I’ve been using Twitter for a while now, and also use it for my clients and I started doing custom backgrounds in Photoshop several months ago. I tend to think of custom backgrounds in 3 categories: good, boring, and frustrating.
The good backgrounds are the ones that are creative or have good contact information AND are optimized for smaller screens. Let’s face it, how many of us use laptops and are using 15″ (or smaller) screens?
The boring backgrounds are the plain standard backgrounds that you choose from in Twitter.
The frustrating backgrounds are the ones where the Tweeple are TRYING to have a good background, but because they have little or no concept of how the viewer’s screen size affects how their background looks to the viewer, half their information gets cut off by the bottom of the screen, the Twitter box or the right side of the screen. What if I DO want to connect with you on Facebook, LinkedIn or call you? I can’t because your information is chopped off and you potentially lost a valuable connection.
Here are MY suggestions for optimizing the viewability of your Twitter background:
- Don’t put anything important on the right side. Keep that for the “pretty” stuff because unless I’m viewing it on a 21″ monitor I probably won’t see it anyway.
- Keep the information on the left side no farther than about 130-150 pixels from the left edge (even less if you can swing it). Up to 150 pixels from the left is still visible on my husband’s 15″ laptop.
- Keep the information on the left side no farther down than about 550 pixels from the top edge (again, even less if you can swing it).
I can not even begin to tell you how frustrating it is for me (even on my 17″ widescreen laptop) when I can’t see the contact information. You are much more likely to have someone visit a web site, send you an email, connect with you on other social networks, etc. if they can see the information right on their screen. We are pretty lazy as a society (yes, I’m part of that society), and we don’t want to have to click on your web site link in your bio area (You DO have a web site or other information link on your Twitter profile don’t you? That’s a whole other can of worms.) and search around your web site to find how to contact you.
So, bottom line, if you are creating your own Twitter background (or having someone do it for you), please check to see what it looks like on at least as small a monitor as a 15″
Here is a resource I found very helpful when I don’t remember the dimensions (which is more often than I care to admit). Croncast