Today, Twitter rolled out a new prototype app called “Twttr” that previews new features to a group of select testers.
An email from Twitter sent to testers said, “We’re excited to bring you in this early to give you a behind-the-scenes, first look at how we’re exploring new ideas.” It’s unclear when or if the features will be available for a wider audience, but it’s a glimpse at how Twitter is thinking about tweaking its platform.
The app, which BuzzFeed News downloaded through Apple’s beta testing platform Testflight, includes a test of a redesigned reply format. Here’s what it looks like:
Replies to a tweet look more like a direct message. Replies from people you follow are outlined in blue, while replies from the original tweeter are outlined in black.
The number of retweets and likes are also hidden in the thread view, and only appear when you tap on them.
Here's what it looks like when you don't follow anyone in the thread, with a condensed view on the left and an expanded view on the right:
Composing replies looks different, too. Now you can see the tweet you’re replying to while you write the reply.
An FAQ sent to testers details the new features and other tweaks in the pipeline.
Twitter spokesperson Liz Kelley said that the new features aim to facilitate “the public conversation.” In an emailed statement, Kelley said, “Public conversation helps the world learn faster, solve common problems, and realize we’re all in this together. We know it could be easier to follow and join conversations on Twitter, so we're openly testing early explorations and with this app and continuing to build Twitter with the people who use it.”
The redesigned reply system may help make conversations easier to read. It’s unclear how or if the new interface will help with issues of harassment and abuse.
Interested testers can apply online.
The official Twitter Support handle advised that applicants should check their email for updates in the next few days. The company will be adding users from the waitlist at a later time.
Still no edit button, though :(
Replies are just one of the features the company is revamping. Last year, after much user outcry, Twitter released a new button on mobile to switch between an algorithmic and chronological timeline.