Twitter tests new edge-to-edge interface for images and video on iOS

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Twitter tests new interface on iOS
A little inspiration from Instagram?
Photo: Twitter

Twitter looks set to finally take full advantage of the larger displays packed into modern smartphones. It is currently testing a new edge-to-edge interface that gives you a better look at images and videos in your timeline.

A new teaser video posted by Twitter on Twitter, and embedded below for your enjoyment, offers an early glimpse at what’s to come.

When you see images, videos, and other multimedia in your Twitter timeline today, they appear in smaller preview windows that are surrounded by blank space. Twitter has finally recognized that there’s a better way.

The new look, now in testing in iOS, takes a leaf out of Instagram’s playbook by allowing images, videos, and GIFs to use up the entire width of your smartphone’s screen.

Images and videos go large on Twitter

As you’ll see in the short teaser video below, posted on Tuesday evening, the change provides you with a better look at inline multimedia content. You can still tap on it to take it fullscreen and look at it in landscape mode.

Twitter told The Verge that the new look is designed to “better support conversations that are both visual and text-based.” It would also address the complaints about image cropping that Twitter has faced over the years.

Because in its current interface Twitter doesn’t provide enough room to display images in full, it crops them using an algorithm that tries to establish the most interesting area of the image that should appear in a preview.

But that algorithm is flawed and has shown bias toward white faces, which Twitter acknowledged earlier this year. The new approach eliminates the need for that algorithm by allowing an image to be displayed in its entirety.

The complaints continue

Sadly, plenty of Twitter users still aren’t happy — as is often the case when visual changes are made to a popular platform. Search for “new Twitter” on Twitter and you’ll find plenty of complaints against the overhaul.

It’s worth remembering the change is only a test for now, and it could be scrapped before it rolls out to everyone. But it does seem like a step in the right direction for the Twitter timeline interface.