Some feedback on timeline margins

(I use an iPhone Mini - so I might have a different experience to some.)

Here’s an image from the app:

I think the margins on the sides are way too large. And you can especially see the problem with a quote, like this:

I think it’s better to have the name and avatar above the post, so the content can fill the width, like Gluon does. (However, that also has some weird margins.)

Here’s an image from the Mastodon app Mona, which I think do it well:

I gave the same feedback to the Mastodon app Mammoth, and then I made the following mockup, which I think is nice (Wrapping around the avatar):

Anyone else having the same issue?
Any reason why it’s like it is that I’m not seeing?

I prefer the layout we’re using with the left side because it lines up the name and post text, and allows the text to start higher up than some apps, but you’re right about the right margin. It does look wrong. I’ll work on adjusting it.


Yeah, it does line up the name and post text, but the other way lines the post text with the avatar. And having the large margins sacrifices a lot of space of smaller devices.

Let’s compare these two screenshots - from Mona and
(With these Apple Frames screenshots, the Mini viewport is 1080 px - so that’s my benchmark.)

Now, my main point is that, in my opinion, wastes (precious) space. But before getting into just how much, keep in mind that:

  • Mona uses larger timeline avatars
  • and slightly larger line spacing compared to

So that this actually makes appear better, in terms of vertical space used.

Ok, but on to the margins!

Mona’s margins:

40px gutters on each side, so

Margins = 80px ≈ 7,4 % of the vw
Content = 1000px ≈ 92,6 % of the vw

In this post, the text uses 400px of height, and 6 lines.
The image becomes 1000px x 503px = 503 000’s margins:

159px margins on the left side and 108px margins on the right side. (Why is it lopsided?)

Margins = 267px ≈ 24,7 % of the vw
Content = 813 px ≈ 75,3 % of the vw

In this post, the text uses 512px of height and 8 lines.
The image becomes 813px x 406px = 330 078

Are you really telling me that aligning the post text with the name is worth going from spending 7 % to spending 25 % on margins, and making every image on the timeline 35 % smaller?

But what if you check for height including the name and avatar? As you said, having the margins makes it possible to move the post content up a bit.

Mona = 558px = 605px

So even though has

  • smaller avatar size,
  • lower line height
  • and doesn’t show the display name (I wish I could choose username, display name or both, btw.)

it still uses 8 % more vertical space.

Browsing with an iPhone Mini is especially bad when visiting profiles. Here I’m visiting a profile (so everything is “native”):

Firstly, the margin problem gets extra bad with quotes.

Secondly, the bar up top with the profile info never collapses (on Mona you can choose if you want the top bar, bottom bar or both collapsing while scrolling). So there’s very little space left for content.
(The red line on the left screenshot is where the content stops on And there’s also an extra line shift, below @jarrod, that’s not needed - but I think it’s on both.)

Proposed solutions

I know I’m hammering on a bit here - but it’s with love! ( is so close to something I’d really love.) But to try and help a bit, and not just complain - here’s some proposed solutions. (Also, I know it’s easier to move things in vector than actually program. :stuck_out_tongue:)

A bit out there: Wrapping the text (or just copy Mona)

I posted this mockup in my last post, which was one idea for the Mammoth app - wrapping:

Notice that they, like you, don’t show both username and display name - so the wrapping is a way to move the text up (like you mentioned). But I totally get that it’s a bit opinionated, as it obviously doesn’t align all the lines of text. :stuck_out_tongue:

A way reduced margins could look:

Here’s a more sensible solution than wrapping. (And I made the margins 60px, not 40px, to make the change less jarring. But 40px might work just as well.) I love that you render block quotes - but since you have the line, you almost don’t have to increase the margin.

Browsing profiles

Browsing the timeline

(I wanted to make the mockup with several posts - but none of them were quotes or had images, which is what will benefit the most from margins like this.)

It could also be possible to look into stealing the replies indicator from Mona - but I didn’t play with that now:

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Wow, you’ve put a lot of work into demonstrating this! Thanks! Let’s fix the right margin first (and the block quote) and then reevaluate. I think that’s a simple change that will make it a little better, but you’re right we might still want to do more.

Today I’ve significantly improved the right margin today, across iOS, Android, and macOS. Still open to more design tweaks later.


Weird coincidence: Today I wrote a blog post about timeline margins and about how different apps handle it.

Wow! This is fantastic. And I thought I was nitpicky :slight_smile:

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Haha - I’ll take that as a compliment. :sweat_smile:

Yeah, I kinda can’t stop my mind when it starts…

So the post above, where I did all the math, was my mind saying “I’m pretty sure this is very ineffectual - but how ineffectual?” And the blog post was “Hmm, how many apps have these large left-margins?”

It WAS a compliment. I felt so seen. But now I don’t feel so alone here :upside_down_face:

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Great blog post. One reason I think the margin hasn’t been a problem in the past is that posts are usually short. For short posts, the margin is taken up by the profile photo anyway, so you don’t really lose any space if the text is also indented. But as posts on social apps get longer, this becomes more of a conflict.

Yeah, that makes sense.