Twitter has just redesigned TweetDeck’s web interface. The change is noticeable the second you sign in to the service; the top bar has been repositioned to the left, and can be expanded and collapsed. You can compose a new tweet, add more columns and search Twitter from the top three buttons. The sidebar can expand to reveal the name of the columns you’ve added and the number of unread/new tweets in each column, your lists, and the search box. The columns you add are all represented by icons and should be easy to identify, unless they’re for a search, which is represented by a magnifying glass icon and is almost the same as the Search icon itself. The new interface also makes it easier to follow your feed when you have a large number of columns added.
There’s very little change in functionality, and it’s mostly the bar that’s been repositioned. The compose tweet button is something you’re only too familiar with and the search button requires no explaining. To add columns, click the plus button and choose the column you want to add. There’s nothing impressive here but if you’ve added a lot of columns – something that a lot of TweetDeck users do since the interface is great for accommodating them – you will see that clicking on a column’s button on the sidebar brings it to focus. The column is brought to the center i.e. scrolled to and highlighted with a bold outline (black for the light theme; blue for the dark one). Expand the sidebar and you will be able to see the number of new tweets in each column.
The improvement to column navigation is the most impressive feature of this update but apart from that, if you think of someone using TweetDeck for the first time, it might actually be confusing. The Lists’ icon is recurring if you’ve added one of your lists as a column, and there’s no obvious way to tell the difference between the two. The bar, in its collapsed state is also not a whole lot useful for navigation. Not only is it impossible to tell which search, list, or trend is which (if you’ve added multiple columns of each), but it also doesn’t tell you if there are any new tweets in that particular column without having to expand it first. The collapsed toolbar seems to be there for the sake of it, unless you’ve got just one column added for each type of item and can therefore easily identify it with its icon at a glance. We love the column navigation and can recognize the obvious design/space constraint that the collapsed bar is trying to compensate for, but it could have still been improved by adding at least the respective unread tweet count to each column button in the collapsed state.