Saturday 8 November 2014

Got that image in Twitter the correct aspect ratio?

Update August 2017 Since this blog was first posted most of the social media platforms have changed their image sizes. It's now possible to post square images without them being cropped. Experiments by 'Buffer' show the ideal size of images are as follows:

Facebook – 1,200 x 628

Twitter – 1,024 x 576

Instagram – 1,080 x 1,080

LinkedIn – 552 x 368

Pinterest – 600 x 900

Google+ – 800 x 320

Click the name of the social media platform to go to the current details. I've left this post in place because it may provide you with ideas for how to make a clickable image reveal a punchline.

Did you know Twitter pictures will be cropped if they are the wrong aspect ratio? Twitter displays images 526 pixels wide on screen and will scale their width to that size. They will only show half that width vertically though, and will crop the image if it's taller than wide. Just to confuse you, they will show YOU the full image rather than the cropped image everyone else sees.

Here's an example of an image with the wrong aspect ratio:
 The original image is 403 pixels wide by 800 tall. Twitter will scale the width up to 526 pixels wide which would make its height 1044 pixels. That's 843 pixels too tall and it will be cropped. Here's what you get:

The top and bottom of the image have been cropped. In this case the result is not too traumatic since the part shown is dramatic enough to catch attention. If you really work at it you can use Twitter's image cropping to good effect deliberately rather than accidentally as in the above image. Here's an example of a tweet which uses Twitter's cropping to give the element of surprise, so essential to humor:

When the image is clicked the reader sees the image in full and gets the punchline:

If things go wrong...

Sometimes, as in the above cases, it's useful, but mostly what the post author wants you to see is completely destroyed. Here's an example showing that.

...and here's the image the tweep wanted people to see:

(For all those Democrats rubbing their hands in glee - don't gloat - I can find Democrat posts much the same.)

Fixing the image

If an image is cropped then whatever the result you are relying on tweeps knowing that they must click the image to see an uncropped version. You should remember that is not always the case. A better solution is to make your images twice as wide as they are tall. Here's an example of my 'I see you and Satan sees you' image like that:

...and a second example using space at the right for a promotion message:

So remember - if you want tweeps to see your entire image make it twice as wide as it is tall! 

Found any good examples of an image not giving quite the right message? What about images which use Twitter's cropping to good effect? Perhaps you could post a link to them in the comments?

Twitter now seems to have changed the image displayed size to 455x227 pixels. Still twice as wide as high.

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