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Twitter PWA gets text retention in composer, new emoji, and more

Twitter has been making plenty of changes to its Progressive Web App for the past few months, with nearly monthly update roundups detailing what's been added during the previous month. The company has now published a new round of changes for the month of May, with some notable improvements in tow.

One of the new features, as the company announced yesterday, is the ability to control who can reply to your tweets, so while any of your followers can see them, only people you mention can reply to you. Another big change is the way conversations are displayed, with replies being denoted by lines and indentations, similar to Twitter's prototype twttr app that was made available last year. Both of these changes are being tested with a small group of users at first.

The tweet and DM composers in the Twitter PWA can also now remember your text as long as you're on the site, so even if you navigate elsewhere, you can go back and finish what you started typing. It's worth noting that this doesn't apply to the pop-up tweet composer, since you'll specifically be asked if you want to discard the tweet when closing the pop-up.

Rounding up the new features, when viewing media from a tweet, the conversation around that tweet will be in a sidebar next to the image or video. Finally, it's now possible to view retweets with comments for a certain tweet. Clicking the number of retweets will bring up a pop-up window with two tabs, so you can see who simply retweeted it or who commented on it.

Aside from brand-new features, there are a handful of updates to existing features, including many accessibility improvements. Among the changes is the update to Twemoji 13, which adds some new emoji that were introduced with the Emoji 13.0 standard published by Unicode this year. Here's the list of changes:

  • A11Y: Emojis now have a “title” attribute, meaning if you hover over them, they may show a translated description of what they are.
  • A11Y: Alt text can now be entered without needing to enable a setting. As part of this, we’ve also redesigned the cropper and alt text editor to make alt text more prominent and the image larger so that you can more easily see the image you are describing. You can cycle between multiple images using the arrows near the done button.
  • A11Y: We’ve also enabled alt text composition and consumption for GIFs. If you choose a GIF from the library, it may automatically include some basic descriptions, but we encourage you to add your own as well since it will likely be more descriptive.
  • A11Y: Finally, we’ve given you a little more room to describe your media by raising the alt text character limit to 1000.
  • DM: Find users and hashtags more easily while composing DMs! We now support typeahead aka autocomplete within the DM composer.
  • Emoji: Updated emoji to Twemoji 13. Visual coverage of the changes can be found at Emojipedia, and more specific information can be found at GitHub.
  • Navigation: Improved main navigation for narrow and short browsers a bit. Items should now collapse into the “more” menu instead of scrolling.

Finally, there are some fixes to the experience, including some related to accessibility:

  • A11Y: Using screen readers in Instances where search fields return lists of users will now properly announce whether a user is checked or unchecked. This includes areas such as adding users to lists, composing DMs, and tagging in photos.
  • A11Y & Video: Screen readers will now read out the proper mute or unmute state for the volume control.
  • DM: Clicking the DM compose button on smaller screens and mobile will no longer refresh the entire page.
  • Media: Fixed a bug where images would not rotate correctly in Chrome 81. Due to a browser bug, this may still affect cropping images until a future update. If you have trouble cropping your image, try another browser or use software on your device.
  • Media: Fixed up zooming and swiping multi-photo Tweets on mobile devices.
  • Navigation: Fixed some scrolling issues where content would jump when zoomed in.
  • Video: Video UI badges will no longer obscure closed captions after interacting with the player directly.

As usual, these updates aren't necessarily being rolled out today, so you may have noticed some of these changes before. Likewise, some of them may take a little longer to make their way to everyone, so you may not see them right away.

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