By David Robustelli
Visual content is trending, the huge rise of social engagement with images proves this more than ever. Apps like SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest and WeHeartIt are extremely popular and numbers are still growing. There are several ways of how people engage with online/digital visual content and where it’s being used. As a creative director for a digital agency, my primary use for visual content was inspiration for creating concepts or using it to define a style for a client with a mood board. Finding inspiration is always a struggle. You walk around with an idea in your head and you want to express this visually. To do this you need to be able to find specifically that image, style or video which let’s you translate what’s in your head to the eye.
Normally when searching for inspiring visual content we would work ourselves through the web. Hours of digging through Google images, and all well known visual platforms to collect what we were looking for. After a while, with fifty open browser tabs and having clicked “Save as..” a thousand times, we knew this way of being inspired and finding the visual content you were looking for was a problem that needs to be solved.
It started with a platform for internal use where everyone within the agency could collect any image from the web, drag it to a specific collection and share it with whoever might be interested. After presenting styles and mood boards with this platform to some clients, feedback was the same over and over again: Make it accessible for the whole world. So that’s what we did. Twibfy launched softly back in August 2013 as a social platform for visual inspiration primarily focused on the creative community. All content is user generated, but not all content is published. With a browser extension, users can drag any content to their Twibfy profile where it will be saved in a “cloud” without actually leaving the page they are browsing. Images or videos can instantly be saved to a specific collection.
When browsing Twibfy you will notice 90% of the images are “staff picks”. As we are trying to solve this search problem for relevant visual content, we curate every image or video that is being submitted by our users. If we think it fits the Twibfy style and quality guidelines, the image is featured on the main page and when needed, we re-tag content to make sure each search will show what the user is looking for. To generate the best search results, a search displays tags, collections, entries and users based on the search term. The 10% non-staff picked content is content that didn’t make it to be featured on the main page. This content is just not good enough to be featured, but good enough to be “findable” for the users. This content is pushed down and will show up at the bottom of search results. Non-relevant content will not be published and not show up in any search results.
The decision to develop the concept within a fully functional social network was to stimulate users finding like-minded people, being notified by their activity, and to engage with each other. For example, to bring photographers in contact with art directors, or to connect designers with other designers to be mutually inspired by their work. We also wanted people to be able to share collections. This allows multiple users to add visual content to a specific collection and automatically be notified when a collection is updated.
The Twibfy app makes the journey for visual inspiration complete as it is fully synchronized with the web profile and offers all features that the web version does. Users are also able to upload photos taken with their mobile devices which can be instantly uploaded to the cloud and function as inspiration for later.