Twitter PWA updates add emoji reactions to DMs and other improvements

Every few weeks, Twitter shares some of the updates it has made to its Progressive Web App - which is now the default experience for most users - during that period, and today is one of those days. The company has posted a pretty comprehensive changelog detailing recent changes to the experience, though it's worth keeping in mind that these updates aren't being released all at once, so you may have seen them before.

As usual, the updates include a couple of brand-new features, including the ability to reach to direct messages using emoji. There's also a notable addition for accessibility, which lets users add alt text to an image, enabling those with visual impairments to better understand it. Here's the list:

  • DMs: Say more with new emoji reactions for Direct Messages! To add a reaction, click the ♥️➕ icon that appears when you hover over the message.
  • A11Y: When you Tweet you can now add alt text to any GIF just like images. Just make sure you have the "compose image descriptions" setting turned on in your accessibility settings. All these improvements are steps along the way to making Composing Tweets with alt text possible for everyone. We're excited to enable this setting as the default for everyone soon!
  • Profiles: When viewing tweets on a user's profile, replies will now be displayed as conversations so you can see what the user was replying to without having to click through.

There are also plenty of updates to existing functionality, including a faster upload process for images and videos, as well as a faster GIF selector. Here's the full list:

  • A11Y: When using a screen reader, most emoji will now read out a Twitter translated description of their appearance instead of relying on the system or screen reader to have its own description.
  • Profiles: When adding a user to a list from their profile, you can now create a new list to add them to at the same time.
  • Compose: We have rewritten much of our media uploading process to help get your images and videos out to the world faster when tweeting. This should be especially noticeable for users with high-latency, or slower connections.
  • Compose: The gif picker was really slow, and prone to crashing the app. We gave it some TLC and now it’s ready to help you find the perfect reaction in record time.
  • Media: Can’t quite see who that is in an account’s avatar? Now you can zoom on avatars with your touch device to get a more detailed view.
  • Media: You can now swipe up or down to dismiss the media gallery when viewing images on any touch device.
  • DMs: Direct message text that is sent alongside attachments should now visually appear as a single message to readers.

Finally, there are some fixes to multiple parts of the experience:

  • Media: Galleries with just a single item should no longer show arrows.
  • Navigation: Fixed a bug where search suggestions were sometimes hidden or impossible to get to.
  • Navigation: You can once again use the dash menu to get to your list of followers or people you follow.
  • DMs: Remedied a case where the typing indicator was being shown when people were not in fact typing.
  • Compose: Updated polls logic to accurately reflect that you only need two options to start a poll; it was sometimes requiring more.
  • iOS: Fixed timeline media not appearing on older versions of iOS.

Twitter has been one of the earliest adopters of PWAs, and it's positive to see the company not just updating the service on a regular basis, but being transparent about the changes it's making. If any of these updates isn't visible to you, they may not have fully rolled out yet, so you'll need to wait a little longer.

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