Twitter’s Card Update is Bad For Users

Twitter's Card Update is Bad For Users thumbnail

Twitter made a UI change this week with it's card-styled link previews. It's subtle, but the changes have hurt accessibility and hurt the end user.

Twitter allows branded sites (anyone can do it, but brands use it the most) to create "cards" for links they post which include media previews, bold headlines, and a snippet of the article or post text. This gives the user a preview of what's in the link before they visit. The cards used to function like normal HTML anchor tags and included alternate text (the small popup when you hover your mouse) or showed the full URL of the link.

Since earlier this week, all of that is gone and it's led to some frustrating limitations.

First, headlines are cut off. And the alt text is gone from the mouse hover action.

screenshot missing hover text from Twitter card

A shortage of what? Cold drinks?

All browsers show URL paths in the bottom of the screen before you click on them. Twitter short links (t.co) would show first, but then resolve into the full path after a second or two. Not anymore.

A Twitter URL doesn't show the full path anymore.

Why is this less accessible?

The top-level domain shows, but that's all. Does this link take me to the registration page? Or to the article? Or neither?

Twitter cards no longer show the full link URL

Really, Twitter is making it harder to know what you click on, asking you, the user, to trust them, the company, to show us what we need to know. This update does nothing to help the usability on a platform that has done little to increase transparency and improve the quality of the platform for users.


Ripples of Glass B&W flickr photo by zeevveez shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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