Centered Twitter Backgrounds

I don’t usually make public feature requests and I know our friends at Twitter are dealing with crazy scaling issues but I would like to register one simple request: the option for centered backgrounds. Background: Twitter lets you upload a background image, but it’s always left-aligned which means unless its tiling interacts awkwardly with the main centered window. But with a single line of CSS, background-position: center, you could use the width of Twitter’s content window (763px) to create something beautiful and exciting that dovetailed perfectly with the main content area. If you’re feeling crazy afterward, allow a different background to be specified for single-tweet permalink pages, which would also make Blackbird Pies even tastier. If your name is Ev Williams, Biz Stone, Dick Costello, Ryan King, Kevin Cheng, Mark Trammell, Doug Bowman… pass this on to someone. (And help me verify the WordPress account.) ๐Ÿ™‚ I think a whole new Twitter design community could flourish. And I could forgive you for using a table for layout. Update: This is getting some nice pick-up.

54 thoughts on “Centered Twitter Backgrounds

  1. Yes, I definitely agree. There could be some very pretty and creative things. Pretty and creative FTW.

    P.S. Speaking of public feature requests, can there be a bacon dispenser in the WordPress admin section?

  2. Simple yet highly efficient suggestion Matt. Now let’s see how quickly this gets appreciated by the twitter-dev team.
    Maybe also add scrolling/non-scrolling too?

    It will open up another can of beautiful twitter backgrounds for sure!

  3. Don’t know if it helps, but I totally second that request. Should be enabled by default, even.

    1. I had a sentence about it being easy to implement in the blog post but took it out — it’s hard to anticipate the complexity of something you didn’t write.

      1. If it’s hard for them to make a little option where you select the bg to be centered, then they failed in the development process.

  4. “and I could forgive you for using a table for layout” LOL!

    I too have wondered why we are forced to align our background images to the left. A centre align would open up a lot more room for creativity.

    Although I must admit, those people who design backgrounds assuming everyone on the planet has the same screen resolution as them (the ones that tile horribly on anything other than their own personal screen)… They do make me smile in an evil, “I’m superior to you” kind of way, lol.

  5. I was just talking about this the other day. It’s one of those “low hanging fruit” tasks: little work and big payoff.

    I’m a bit surprised that custom backgrounds aren’t an upgrade feature. I think lots of people would pay a few bucks per year to have their own background.

  6. Love the idea. Of course, they might not want to box themselves into needing to stay at 763 pixels. Their current options provide them some flexibility on that front primarily because the users have limited expectations.

  7. Couldn’t agree with your excellent suggestion more, Matt. A centered background would be a springboard to more creative background designs and that, in turn, could have a positive effect on overall Twitter adoption. Sometimes it’s the little things…

  8. I think the allowence of some positioning customization would certainly go a long way. The happier a person feels about their Twitter Profile Page, the more inclined they are to point people to it, thus driving more backlinks and more traffic to Twitter (haha, might not work in their favour atm though).

  9. Heh! I think that feature has been requested for a very long time, although I’m sure its not on Twitter’s short list right now (with scaling being the major issue for them).

    As far as verification goes, did you already submit a verification request for Twitter?

    And would you verify more than one account? (i.e. @WordPresscom, @VaultPress, @BuddyPressDev, etc.)

  10. That’s definately a great request. I’m wondering if they would listen do you. Had a problem with Twitter a while a go and they wouldn’t help me, until I published an article on my blog. So, they’ll need to listen to you ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. In a way I agree and in a way I don’t.

    Twitter’s success has been based on simplicity. Simplicity on a site like Twitter comes from constraint.

    Any more customisation options could just turn it into MySpace.

    1. Sure, we’re not asking for auto-play music and animated GIFs. This is a logical extension of an existing feature that I think will actually make it look less like Myspace (look at the pages of any tweeters or a trending topic) and more like a high-design environment.

  12. aaaaa agreee!!! have been dabbled in trying to have a pretty background for my twitter acc., but never turned out as good as I want it to be -____-

  13. Matt – I don’t think anyone will argue with this (at least here). The best part of this is your thinking about how it would help a Twitter Design industry to flourish. Always thinking about helping others…
    Kudos to you!

  14. While we’re talking about it they shouldn’t force you to use the same general text color as the sidebar text color. Why Twitter? WHY?!

    Also I think that they compress background images sometimes. Maybe if you use a GIF or something. I remember trying something awhile ago and just gave up because twitter was screwing with my image.

    But yeah they should totally have a drop down menu that lets you decide position and repeating of the graphic.

  15. That would help a ton!

    I think fixed backgrounds too.

    Although, I am still wondering if Twitter might offer premier accounts, which I am more than willing to opt-in for extra stuff.

    However, I do like this option and I think if you contacted Ev as someone suggested in another comment, it could become a possibility.

  16. I’d agree with this, although I make mine so that wherever the center panel is, the background image stops at the left edge and continues where it left off at the right.

    What I’d REALLY like them to implement is different text and link colors for the main panel and the sidebar. Having to find mid-range text and link colors that aren’t too light for the white background and aren’t too dark for the color sidebar is just lame and annoying.

  17. Sometimes the easiest ideas are the best. This has to be one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments for someone at Twitter’s design team.

  18. When I read the title of this post, I thought you found out someway of doing it lol…But anyhow, now that you have requested it, I sure do hope they implement it soon ^_^

  19. I’m so glad someone important is mentioning this! I’ve moaned about thi sbefore, but with my 35 followers, not made any impact, obviously! Surely something which runs down the centre of a page should be able to have a centred bcakground? Thanks Matt!

  20. you know even tho I would really love for twitter to add this feature I might actually stick to positioning my background to the left, I guess I got used to it.

    I do have to say I have seen many designers come up with some really kool ways to overcome the issue of not being able to center their design, for example, wufoo the more you expand the window the images seem to position themselves just right to alight with the feed box.

    Just my thoughts. =D


  21. August 2011 – this still isn’t a reality. I was really hoping that this would be introduced when the new Twitter went site-wide. I know a lot of people are worried this will make the site too design-oriented, and then it’ll suffer Myspace’s fate. I think a good way to avoid that would be to reduce the maximum file size allowed. The result? Just look at Youtube. It’s perfectly feasible.