the company on that front.
Still, this is a small but noteworthy step in making the service that much more digestible to the masses. And, frankly, it’s about time.