Times changed. Tweetie was nice when it was released some years ago. Nowadays it wouldn’t be good enough, it would feel cheap. Back then, everyone liked that it looked and behaved like iOS in every way. Today that would just feel wrong. Not even the iOS standard apps do that anymore.
Those times felt like a gold rush for app developers and designers. Everyone built a client for Twitter. That changed some weeks ago, when Twitter announced a lot of new rules which basically render the development of a third party Twitter client useless.
Just a quick look on the five clients for Twitter that I consider worth testing:
- The official Twitter app: It’s nice, looks good, feels okay, but somehow it’s cluttered with what Twitter thinks its needs to become a better brand. All those discover and connect things aren’t anything I want and need in an app that’s basically meant to communicate with others.
- Good old Twitterrific: I never liked it. It was (one of) the first native apps for Twitter and it sure is not a bad client, but I don’t like the unified timeline approach and the look of it. It’s too cute, far too many colors, sweet little birdy patterns and so on. Also it lacks some of the basic functions like pull to refresh.
- Twittelator Neue: Beautiful. It looks and feels unique. It has many nice ideas, the display of embedded images, for example, but somehow I never grew used to it. It felt far too designed and the font is too thin for my taste. (One of the best things is the little pop up animation when you tap on a picture.)
- New to the game is Flurry: Beautiful and fast, it’s basically a Tweetie for 2012. It lacks some basic functionality but I think it’s on a good way.
- Tweetbot: My go to client at the moment. I don’t really like how it looks or feels, but it delivers an all round experience. You can do nearly anything you want and its mostly without bugs and therefore reliable
What’s the problem?
There really is no problem. I like many of the clients on the market, but I love none of them. Also I’m a designer, so I figured I could try to build something that would fit my needs and my understanding of mobile design in 2012.
Disclaimer: This is nothing that’s really meant to get built, consider it something someone threw together in Photoshop to keep his mind occupied with something else than the stuff he does at work.
The main idea
I don’t really like how the screen space is used in apps like Tweetbot. A few days ago I watched the keynote Steve Jobs held to announce the iPhone (yeah, again). He describes how a touchscreen is better than hardware buttons because we’re able to change the keys to fit every situation.
So I looked at my Twitter client of choice – Tweetbot – and asked myself: ”Which are the things I don’t like?”
I want something that shows as much content as possible. Ana pp whose main aspects (the tweets, posts, whatever) are not squeezed between two dark bars, one that feels fast and adapts to the situation at hand.
What I came up with
I really like how Path introduced the button that hovers above the content. I saw it and realized how much potential there is. We can add as many fancy gestures as we want, they’ll never feel quite right, because we don’t do anything with gestures in real life. Try pinching a piece of paper. Good luck. My point is: I like the idea that there can be more options hidden behind something classic as a button.