In a blog post today titled “Rethinking our default profile photo”, Twitter announced that accounts without a profile image will now show a new, more generic avatar rather than the old icon resembling an egg. Twitter recently added new features to its mobile app in the form of notification filters that let you filter out “egg” accounts, as well as mute words, phrases and more in your timelines. The original egg profile image has lasted on the service for full seven years, but it’s now run its course.
For those wondering, the egg-shaped icon was a playful reference to how eggs hatch into birds “that send all the tweets” you see on Twitter.
The original egg profile image has lasted on the service for full seven years, but it’s now ran its course. For those wondering, the egg-shaped icon was a playful reference to how eggs hatch into birds “that send all the tweets you see on Twitter”.
More important, spammers and people who harass others often use accounts without a profile image. Due to Twitter’s long-standing harassment problem, this has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior.
“For the new default profile photo, we decided that we wanted to use people’s existing expectations for default profile photos and how they serve as a temporary placeholder.”
Pictured top of post, the new avatar is generic, universal, serious, unbranded, temporary and inclusive, in the company’s own words.
Twitter’s designers went through many iterations to develop this icon, even considering combinations of common circular shapes and line-based patterns to try something without a figure before ultimately settling on a generic avatar.
To bring inclusivity into a single default profile photo, Twitter drew a more gender-balanced figure because it doesn’t require users to specify their gender on the service.
Why choose gray, you ask.
As Twitter says, grays feel temporary, generic and universal. The background is a noticeably lighter shade of gray because they wanted the icon to be accessible for those with visual impairments. “Because of its coloring, the new profile photo also gives less prominence to accounts with a default profile photo,” says the firm.
Their hope is that people who kept the egg default profile photo “because they thought it was fun and cute” would encourage them to upload images that express themselves now that the new default image feels more like an empty state or placeholder.
How do you like Twitter’s new default avatar? Does it look nicer than their rather infamous “egg” profile picture, do you think?