The popular microblogging site Twitter announced and launched a refresh of its interface on its company blog Thursday. Updated tabs, a new design customizer, and Ajax work on the back end are the major features of this release.
The most noticeable UI change is the move of the smaller tabs that were on top of the timeline to the right sidebar, where they can occupy more space, making them larger clicking targets. They also moved the following/followers/updates stats to the top of the page and made them larger, so now I can really see how deflated my follower numbers are.
The Twitter Blog also notes that moving the tabs to the side was necessary to make room for future tabs since space was limited in their previous location. While Twitter doesn't clue us in to what features might be housed in these new tabs, Summize (now Twitter Search) is a likely candidate for some sort of inclusion since Twitter's old search box disappeared in this update.
The most important change, in terms of functionality is the addition of AJAX to the "Home" and "@Replies" pages. Their new implementation allows you to refresh the items in your timeline without having to reload the whole page. This makes for faster load times and less bandwidth intensive reloading of pages.
Twitter also introduced a new design customizer with this release, which allows you to change the colors on your Twitter profile with the help of a color wheel. Instead of typing in color codes and hoping that you got all of the colors right, they are now reflected in real time as you change them on the page. This is an awesome implementation of this feature and makes it far easier to create a good looking profile.
Other than the new Ajax functionality, this update is purely aesthetic. Even though we have not seen any major features added Thursday, this redesign has paved the way for a larger future update, which Twitter promises is coming soon.