Twitter Live

How we could have experienced the GOP Primary Debate if this feature existed.

In this post I will explore a new feature that I believe Twitter should introduce. I’ll be calling it: Twitter Live. I am fully aware that there is an internal effort underway within the company called “Project Lightning”, but I was inspired by Chris Sacca’s post: “What Twitter Can Be”, so I took a crack at it myself by designing what I believe it should be.

The premise of Twitter Live is to give the world a curated shared experience of a specific event, as it’s happening.

The following designs were done in a course of 3 days, so excuse the lack of polish, as I rushed to ship this in time for the GOP Primary debate. That being said, I tried to stay on brand as much as possible. I wanted this to look like something Twitter could implement tomorrow without a major redesign.

Alright enough hoo-blah, let’s get to it!

Fuck it. We’ll do it live.

There will now be a new icon on the bottom tab bar of the app called: Live.

Tapping on it will bring you here:

The icons on the top left hand corner will represent various types of events to give the user a quick visual cue about what the event is about as they scroll through the feed.

Featured Events:

You will be presented a feed of various events that are either currently live, or will be in the near future. For the events that are not currently live, you will be able to subscribe to be notified for when that event goes live.

Some of these events can be:

  • TV Shows
  • Sporting Events
  • Developing News
  • Political Events
  • Award Shows
  • Concerts / Festivals

Let’s scroll through the events and see what’s happening…

Oh look at that…the GOP Primary Debate is happening as we speak. Alright great! We want to join it.

So we tap on the “Currently Live” button:

Pictures throughout the event appear on top in a swipeable carousel. Tapping on a candidate brings up a short blurb of information about them.

Meet the Candidates:

Ah! Just the information we need when we need it. We’re presented a carousel of the finest candidates the GOP has to offer and just by simply tapping on their icons we get some information about who they are, with an option to read more if we so desire.

Every event will have a special tailored custom “card” attached to the top that will provide a richer experience than just your standard Tweet.

Oh sweet, it looks we can swipe on the card…let’s do that!

We swipe left on the card:

Tapping on a candidate everytime you like what they’re saying gives instant valuable insight at scale. Polling could be applied to anything form politics to concerts.

Cast Your Vote:

As the debate progresses, you get to see in real-time how people feel about each candidate, and participate in the experience.

This is central to the design of Twitter Live. You are not only seeing exactly what everyone else on Twitter is seeing as it’s happening, but you’re also experiencing and participating together.

It’s like the whole world is sitting in the living room together.

Ah man! You just realized you forgot to walk the dog. Now you’re going to miss the questions being asked. No worries. Just swipe left.

You walk outside and take out your phone to follow along:


Oh look at that. Looks like Donald Trump just announced that he will be nominating Startup L. Jackson for VP. Good choice Donald!

We don’t even have to be in front of the TV anymore to follow along. This is real-time information getting delievered to you as it’s happening in an interactive way which we have yet to experience.

Hmm…what’s that little red blinking dot at the bottom. Let’s swipe up….

Live Timeline:

Ah. Here in lies the heart of Twitter Live: Live Timeline.

The Live Timeline, is exactly that. With no need to refresh you are being presented carefully selected Tweets that are curated by an editorial team at Twitter. So these would probably be Tweets that are getting a lot of likes or retweets in a short period of time or simply offer some sort of insight that’s relevent to the moment. The beauty of the Live Timeline is that you can scroll to any point of the event and see what was important at that particular minute.

You have a scrubber to fast-forward or reverse through an event.

Speaking of going back in time, let’s leave this debate and hop into our time machine to go back to circa June 2015.

Tapping on the subscribe button will notify the user when the event goes live.

Subscribe to an Event:

Ah! Game 6 between the Cavs and Warriors. This should be good. Looks like it’s going live in 30 minutes. Let’s subscribe to the event so we can get notified of it when it goes live.

Subscribing to an event builds up a sort of anticipation that is hard to replicate. It also keeps the user in the know. What time is the game on again? Who cares. Twitter will tell you.

Think of it as a TV Guide for any upcoming event.

Fast-forward two hours and we’re watching the game…

Information on demand and in context:

Look’s like things are heating up. Something tells me Cleveland isn’t going to pull through on this one even through Lebron is on fire. Not sure why though? Hmm…

Sports are huge on Twitter. I don’t know if there’s anything else that we as society love watching together more than sports. How great would it be if we can not only just see the score at any given moment, but see the stats of the players, vote on our favorite player of the game and do it all together.

I mean that’s great and all, but I want to buy that shirt Steph Curry is wearing.

Let’s swipe left and see what else we can do…

The Shop offers a vertically scrolling list with items related to the specific event.

Shop in Context:

Whoa! I didn’t know you could buy stuff on Twitter.

Shopping on Twitter? That must be good for business.

The reason why Google has money to spend on building self-aware robots that can mine astroids while building your self-driving car is because of a simple word called “intent”. When a user searches for something on Google they have intent. When they search for “Lebron James Jersey”, chances are they’re looking to buy one and Google adds another penny to the piggybank.

Intent is great. But you know what else is great? “Context”. Context is when I’m watching a basketball game and see something that I want to buy and it’s just a tap away. Context is Twitter’s golden egg and Twitter Live brings it to people in a richer way than ever before.

Let’s see what’s going on in the Live Timeline…

Not just Tweets Anymore:

Oh that’s a cool vine of Lebron dunking over everyone. Looks like business as usual here…

The idea of the constraint on a Tweet is amazing. It just simply works so let’s leave that alone. Let’s keep the Tweet as the beautifual atomic unit that it is.

But let’s also leverage other applications to bring us relevent information as well. Just becasue someone Vine’d something instead of Tweeting it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t see it. There’s all of this information outside of Twitter that people never get to see…it’s a real shame especially when Twitter has easy access to it.

Speaking of other apps…let’s hop back into our time machine and go into the future circa September 25th right on the premiere of our favorite show: Shark Tank.

So who’s this new shark that’s joining the pack. Let’s see!

Ah! Looks like some guy named Chris Sacca. Who is this guy? I hope he’s not there to replace Mark Cuban. Let’s join his live stream and see what this guy is about.

Wow! I’m actually watching the premiere of the show with the rest of the sharks. How cool is that! It’s like we’re sitting in the room together. It’s like they’re my best friends.

This is a whole different experience that can not be found anywhere else.

Go down the line of any app and they won’t be able to pull off an experience like this. This is truly unique to Twitter.

I love Twitter. It is the nervous system of the world so it really pains me to see it consistently getting abused by Wall Street when it’s such a great product. In Twitter’s last earnings call, Jack Dorsey said something along the lines of:

“We have the best live content in the world, but we also have the best conversation around it.”

That statement is about as accurate as one can get about the incomparable role of Twitter in the world. However, I also believe that Twitter has not been leveraging this live content to the best of its ability. That’s precisely the problem Twitter Live tries to solve.

There’s a quote by William Gibson that goes something like:

“The future is already here — it has just not been evenly distributed yet.”

In Twitter’s case, the content is already here, it has just not been evenly distributed yet. Twitter Live offers to do just that.

What’s that Bill?

….what are we going to do?

Ah yes…yes we will!

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Also, you might enjoy these other posts I’ve written previously:

Who am I?

I’m an engineering-minded product designer and a design-minded iOS engineer from New York City. I also happen to be looking to join a team of passionate people to work on some great products. If that interests you, lets chat: or @danielrakh

Published in Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking