These last days I worked on the Twitter Cards project and made a lot of quick prototypes using Illustrator and InDesign. The idea was to create those cards as quickly as possible and see how people understand them. Through that process I understood I have two main challenges.
How to represent the different features of Twitter?
Twitter is a service which has quite a lot of different features. That service has its own language and logic and this is what makes it difficult for people who don’t know about it to dive into it and understand it. Therefore I need to create a visual language which is easy to understand and that people can relate to easily. This is in that dynamic that I am trying different ways of visualizing the elements of Twitter. Anytime I show what I have done to someone I get great insights to change the way I represented things. I must say the trickiest part is to find a way to represent the interactive elements you can put in a tweet such as pictures, links or even retweet.
The other question which came across is how specific should I get when it comes to represent things. For instance to represent the content in a tweet do I put nothing (because it is obvious there is some text in a speech bubble), or an icon (just to make sure people get it) or should I write down an example to really guide people in the understanding of the story? On that note I think I will choose the second answer which consists in guiding people without being to specific to let them tell the story they like when explaining Twitter with those visuals.
How detail do represent what you can do with Twitter?
If Twitter has a lot of features what really makes it interesting for people is the way you can combine those features to really interact with people and the content they share. I first thought I should represent one element at a time, meaning introducing each feature on one single card to make sure people understand each of them. Like “On Twitter you can talk” (one card) & “You can add a link in what you say” (an other card) & “You can also add a picture” (again an other card” etc. But I noticed that it quickly gets to complicated, after seeing a few cards, people forget about the first ones they saw!. Explaining all those features one at a time and then all the possible combinations get just people lost!
So I came back to my initial goal: create a tool which helps people explain what you can do with Twitter. It is not about explaining to people all the possibilities of the bird’s service but just to let people understand the basic things you can do with it. That’s why I decides to focus on visualizing only the main things you can do with it. But I must say that I am still struggling in finding the best balance between not enough information and too much information!
The Twitter Puzzle
I used my prototypes to explain Twitter not only to people who have no clue about that service but also to active users. Two interesting things came out. First they are sometimes more abstract and think the visuals are too far from what Twitter’s website is. The second thing is, as they know all the feature, they are a bit disappointed to see only a few possibilities represented. But as I said above they are too many possibilites! I hence had the idea to create some kind of puzzle or Lego. I could indeed create some type of toolbox which includes cut out “followers”, “speech bubble”, “hashtags”, etc. and let people make their story by combining the different elements as they like! You can see bellow my first prototype…
As usual don’t hesitate to give me feedbacks, comments or ideas using our great friend Twitter!