Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.

The Design Mind Behind Twitter? He's 21.

Vitor Lourenco is responsible for creating the elegantly spare Twitter UI. At the ripe age of 21, he's got 7 years' experience and counting.

Vitor Lourenco

Remember those heady days, circa 1997, when if you wanted to change the world it seemed you had to be 23? Apparently, they never went away. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Or the lesser known Vitor Lourenco, a 21-year-old Sao Paulo native who's been the designer behind Twitter's wild success. Designer's couch has an interview with the astonishingly self-possessed and well read whippersnapper, who's already done work for clients including Yahoo! at an age when his peers are still trying to pretend that they never liked the Jonas brothers:

A constant theme that you carry on your Web site is "simplicity." Why do you prefer this approach over one that might be more graphical?

I believe that a good interface is the one that fades gracefully, allowing content to be in the very front row. As a designer, you must always remember that, in most cases, your users aren't there to appreciate your mad visual skills, but to accomplish a task that is important for them in some way. I love a quote from Alan Cooper that says: "No matter how cool your interface is, less of it would be better."

You've also worked on other social sites such as Yahoo! and the Orkut app. From your experience, what are the key aspects in design necessary for such sites to be successful?

Each project has its own key aspects, and most of the time a project's success is not only attached to its design. There are deeper concerns for a project to be successful, most of them related to solving a problem that users have. You always have to ask yourself if you're solving an actual problem—then it's a matter of executing it in the right way, and there's no formula for that.

Read the entire interview here. And afterwards, try to forget when your next birthday is.

[Via Quipsologies]

Add New Comment


  • Josh Jeffryes

    @everyone: it's a simple and functional design, but I almost always use a better designed 3rd party app to access Twitter, like TweetDeck. Too much of the functionality is siloed on different pages or otherwise hidden.

    Has there been improvement? Yes. But it's only at par with other well designed web applications, like Gmail or Blellow.

    Maybe my standards are set too high, but this seems to me like lauding someone for doing what any professional web designer should have been able to do with not much effort.

  • Lynne d Johnson

    @Josh, it's a simple UI. you know where to go for replies, for directs and where to post. Do you ever look at Twitter and say, OMG, I can't find the link for x or figure out how to do y? Not!

  • Cliff Kuang

    @Josh---Twitter might not be the best looking site out there, but it's hard to argue with its functionality: It's dead simple, and has just enough customization to allow people to make their twitter sites look individual. I've never heard anyone complain--seems like a well thought-out interface all around.