If you were watching the Today Show on Tuesday, you saw Twitter CEO Dick Costolo introduce a few new features that were made to Twitter’s website, as well as the apps on both the iPad and iPhone. In an effort to “make the profile page a key part of any brand’s online presence” Twitter has given photos more importance than ever by moving your profile picture to the center of the screen as well as introducing the ability to have a personalized header image. Individual photos that are tweeted were also given a bit of a bump with the six most recent pictures now showing up on the left side of your main profile page.

A Little More Like Facebook & Google +

The implementation of a header image is not as much of a surprise as it is a welcome change to the social media site. Facebook & Google+ have had similar layouts for months and up until this point, Twitter was behind the curve as far as personalization goes. Even with a custom background & profile picture, there was always a great deal of white space associated with Twitter which made every profile look pretty similar no matter how much you attempted to customize it. Adding a header to your brand’s profile instantly eliminates this. Not only does it cut down on the white space but there is now a brand-specific, exciting picture right in the middle of your profile for your customers to connect with immediately. Twitter also moved your profile image from the upper left side to the center of the page, having it lay on top of the header image. While the header image is now the focus of your actual profile page, you still should pay the most attention to your profile picture, as it remains the picture that represents you when you tweet.

Raising the Profile of Images

Individual images that are attached to tweets also got an update. Twitter’s last redesign added “Recent Images” to the left side of the profile, and this slew of changes expanded on it. Now the six most recent images you tweeted will be showcased on your profile. Not only did the number increase from four to six, but they are also bigger than they used to be and appear higher on the page than before. The images that will show up in this stream include ones that you posted yourself and any that you “Old school ReTweeted” or “Manually ReTweeted.” By this I mean you either copied or quoted a tweet from someone, put “RT” in front of their handle, commented on it, then tweeted that. Back in the early days of Twitter, this used to be the only way to RT another person’s tweet. Lest I digress, this change is actually a great way to use your customers photos to your advantage. If someone tweets a gorgeous picture of your restaurant, food, etc. just manually RT them and then it will appear in your Recent Images section.

iPad and iPhone Changes

This Recent Images change to the iPhone/iPad app is actually my favorite part of this entire design update. On the Twitter app, underneath the option to “View more Tweets,” there is now a pretty gallery where all of your images are displayed. This section is actually quite similar to the iOS Photo Stream as you can just swipe through all of the pictures associated with your account. When you tap a picture it appears bigger and the tweet associated with the picture appears as an overlay, as well as displays options to RT or favorite the picture and tweet.

How To Take Advantage of These Changes

In order to access these changes you can to Twitter’s homepage, click on the little wheel in the upper right hand corner, then go to Settings > Design. If you scroll down you will see the option to upload a Header Image, which Twitter states should be 1252×626 px. You will also see another option that Twitter gives you as far as your background image is concerned. In the past, you only had one option available for the alignment of your background image – the left hand side. Now you can choose whether you want your background image to be aligned to the left, center, or right. This gives you the ability to use any part of the screen that you would like.

Customize Your Twitter Page Today

Overall, these design changes to Twitter are something to be excited about as they definitely offer you the ability to personalize your page more than ever. If you haven’t figured out how you’d like to use these new changes to your page’s benefit, according to Twitter you have you have until October to decide on a new header image, as all profiles will be switched over to the new layout at that time. But really, what are you waiting for?