Twitter's big, ‘one size fits all’ redesign was predictably ableist

Twitter continues to botch everything, even the areas it admits need help.

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Twitter was very excited to share some sweeping reforms to its social media platform last week... just none that anyone actually asked for. Instead of focusing on, say, it’s longstanding misinformation problem, racist algorithms, or an “Edit” button (give the people what they want!), the company instead proudly rolled out some aesthetic reconfigurations, including a new, native font called Chirp and higher-contrast icons.

None of this was particularly customizable, of course, because that would actually make a certain amount of sense — an area that is not Jack Dorsey’s strong suit. More importantly, however, is that it actually made the overall experience worse for many users, particularly those with chronic visual impairments and issues, who complained of eye strain, headaches, and even outright migraines. “We're making contrast changes on all buttons to make them easier on the eyes because you told us the new look is uncomfortable for people with sensory sensitivities. We're listening and iterating,” Twitter’s Accessibility account messaged everyone on Friday afternoon.

As many — particularly those who know firsthand — have pointed out, accessibility is never a “one size fits all” situation. You simply cannot design an interface that all people can use comfortably. For some reason, Twitter still believes it can create a perfect font and color palette for its hundreds of millions of users. Until it allows actual options for customization (something we feel the need to remind them is not difficult at all to do), the social media app will continue to cause undue discomfort for a large number of people out there.

Twitter has many other projects we don’t need — Lest you begin to think an unasked for redesign is the only thing Twitter has up its sleeve at the moment, allow us to remind you that there are plenty of other ways for the app to screw things up soon. Last month, Jack Dorsey once again reminded investors that he is a diehard Bitcoin fan, and remains committed to somehow integrating cryptocurrencies into Twitter’s infrastructure. And although we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the short-lived Fleets project earlier this month, there are still the rumors of a “downvote” system coming to the app, which honestly terrifies the hell out of us.

So, just in case you think Twitter might be on its way to actually learning from past mistakes, rest assured: it most certainly has not.