Twitter Redesign: Love It or Hate It? Even Justin Bieber Unsure

Designers say microblogging site will be simpler for casual users.

Dec. 9, 2011 — -- Check your Twitter feed, especially if you use Twitter on an iPhone or Android smartphone, and you'll soon find, if you haven't seen already, that it looks... different.

Twitter's layout is changing. If you don't see it yet, Twitter says to be patient. The new design, including new icons, is being rolled out in stages over coming weeks, starting with users who have mobile devices.

"We've simplified the design to make it easier than ever to follow what you care about, connect with others and discover something new," the company says.

If you're a regular, you may love it. Or you may react the way you do when a friend gets a new pair of glasses: "Er, uh, that's, um, very nice. What happened to your old ones?"

How to gauge users' early impressions? It's hardly scientific, but you can look at some tweets:

"This #newtwitter is exciting to me," wrote one woman. "Cant wait till I get on it. Getting more addicted every day."

A man from Ireland chimed in, "just got the update, pretty snaz."

On the other hand, a woman tweeted, "OMG the #NewTwitter for #iPhone is super weird and confusing."

Another man: "Dear Twitter, you're beautiful just the way you are. Stop changing."

And there was this from Justin Bieber, one of the most-followed people on Twitter: "Hello #newtwitter. im kinda confused. i know we will like each other but give me time."

Twitter's managers said they were trying to de-clutter the site to make it easier to use for those who aren't regular visitors. If you're not familiar with the site's so-called hashtags (#) and handles (@) -- to say nothing of how to retweet or send a private message -- you may not come back.

"We are going to offer simplicity in a world of complexity," said CEO Dick Costolo.

In an email to ABC News, spokeswoman Jodi Olson wrote, "We've been thinking deeply about how to create a simple, unified experience on Twitter and how to make Twitter approachable for every single person on the planet. The new version of Twitter is a faster, simpler way to stay close to everything you care about."

The company says it has more than 100 million active users, posting an average of 250 million tweets a day. It says the growth in new accounts has increased by 25 percent since October, when Twitter was included in iOS 5, the new operating system for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

Twitter said the site should become simpler for "lurkers," people who like to poke around but don't feel they have much to say. They'll be able to click on a new "Discover" tab on the page for a readout of major trends and news stories.

Greg Sterling, a social networking analyst who runs Sterling Marketing Intelligence, said the site will, above all, be friendlier to companies that want to use Twitter for promotion. Their profile pages will look more like their own, he said in a blog post. "Twitter now becomes a better branding and promotional vehicle than it was before."

We'll see if that goes over with the user who wrote, "#NewTwitter?? Like seriously again?? ugh!!"