Twitter has announced that it is testing full-size images as previews in feeds for select iOS and Android users. This shift would make it so images aren’t automatically cropped to a tight, landscape-oriented version on feeds and may make them more engaging.
Announced today by Twitter’s Chief Design Officer Dantley Davis, the change is meant to determine if there are any widespread changes needed to Twitter’s design.
Today we’re launching a test to a small group on iOS and Android to give people an accurate preview of how their images will appear when they Tweet a photo. pic.twitter.com/cxu7wv3Khs
— Dantley Davis (@dantley) March 10, 2021
“With this test, we hope to learn if this new approach is better and what changes we need to make to provide a ‘what you see is what you get’ experience for Tweets with images,” Davis tweeted.
In response to a statement about this design shift failing five years ago due to the proliferation of many low-value images on the platform, Davis responded that “a lot has changed in five years” and that Twitter is “getting out of the business of cropping most photos.”
Prior to today’s test, Twitter cropped all non-16:9 images to maintain uniformity on timelines. This change would make it so that images that are not specifically 16:9 aspect ratio would not have to be tapped in order to reveal them in their entirety. This may result in a more streamlined browsing experience and will no doubt add greater value to images shared on the platform.
“People in the test will see that most Tweets with a single image in standard aspect ratio will appear uncropped when posted. People will see exactly what the image will look like in the composer tool before it’s posted. Very wide or tall images will be center-cropped,” he continued.
When asked why any cropping was necessary at all, Davis explained that the cropping that they will do is minor for most users.
“We will not be cropping standard 16:9 and 4:3 photos, which is the majority of what is shared on Twitter,” Davis explains. “We have future milestones which will focus on ultra wide photos and not cropping is being considered. The edge cases are the non-native camera images.”
Twitter did not make it clear who was targetted for the test nor when — or if — this would roll out to more mobile users or the desktop platform. Image sharing is already quite popular on Twitter among graphic artists, sketch artists, and models such as cosplayers, but photographers have seemingly not fully embraced the platform as they have with Instagram. This move may help change that.