(desktop) first time user experience

The good bits

  • The previous version of Twitter’s home page forced new users to sign up before they could browse content. Now, gives the new user a free sample by displaying featured tweets from multiple sources and allowing her to explore tweets by topic. This lets the user experience Twitter’s value proposition for herself. Twitter uses inline cues to encourage the new user to sign up (“Sign up now to get your own personalized timeline!”) and also prompts for conversion on explicit actions, such as if the new user tries to reply to a tweet.
  • The sign-up flow segues into a setup wizard that has a personal focus. For example, if the new user keeps the box checked next to “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” during sign-up, Twitter will use this information to show her people she might enjoy following based on her visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem.
  • Twitter doesn’t make the new user confirm her email address during the setup flow. Instead, the new user continues through the setup flow, focuses on building her personal profile, and only when she completes setup and lands on her home page is she reminded to confirm her email address via an unobtrusive inline cue.
  • Twitter uses inline cues intelligently in other places. For example, a module appears at the top of the new user’s feed suggesting more people for that user to follow.  Inline cues also instantiate on blank slates to educate the new user about concepts like notifications or direct messaging before the new user has anything to view in those sections.

To be improved

  • Some of the suggestions on who to follow in the setup flow might be questionable, such as the suggestion in this example to follow Bill Cosby.
  • Despite the plentitude of guidance provides to a new user on how to consume content, it doesn’t provide education on how to create it. Composing tweets and retweeting is a core part of the Twitter experience that is noticeably absent from its setup education. If Twitter feels that educating the new user on writing good tweets would be too much information, perhaps the product could wait to provide education until she explicitly puts focus in the compose field. Currently, no tips are provided on how to structure tweets.
  • This new web experience is only available on Twitter’s desktop website. The mobile website and mobile apps still force new users to sign up; they cannot otherwise browse content.