Twitter readies 'significant' redesign

LONDON - Twitter is to undergo a major redesign as it looks to capitalise on its worldwide appeal and pinch market share from rival social network sites.

Details of the redesign have been disclosed as a breakdown of Twitter's audience is revealed, with more than half living outside the US.

Doug Bowman, Twitter's creative director, posted a picture online showing a new-look Twitter page that indicates that a key element of the overhaul will be the use of more statistics.

It is unclear at this stage what other changes will be introduced by the microblogging site.

Bowman, who previously worked at Google and Wired magazine, where he pioneered web design, posted: "Working on what may end up a significant redesign. Not final yet. What we can show without giving away the farm."

The reaction to his post was entirely positive, with people saying it made the idea of using the web – as opposed to third party apps –  to post, more attractive.

Elsewhere, another Twitter staffer has been giving a breakdown of Twitter's audience: 60% of it now lives outside the US.

In a blog post, Matt Sanford, lead engineer for Twitter's International team, says that "over 60% of registered Twitter accounts come from outside the US", and it is being used in places as diverse as the Vatican City.

He gives some details on how the Spanish language version of Twitter, launched in November 2009, has picked up steam after an immediate 50% boost in signups from Spanish-speaking countries across the world at launch, and, sadly, later boosted by the Chilean earthquake.

Sanford added: "In the days following the tragic Chilean earthquake, people turned to Twitter to establish much-needed lines of communication. Signups spiked 1200% and nearly all of those were using Spanish as their language. In Colombia, signups are up 300% after politicians like Piedad Córdoba Ruíz began using Twitter as a platform to speak to constituents."

Twitter has also scored in India, where signups have increased nearly 100% since the beginning of 2010, due in part, says Sanford, to politicians like Shashi Tharoor and Bollywood mega-stars Sharukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Abhishek Bachchan.

In India, Twitter partnered with India's largest carrier, Bharti Airtel, to ensure that a large portion of the country's 550 million mobile phone users could send and receive tweets via SMS at standard rates.

Twitter has been doing similar deals with carriers in Indonesia and Haiti to bring Twitter to as many people in as many places as possible.