enhancing engagement and minimizing FOMO for the leading platform in live streaming





the goal

Designing a mobile app feature that strengthens off-stream engagement for an industry-leading live streaming platform.

Twitch is a live video streaming service and platform owned and operated by a subsidiary of, that offers a variety of creative content. Founded in 2011, the service’s purpose is to bring people together to build communities and live interaction to create entertainment together in real-time. Twitch’s native features allow anyone to create their own live streams/channels and communities to naturally build around people who appreciate the content.

As of February 2020, the platform has grown to
3 million monthly broadcasters and 15 million daily active users.

Virtual interactions and online community-spaces have been growing as tech continues to assert its influence within all our lives, but may have never been so important until a time like the COVID-19 pandemic where the world had to collectively stay at home and lose much of our contact with the outside world for an unknown amount of time. This change has affected the ways in which individuals and groups had to interact and pushed it further into the digital space.

When adding the live, real-time element to the streaming and chatting experience, Twitch offers an edgy authenticity, a je ne sais quoi-- to an otherwise familiar virtual, social experience.

Currently, streamers/channels utilize third-party platforms and social tools to communicate with their viewers outside of live streaming hours-- the most frequently used being Twitter and Discord. Although both parties have seemed to have acclimated to using external methods, it made me wonder....

What challenges do viewers and streamers experience when communicating and interacting off-stream?


first, let's get to know the landscape + challenges

I started off by conducting 4 research methods to help get a thorough understanding of the problem space surrounding the platform; these methodologies included a comparative and SWOT analysis, general market research, contextual inquiry, and user interviews.

My comparative and SWOT analysis served as the foundation early on by providing me clarity on Twitch’s landscape and building more context when conducting contextual inquiry and user interviews.

In 2020, the hours of live streams watched grew 99% YoY across all live streaming platforms.

Twitch alone saw 1.7 billion hours of content watched in November 2020.
Twitch's user groups are expanding.

Although Twitch’s main focus includes live video game streaming and broadcasts of esports competitions, the platform’s community and user groups are consistently growing beyond gaming; some popular content-types include music broadcasts and “IRL” (“in real life”) or “Just Chatting” streams.
Twitter and Discord are the top social media platforms used by the Twitch community.

Both social media platforms are used by streamers and their audiences to keep the engagement continuing outside of live streams.

Due to time constraints, I was able to rapidly recruit 3 user participants; 2 for solely user interviews and 1 for both an in-person contextual inquiry and in-person interview. All 3 participants are Twitch users and use the platform at least 2-4 times a week-- I also decided to focus on the audience/viewer end due to having access to them much easier than streamers. Through the interviews and inquiry, I discovered an interesting pattern surrounding engagement in and outside the platform between streamers and their audiences:

Users’ primary goal is to virtually “hang out” with their communities of choice and feel like they genuinely belong to them. 🎯


“I love to make fun connections with people during stream.”

“It’s one of my favorite forms of entertainment and gives me something to look forward to during the week.”
Users’ biggest challenge is the current methods for staying in the loop of streamer updates and schedules. ❌

“Say I didn’t go on Twitter or IG or Discord that day. I would be missing out. There are days I don’t go on any of them, even Twitch.”

“If I were to follow a streamer on a different platform, it’s because I want to see their lives outside of streaming; not for the purpose of knowing when they’ll be streaming.”

All users interact more with smaller streamers & find that streamers with a bigger following are more difficult to interact with. 🤔

“You have to have money to be noticed. But for smaller streamers, you’re just appreciated for being there.”

“I feel like I connect to smaller streamers because the interactions are easier and more natural because the communities are smaller.”

All users described feed features when describing their ideal engagement method. 💬


“I would want there to be a feed for all the streamers I follow on Twitch dedicated to just updates. Like a tab or a page.”

“Like a Twitter or YouTube poll that I’ve seen! I just don’t follow my favorite streamers on other platforms.”


second, let's understand our user + opportunities

Using my research findings, I started to understand our user’s identity a bit clearer; ultimately, I decided to create a singular archetype + persona that encompassed my users and further broke down the needs, motivations, goals, and pain points:

After a few FigJam sticky note sessions for brainstorming, I chose the biggest user pain point to act as my north star during my design process:
How might we create a streamlined way for casually-consistent engagers to receive updates from their favorite streamers off-stream? 🧐
At this point, identifying the archetype guided me through the process of understanding what would be most impactful to users. This is when I realized that in turn, solving for my users’ needs for a feature that streamlines updates from streamers could also potentially solve for another pain point: engaging with streamers without a paywall.
Creating a feature that offers a space for receiving updates from favorite streamers will help users avoid FOMO and provide them with another option for engaging with streamers without a paywall.💡

how does the feature tie into business goals?

Integrating another engagement feature directly on the platform increases...

participation, community,
user confidence
and satisfaction. ✔
Integrating another engagement feature directly on the platform increases...

user activity,
subscription retention,
and keeps users within the platform's ecosystem. ✔


third, let's explore some solutions

Referencing back to my research and interviews, I knew the foundation of my solution was located there. Users mentioned that they were frustrated that they have to use third-party social apps to stay in the loop for streaming updates. Those social apps are typically Twitter and Discord.

Discord is a VoIP and has filled the instant messaging, chat piece for Twitch communities when streams aren’t live. During live streams, Twitch has a dedicated chatbox feature directly in the platform.

