Remember when designing your Twitter background that it will look different depending on the resolution and size of the user's monitor. On low-resolution screens, the Twitter content will take up a proportionally larger part of the area, possibly cutting off your sidebar or obscuring your image. The good news is that today, fewer than 15 percent of computer users' screens are 1024 x 768 or lower [source w3schools]. But remember that not everyone maximizes his or her browser, so it makes sense not to assume you have a full screen to work with.
The various screen resolution settings people may use when viewing your Twitter page make it a best practice to locate your sidebar and anchor your image in the upper left corner. This safe zone can be viewed on virtually any monitor. Remember to drop your content down to make room for the Twitter header. You'll also want to leave a small cushion on the left side for a less crowded appearance.
There are many tools and Web sites out there that will help make your Twitter background shine. Some companies will do all the work for you. Others, like TwitBacks, offer free templates that let you plug in your information, tweak the colors, and upload to Twitter. Firefox add-ons like ColorZilla and MeasureIt can be useful to do-it-yourselfers [source: Lee].
Here are some other important tips to keep in mind when creating your background:
- Keep it simple. This is crucial. Cluttered and wordy backgrounds are distracting. Users should be able to take the whole thing in at a glance.
- Be consistent. Make your Twitter background match the images, graphics and colors of your Web site and other social media.
- Keep things light. If you can, make your background playful. Use humor if appropriate.
- Stay legible. If you create your own sidebar, use at least 10-point text. Don't make your followers squint.
- Decency is required. Twitter does not allow pornography. Use it and your account is likely to be barred.
- Use original content. If you incorporate an image, make sure it's one you own or one that's available for public use. Stealing images or copyrighted material is a no-no.
On the next page, you'll find out how to take steps to really customize your Twitter presence.