Twitter search results get a visual overhaul

twitter top search

Search has been a key focus for social media platforms and one that companies like Facebook and Twitter are heavily investing in. Now Twitter is refining its search effort by making it easier to sift through top photos and videos with a new display and new preview design.

To date, Twitter has offered an autocomplete feature that recommends search results based on what you’re typing as well as corrects your possibly misspelled queries as well as surfaces recommend related results. But every good Web user knows it’s a bit of a half-hearted effort, and the new features Twitter’s adding to its arsenal emphasize a streamlined user experience that allows users to view content immediately after they’ve completed their search. The changes are a clear indication of Twitter’s focus on prominently featuring media and images to keep users’ attention.

Top photos and videos

top photos and videos in twitter

The top photos and videos previously lived on the left hand panel of the search results, under “Top Images” and “Top Videos.” With the update, users can now view relevant images and videos at the very top of the results page. After conducting a search for a person or a hashtag, you’ll notice that on the desktop app images will be previewed in grid form. Twitter’s mobile app will instead preview the results in a single scrollable row of relevant images. 

Captioned tweets in photos

captioned tweetsAnother announcement in this update is a new design change that offers its users direct access to tweets’ embedded content. What this means is that some images on the search results page will appear prominently as the body of the tweet and the tweet’s text will be displayed as a caption residing within the image. Normally, viewing an image shared on Twitter was a two-step process. You would have to select the tweet, which would open up in a new page where the images or video was viewable. Now, it’s already there for you. 

Understanding the context of tailored results

There’s a secondary part to the captioned tweets announcement. A megaphone icon will show the number of times a tweet has been retweeted or favorited within the tweet itself. You’ll no longer have to subject yourself to the two-step process of opening up the tweet to see these metrics.

Twitter engineer, Tian Wang, explains the reasoning behind this update in a blog post. After the social network implemented tailored search results that surfaced relevant content, many users were wondering why certain tweets were relevant to them in the first place. By displaying these numbers, Wang explains, Twitter will enable its users to “see why a specific Tweet might matter more to you.”


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