19 August 2019

New display options for Twitter’s site and progressive apps

After implementing their Windows app as a Progressive Web App more than a year ago, Twitter made constant improvements to this shared version that powers their mobile web site as well, for example re-adding multiple account support – although I haven’t managed to make this work yet. Recently, the desktop site was also replaced with this new, fresher experience. Naturally, many people complained vocally, as with any change, regardless how small. One top complaint was the display density, that the font used is too large, and so too few tweets were visible on the screen. Fortunately, with web technologies this can be easily fixed, and just last week Twitter released a new setting to address this, as well as other customization options.

The new ‘Customize view’ screen can be found in the right-side menu under ‘More’ ▶ ‘Display’ or directly at this address: twitter.com/i/display. Alongside five different font sizes, you can choose a couple of theming options, which I assume are also relatively new, since I never saw them before. As far as I can tell, the available colors, labeled with cute icons, correspond to the color options for links when customizing embed codes for tweets. Since I use Twitter on two different laptops, I noticed that these theming options are saved only on the local machine, as they haven’t updated automatically from one laptop to the other – but on the same device the same theme is applied in the Windows PWA app and on the site.

Customize Twitter web display settings

For the time being I’ve settled on 🔥 orange with the darkest background, ‘Lights out’ – coincidentally, this looks very similar to the dark theme I am (very slowly) developing for my blog. I am a bit disappointed that the yellow option doesn’t replace the like button with an actual star, as Twitter used to have at some point.

Notably, the darker setting is something Jack Dorsey teased at some point months ago, but hasn’t been widely released on Android yet. Having it available more quickly on the site is another advantage of using web technologies, I guess.

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