Jason Valenti

Rethinking Twitter’s “Draft a tweet” function on Android using FramerJS


Project Overview

***DISCLAIMER: This was written before Twitter implemented this exact feature.***

DEMO this prototype | View Code on Github

I like Twitter, I just don't like it enough to use it every day. I really want to but I just can't seem to get past first base with it. I signed up for Twitter on Friday, June 17th 2011 and have only tweeted 1,287 times. I'm clearly bad at using Twitter. This doesn't mean I don't like it, it just means that for some reason I decide to spend more time:

  • Posting photos of USA, food, fire, woods, things on Instagram
  • Pretending to use Snapchat
  • Avoiding game requests and scrolling through a linear mix of Facebook status updates about dogs, kids, street fight videos, craft beer pics and time hop images of things that happened to my friends 2 years ago.

This is your best feature, why hide the damn thing?

In my opinion the most redeeming quality of Twitter is the ability to create and send a tweet. It’s fast, efficient and allows a user to express an opinion and have it resonate in real-time around the world for everyone to hear. When I decide to use Twitter, I do so using my Samsung Galaxy s4 and the official Twitter for android app. Lately I've been using Twitter more frequently and find myself become increasingly annoyed with the experience of creating a Tweet. When I enter the app, first thing I do is drag up to check out my feed and the ability to compose a tweet hides itself and I don't like that. I know it’s there, obviously, but if it was persistent…maybe I would want to interact with it more.

I decided to have some fun on a friday night and prototype a new persistent tweet experience using use FramerJS. I like framer because it allows me to rapidly hack on mobile prototypes without having to be an android/ios dev. Here is a list of things that bother me about the experience of drafting a tweet using the Twitter android app.

  1. When I scroll through my feed, the “What’s happening” box & and the HOME/DISCOVER/ACTIVITY subheader disappear.
  2. When the “What’s happening” box does reappear it does nothing to make me want to interact with it. Its very forgettable.
  3. The gallery and camera actions placed on the “What’s happening” box seem to be crammed in the corner. Holding my Galaxy S4 with my right hand and trying thumb the camera icon with my right thumb feels really uncomfortable. I almost never use the camera because of this.

Draft a Tweet is buried at the bottom.

My solution

Give users a persistent Tweet Button. One that is bigger, blue, branded and most importantly…one that is unforgettable. I want to know that I'm sending an almighty tweet! I want to feel like I’m using Twitter, not just telling another social network “What’s happening”. I feel that this process needs to be iconic and branded better. So I bailed on the “What’s happening?” bar and replaced it with a persistent Tweet button.

My mock up below proposes some major UX/UI changes to the Twitter mobile app for Android. For the sake of conversation, fun and prototyping — let’s assume that we can actually back up this design decision with validated data that would actually warrant an experience change of this magnitude.

The Tweet Button

Tweet Button.

  1. I decided to remove the “What’s happening” bar from the bottom and replace it with a floating action button. Thanks Material design! To me, a much cleaner approach.
  2. The Home/Discover/Activity bar is persistent as well. Which I feel would increase engagement with Discover and Activity.

You may be saying to yourself or hopefully a group of friends:

  1. “Wait…Did he just added another screen touch/step for launching the camera & gallery!”
  2. “How do I take a picture?”

I spent a lot of time thinking about those very question and my solution, although purely speculative and not based on actual research data, does answer them by making those options available on another screen. Personally, I don't believe tweeting a photo or video is what an average Twitter user thinks of when wanting to tweet. The questions that go through my mind when I feel the urge to tweet something:

  1. How can I shrink my thought down to 140 characters?
  2. Can I fit a hashtag in and still be under 140 characters?

I guess some people do think of Twitter as a first choice destination to distribute photos and videos, but I would assume the majority of tweets are just plain old text.

Compose a Tweet Screen

I am not ignorant to the fact that Twitter is a fantastic place to publish real-time photos & videos but I do feel it is perfectly acceptable to let users do this from the compose a tweet screen. The mockup below is a reflection of how I feel it should work. I just added a larger, camera icon and left the gallery and location icons untouched.

Final Prototype

After all, there is no denying that Twitter is important. It provides a democratized platform for freedom of expression. I would assume that within Twitter there is a push to provide users with features that encourage them to contribute more photos and videos to the network. Considering fierce competition from networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc, it may just be an uphill battle.

The Threat Dashboard was basically an overview of the data provided by the various features and capabilities of the software. The research data and information gathering sessions provided all the direction I needed to begin working out some wire frames.

Let’s be honest, is Twitter the first place you think of when wanting to show the world a photo or video?

DEMO this prototype | View Code on Github

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