We're designing Unscroll from the ground up to be the best social media possible. It should provide value when it can and stay out of the way the rest of the time. Posts should be insightful. It should be a completely safe space with no discrimination, aggravation or manipulation of thoughts. This is all easier said than done, but here is how we're planning on achieving our vision...
TLDR: just read the bold parts - they are the features.
The most important design ideas for a minimalist social media
🎟 You can only unlock the ability to view or make posts after you have done some focused work
- This acts as a reward to motivate you to focus.
- It also keeps you accountable with yourself and your friends. Want to join in on the action (the engaging insightful stuff people think about every day)? Then you'll have to focus at least a little bit yourself.
🖐 You can only view up to 5 posts between focus sessions
- Infinite scroll is pretty dark UX - it's such a time waster - and we think 5 insightful posts is a reasonable amount. It's not too time consuming.
- Limiting your attention to 5 posts means you can take them in with a lot more thought than if there were 100 posts.
Other important criteria
✏️ Centred around, but not limited to, work
- We don't currently share and embrace the interesting insights from what we spend most of our days doing - our work. So this is a space for doing just that.
💡 Posts (can) come straight from your focus
- Being able to craft a post straight after coming out of a focus session and when you're right at the edge of deep thought can lead to amazing insights and ideas being shared. Unscroll is the place for ideas to spawn and develop.
💁 Post suggestions
- We believe that we can all learn amazing things from each other, not just from 'influencers' and 'gurus'. Richard Branson thinks everyone should write a book at some point in their lives because everyone has something interesting to share.
- By suggesting carefully curated post topics we're making it that little bit easier for all of us to capture interesting insights from the day.
- Sometimes social media can be a highlights reel. We're trying to encourage a 'real' balance between highlights, with a sprinkling of lowlights and in between.
🩳 140 character limit
- You don't need to go overboard to get a point across - short is best.
- It takes less time for your friends to read and understand your post.
- With attention so intensely competed for, it's good practice to be able to get your point across quickly.
- For quite a few years this was Twitter's character limit. Tweeters didn't feel obliged to write a lot, and otherwise distilled their thoughts down into great bite sized chunks.
⌛ Posts automatically delete so you can only ever have 5 posts on your profile
- People share more when their posts don't stick around forever - think Instagram stories vs posts. We want more of the everyday thoughts that are otherwise lost to the abyss.
- High-quality is not a precondition for insightfulness.
- Perfect is the enemy of great. We want to encourage your thoughts to roam free because we want you to be great.
🌱 A responsible algorithm
Based on who you're following with a sprinkle of trending posts.
- Most recent posts appear first - no messing with what you want to see.
- Filter bubbles are a real thing and we want to broaden horizons. So trending posts are made up of half what similar people have liked, half what dissimilar people have liked.
What's purposefully left out of Unscroll
🤡 Comments on posts
- "WHAT!?" I hear you say. Hear me out for a second...
- Comments are most often quite shallow dialogue - not the meaningful engagement we want.
- If you want to have a real chat with someone about their post, go to their profile and reach out.
- The reality is Unscroll is optimised for focusing and sharing insights, not for chatting.
🦚 A profile picture
- We’re building a place where ideas are important, not what you look like.
- To get a little bit of your personality across, you can choose an emoji in place of where a profile picture would be.
❤️ How many likes your post got
- We are social animals. Receiving a lot of likes feels really good, but the problem with that is it's a big distraction. Likes can suck you into a vicious attachment cycle and train your mind to long for this shallow engagement.
- This type of feedback only makes you more conformist too. Be who you want to be, not what other people want you to be.
- In the long term, you’ll probably notice if you’ve got some interesting thoughts if you’re getting more followers.
🌇 Photos, GIFs and links
- Because words are more magic, and inspire real thought and imagination.
- This also sidesteps a huge problem of privacy issues, content issues and things like phishing.