Twitter is described as a mobile-optimized “microblogging” system where users can send and receive short posts--called tweets-- where each tweet can be interacted with. Twitch’s communities heavily utilizes Twitter as a way to continue the conversation outside of live streams and interact and stay up-to-date.
Envision a feature where streamers and viewers can engage in that short, quickfire way that can be easily accessed on Twitch; thus, streamlining the light dialogue and interactions between streamers and viewers within the platform. ✨
Drawing inspiration, I turned to social platforms that have these kinds of features and functions like Twitter, but others as well. YouTube’s Community posts is a prime example of a Twitch competitor that integrated a similar feature in 2016.

I also looked to the OG forum space, along with physical and virtual bulletin boards-- then I got to sketching and creating a task flow to better understand what the feature would need.
1. Designing the feed organization
One of my first iterations of the “feed” screen (I coined it that temporarily) was a feed of posts that had a more traditional “random” feel, where the organization is based the time in which the post goes live-- similarly to both Twitter and YouTube Community posts’ models.
While this is a familiar pattern, this wouldn’t be addressing the users’ pain points as strongly as it could.

The “random”, most-recently-posted order can be difficult for users to filter which posts should take priority.
2. Integrating the feature to the bottom task bar
The feature was called many things before I made an executive decision on its name.

I initially decided on Community and then Newsfeed but didn’t quite feel right-- Community evokes the right feeling but I wanted it have its own identity apart from YouTube’s feature. Newsfeed made sense theoretically but the term is typically used in more serious contexts.


fourth, let's dive into the final solution

Meet, Bulletin
A lightweight engagement feature that allows users to be filled-in on all Twitch-related updates while providing another way to engage off-stream with streamers and the community directly on the platform.
Easily found and seamlessly integrated into the app’s interface.

Notification badge pops up when there are any Streaming Updates that haven’t been viewed.
Information hierarchy is heavily utilized to highlight Streaming Updates as priority.

Being the “hero” of the feature, I decided to organize the feed by Streaming Updates and Recent posts.

The recognizable “Twitch Purple” is finessed to keep the updates visually distinct, while still being aligned with the app’s branding.

The Streaming Updates that hasn’t been viewed yet are highlighted in red and disappear once seen.

Twitch’s video tags are also being used on streaming updates to immediately indicate the upcoming stream’s content.
Directly react to all posts, including streaming updates.

Keeping engagement at the forefront, users are able to Like and Dislike on each post.

When liking a post (can be seen in the prototype), the thumbs-up icon is animated to build user confidence when reacting, while also demonstrating the playful, not-so-serious nature of Twitch’s branding.
Directly add comments to all posts, too.

Reiterating the emphasis on engagement, users can also add comments directly to each post.

This provides users and streamers to continue conversations and interacting outside of live streams; filling the gap that Twitter currently holds, but giving the option to keep Twitch engagement within its ecosystem.
Interactive polls within the feed.

An available feature on the platform during live streams, Bulletin also has interactive polls that streamers can post-- this allows another layer to interactions between streamers and their audience, as well as giving users a way to be more closely involved with streamers and their content.

Translating the feature for Bulletin, the polls use color to make it visually distinct when scrolling through the feed.


fifth, let's validate our solution

I conducted usability testing (coincidentally and due to availability, with the participants in my user interviews) to test the feature’s usability and understand users’ attitudes and thoughts while navigating through the prototype.

100% of participants were able to successfully complete all tasks.

(And really quickly, too.)

“It feels familiar but new and fun and I don’t want to learn something entirely new. This is a great balance.”

All participants preferred the feed with the separated status updates.

“My favorite part of the feature was the fact that you immediately see the streaming updates.”


finally, let's go over the impact

With the addition of this new feature, Twitch audiences can stay updated on their favorite streamers directly on the app, but also have another opportunity to strengthen their bonds with the communities that they’re a part of.

“I would definitely dive deeper into Twitch and probably follow more people if I had this feature.”
"I would totally go on Twitch more if this was real."
"I like the horizontal scrolling because it's familiar and it's literally like Twitter but directly on Twitch. I love it!"
To further measure impact, I would recommend collecting metrics post-launch to further reach business goals and continue scaling the product:
• Adoption and usage data
• User activity
• Conversion rate of subscriptions
• App usage stats
• CSAT (customer satisfaction)
Coming from a paid media background, the opportunity for ad space and media buying came to mind when thinking of this feature’s value from a business use case, among others. There are plenty of ways this concept can expand. 💭


key learnings

Virtual spaces are the new Friday night hang out.
💬  “I just like to hang out every week and chit chat about whatever.”
Due to the evolution of the digital space and layering on the COVID-19 pandemic, platforms like Twitch not only became popular but sometimes the preferred place to interact with others (in person hangs can be so draining now, amirite?) Although I do think that these types of products still skew more niche than mainstream, there is no doubt that the rise of live streaming is only just starting. I mean-- once in awhile, I won’t pass the opportunity to attend a concert in my sweats at home either.
In-person vs. virtual; one isn't better, they're just different.
💬  “It's hard to explain but I've made some amazing friends through this that I wouldn't otherwise get to meet.”
Piggybacking off my first takeaway, digital spaces have truly opened new doors and offered opportunities that have impacted people-- just by bringing them together. Building genuine connections and experiencing a sense of belonging; mix that with creativity and diversity, all in a (hopefully) safe space. This is proof of the good side of the internet, and I think we can all appreciate that.
Sometimes, the most impactful solution is the simple one.
When I initially started on this project, I kept overthinking and wracking my brain over and over again on the solution-- the solution showcased in this case study was one of the first things that came to my mind, but I kept pushing it away thinking that it wasn’t the “right” one because it seemed “too easy”. But the more I learn (especially as a newer designer), the more I understand that oftentimes--with validation--the most impactful are the uncomplicated and simple ones.