At last year’s Consumer Electric Show (CES), Twitter introduced its first public prototype app, twttr dubbed “little T” internally at Twitter. The app allows Twitter to develop and experiment with new features in the public, to see what works and what does not. The app’s main focus, to date, has been on making threaded conversations easier to read. Now, the company is ready to graduate the best of twttr to the main Twitter app.
“We’re taking all the different branches all the different parts of the conversation and we’re making it so it’s all in one global view,” explained Suzanne Xie, Twitter’s head of Conversations, speaking to reporters at CES 2020. “This means you can easily understand, and get a pulse of what’s happening in the conversation,” she added.
This way, Xie continues, “you can understand who is talking to who in a conversation.”
In addition, Twitter will release other features that build on top of threaded conversations to the public, including how the user interface reacts when you tap on a reply.
On twttr, when you tap into a reply within a conversation, you get more information about the tweet in question. You can also reply in-line to the tweet. And the reply itself is shaded to differentiate it from the surrounding tweets, when selected.
Threaded conversations also hide some of the replies to keep the conversation more readable but you can click a link to load more of the replies as you scroll down. Twitter says it personalizes which replies are shown and hidden based on things like who you follow, who you interact with and people you’ve interacted with in the past.
“These are pieces of making this global conversation easier to use so you don’t have to tab to new screens and go back and forth,” Xie explained.
Despite the initial excitement around Twitter’s new app, twttr, some felt the company didn’t take full advantage of having a public experimental playground. Few other new features beyond threaded conversations were tried out on the testing platform.