Despite building all kinds of “share” buttons into both apps and sites, people prefer to share by screenshot.

This is true for both private sharing where the screenshot is sent over text. As well as public sharing.

Examples of public sharing include: posting an article quote to Twitter, Instagramming text that is written on iOS Notes, posting a txt conversation to Facebook

People like the screenshot behavior because it is quick and intimate. It’s “here’s what I’m seeing.”

The shared screenshots are ugly. On mobile they often include browser cruft as well as Copy | Define tooltip.

Also if you want to crop you usually do so outside of the app that’s doing the sharing. So it’s a multi-app process.


We can build an app for capturing, tweaking and sharing screenshots that makes it easier and quicker than the default behavior.

Make screenshots into shareable cards.

We can make the screenshots look better than they would by just cropping and sharing while still keeping the feeling of intimacy that screenshots afford. (This is the fundamental UX challenge finding the sweet spot between “looks good” and “looks human”)

Focus will be weighted to public sharing.

Focus of shared content will be weighted toward public content (NYT article, web page) viewed in a mobile browser.

v1 is probably good enough if this is more of a feature for creating and sharing oneshots. But I could imagine a version where you see in-app your friends shared oneshots. (Kinda would like this part.)

Some thoughts on Experience

Grant Oneshot access to your photos and when you open the app all recent screenshots are automatically oneshotted. (No need to select which ones, just see what we’ve made.)

Automatically detect highlights and pull those out as the Oneshot card.

Google the text in the screenshot to determine source and indicate source on card (had a thought of trying this by pulling favicon from source site and embossing onto card.)

Oneshot cards are shared out as images plus URL to source.

On Customization

Customization of cards needs to be really light. An assumption is that the commentary happens outside of the card itself (in the tweet or as a follow along comment.)

One idea would be to automatically oneshot all the screenshots in your recent roll and present them with a few different treatments. Basically do a “we think this is what you want to oneshot, did you want it like this or like this.” If we can make it really fast and easy to review the treatments for a oneshot then we can present a couple guesses (no more than 3?) about what the user may want.

Again has to feel very fast to get something useable. We’re not going to offer a lot of options.

Summing up

Again the experience challenge is that the oneshot card has to look good but not so stuffy that it doesn’t feel like it came from a human. We’re not trying to create illuminated manuscripts out of web pull quotes. The overall expereince of the app needs to be fast because we are competing with the native use case of just screenshotting, cropping and sharing.

But offer just enough customization that it still feels intimate but better than native.

Use Cases and Example Images

The image screenshot.

The image screenshot. Easiest thing is to put a border around this and allow for captioning. Maybe a caption below image, maybe an overlay

The map, directions, reminder

Crop to the address bar and the window.

the tweet

Make a nice Twitter card out of the Tweet. Maybe even using the Twitter API.

Text wo highlihght

Want to identify source, main content, URL.

Text with highglight

Same as without but just pull out highlight.