Recently, Twitter rolled out some subtle, but effective, changes to its mobile web header. Here is the previous version. The top left has a button that will take you to the Twitter mobile home page. This button consists of the previous bird logo (facing forward) and the Twitter name spelled out. “Sign in” and “Sign up” are the two buttons shown on the right. “Sign up” is the main call to action as highlighted by the yellow button background.
Here is the new version. The home button in the top left has changed to the new logo (with the bird facing upward) and the Twitter name has been removed. The radical change to the right hand side is that the “Sign up” button has been removed and replaced with an “Open the app” button.
I like these changes. First, changing the home button to take out the Twitter name makes the header cleaner. As mobile web real estate is limited, anything that can be done to make the look cleaner and less noisy for the user is a plus. The other side product of making the header cleaner is that users can focus on the two phrases on the header: “Sign in” and “Open the app” — instead of having a third phrase/word to read across the top.
The net result for the “Sign in” function did not change — as the treatment is identical in both versions. However, by replacing “Sign up” with “Open the app” Twitter may be sacrificing potential user registrations for a gain in iPhone App downloads and usage. This is hardly a trade-off as most iPhone users know that if they really wanted to sign-up, they could do so through many channels (i.e. going to twitter.com on their mobile device, clicking on the home button in the top left, or even through the app itself). Also, at this point, Twitter knows that since the adoption of its product is much further along than say a year ago, they can shift user behavior to different ways of using the product (i.e. mobile app over mobile web) as opposed to getting to use the product in the first place. With hundreds of millions (and counting) of registered users, they certainly don’t have to place an emphasis on user registration.