By Austin Carr
Social networks, as they’ve evolved from Friendster and MySpace to Facebook and Twitter, have come to adopt the same models: tab- and feed-based layouts with friends, followers, likes, and +1's. But such traditional wisdom wasn’t satisfactory to Josh Miller, the cofounder of buzzed-about startup Branch. "We originally thought, 'Well, we need to design our equivalent of the Facebook news feed or the Twitter stream," Miller says. "Then we realized, 'Wait, that’s the wrong way to do it.'"
In August, Branch came out of public beta, and has since gained much press attention for its novel approach to social. But Branch’s approach to design--with its rigid focus on dead-simple and borderline plain user interfaces--is arguably one of the service’s strongest differentiators. Today, Branch unveiled a new stripped-down design which, like its aim to clean up online conversation, cuts out even more UI clutter common of other social networks. The main feature of Branch’s new design is what the team is calling "the Drawer," a tiny button on the left-hand side that users can click to slide out a column of all their additional Branches.