In 2013 I led a project to redesign the composer to accomodate more media types and reduce friction for sharing great stuff on Twitter. Over the next three years our team shipped a series of features like mulit-photo, editing tools, GIF Search and stickers.
Beyond just text
In order to make Twitter the pulse of what's happening in the world we had to make sure that people could share more than just text with ease. In fact, we saw that articles, videos and photos were already shared on Twitter at a growing rate. The challenge was to iterate on a solution to make all this sharing easier and remove barriers to expression. Allowing more formats to be shared is a two part challenge. We had to make sharing photos, links, videos more straightforward in the composer and make sure they would show up nicely in the timeline.
What is right for Twitter?
A very diverse range of people use Twitter. For example, since the social network is very open and does not have limits on real names or ask for a ton of personal information we have parody accounts and political activists on the platform. These and other social mechanics make Twitter unique in terms of expression than everything else out there. The ongoing design challenge thoughout the years has been to design for Twitter and the uniqe people who use the platform and not get distracted with other platforms' new offerings.
Even though we enabled the ablilty to upload photos natively on Twitter in 2012, a year later people still did not realize that Twitter had this feature. That said, people were eager to share images on the platform so we had to think of new ways to reduce friction to share snaps from their photo rolls.
The Photo team's first official release was the ability to upload up to 4 photos in a Tweet. This feature shipped in 2014.
We worked on GIF support in the composer and then shipped GIF Search to make it easier to Tweet the perfect reaction in the moment.
I helped with the ideation and initial designs of the Stickers project. You can either send a sticker in the direct messaging composer or attach it to a photo via regular composer. Charles Martucci led the design and worked on all the final iterations and partnership deals for this project.