Smart Screenshots

An attempt to redesign the iOS screenshot function as a contextual interface, early 2017

Tools: Principle, Sketch; Time: 1 week; Context: self-initiated project

As an Apple advocate, I have often wondered why this functionality lags so far behind other iOS features. Therefore, I decided to rethink it as a contextual interface.

How might we redesign the current iOS system (early 2017) to support individual intentions when taking screenshots?

Different intentions, same outcome

People take screenshots to remember a song or an event, to gather inspiration, or just to send them to friends. Intentions to take screenshots vary, but they always end up in the same place - the photos folder (iOS until early 2019).

Predicting user behavior

Based on the screenshot content and user's recent behavior, the algorithm proposes a course of action. The interface provides recommendations by anticipating the user's next action. The user can choose to accept, alter, or ignore the suggestion without interrupting their current activity.

Some examples of Smart Screenshots

Change suggestion
Add events
Save routes
Save to folder
Share with friends
Add song to playlist

The Process of redesigning screenshots

The design process was very human-centred and iterative with a crucial role in creating small prototypes and testing them. Accomplishing a project in a very short periode of time meant that I was able to fail fast in order to move on.


Seeing where the person's hand is when taking screenshots was very insightful for the further process.

Learning about peoples' screenshot behavior

There were hundreds of screenshots people sent me, which I sorted according to the purpose for which they were taken. To get a clearer understanding of specific use cases, I interviewed 2 people about their screenshot habits.

Sorting my screenshots
Learning about other people's screenshot behavior

Iteration and validation

Following the validation of those insights, I created various prototypes to determine which interaction is the most user-friendly. I tested multiple versions of the feature to find out which one feels the most intuitive.

Usability testing

Current screenshot function vs. screenshots as a contextual interface

What I have learned

• Balancing constraints and freedom in order to avoid losing focus or limiting the creative process too much.
• Being confident in how to continue with the process.
• Getting comfortable with being solely responsible for a project.


Google maps In August 2021, I noticed a similar feature on google maps when I was taking a screenshot.

Spotify I noticed that in 2018 Spotify implemented or at least tested a screenshot feature to share songs with friends on social media.