Twitter to tweak redesign after users complain of headaches and eye strain

The social media platform says it is 'listening and iterating'

Twitter is aiming to clean up 'visual clutter' on its site, making it accessible to all. AFP
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Twitter’s newly unveiled redesign, which includes a custom font called Chirp, will be tweaked after users complained of headaches and discomfort caused by the latest update.

The social network originally posted that the changes, unveiled last week, might “feel weird at first”, but would help improve content consumption by cleaning up “visual clutter” in a bid to make it more accessible to all.

In addition to the new font, Twitter also increased its contrast to make buttons and other visual elements, such as images, stand out more.

However, users complained of issues from the start. One said the new font caused problems with her astigmatism and that the mobile app created eye strain.

Another said the update caused them a headache that “stayed for over 24 hours” and said it was still ongoing.

One user said they have sensory sensitivities and that the company’s update was more than simply "uncomfortable" for them, but rather "unbearable".

On Thursday, Twitter asked users to let them know if they were experiencing any issues with the redesign. At the time, the platform also acknowledged it was having its own problems with display bugs and was working to fix them, but would also be making further alterations.

“We’re making contrast changes on all buttons to make them easier on the eyes because you told us, the new look is uncomfortable for people with sensory sensitivities. We’re listening and iterating,” Twitter said via its Twitter Accessibility account.

In January, Derrit DeRouen, creative director of Twitter’s global brand, posted an entire thread about why the company felt a need to develop its own typeface, saying: "For everyday use it must be sharp and legible (with good density), but with personality and distinctiveness."

However, users responded to that thread with their own problems with the font.

Goodbye to fleets

Last month, Twitter announced it would be getting rid of its unpopular disappearing tweets feature called fleets. The company began testing tweets that vanish after 24 hours last March, in Brazil.

Fleets were designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets.

"We built fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts," said Ilya Brown, head of product for brand and video ads, in a blog post.

"We hoped fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter. But, in the time since we introduced fleet to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with fleets like we hoped. Because of this, on August 3, fleets will no longer be available on Twitter."

Updated: August 17, 2021, 8:30 AM