As a technology company our goal has always been to innovate. The term “innovation” is so over-used that we’ve found it difficult to truly classify our ideas and products as innovative. Sure we have new ideas, new features, but typically they’re new to us and usually there’s someone else in the world that’s released very similar technology. Not always, but usually.
This time our team was able to come up with something unique enough that it even brought me to this page, writing our very first blog post as a company.
The feature is called Swipe Navigation, or Swipe Nav for short, and we think it’s a pretty cool way to navigate the Social Sphere of photo and video sharing (and more). It might not be the most revolutionary, magical, [superlative] feature ever made, but so far our users have loved it after its recent release in early September 2015. We came up with the idea almost a year ago but as any developer knows, getting it polished and out the door took a tad longer than expected.
Traditional “feeds” typically show new posts chronologically through a vertical scroller. The vertical scroller allows users to navigate up and down to find things they’re interested in, and then they can click in to see more about the User, more posts from that User, or more posts related to that content. We saw that almost everything had to do with vertical scrolling and there really weren’t very many features, or content-related actions, with a horizontal, or left-right scroll/swipe.
The concept is simple: allow the user to swipe left or right on an image in the feed and allow them to see that user’s posts chronologically left-to-right, without ever leaving the vertical feed where they came from. Granted, it’s not limited to just a user’s chronological posts, but that’s the best application of the technology that we’ve started with.
Once we first started testing the functionality of it a few months ago, we quickly realized that the swiping itself felt natural and most importantly, it gave a huge benefit to the end-user. Ultimate goal high five! But once you got to the end of scrolling either left or right, it kind of just ended in crickets. So we decided to add what we call “Bookends” to the left-right scrolling to increase the functionality for the user as well. If you scroll all the way to the end of the user’s content (to the right), it simply provides you with a “Back to Beginning” call-to-action that takes the user back to the original media they started with. If they scroll to the very beginning of the user’s content (to the left), it provides a view of the user’s basic Profile info and even allows them to Follow that person if they stumbled across the account via ‘Explore’ or some other path. Here’s what those two Bookends look like:
We believe the application of this technology spans well beyond simple navigation of a specific user’s content, and we plan on applying the technology to our Forum Integration as well as other features down the road. Most importantly, we hope it gives our users a whole new sense of freedom and mobility within the app, and provides an even better platform to find more people and content within their passion categories.