☰ The right client for Twitter, App.net, Tent.io – A draft

It’s easy to find a wide variety of clients in any App Store out there. Some are mighty like Tweetbot, some are kind of unknown, like Weet. Then there is the official app by Twitter and a lot more – and I don’t love any of them.

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.

Continue reading “☰ The right client for Twitter, App.net, Tent.io – A draft”

☰ Free iPhone 5 mock ups

Paul Flavius Nechita:

It gives me great pleasure to finally present you with my latest freebie. You can check out the preview for more details of what’s inside the pack and download it from here.

The pack is under a royalty free license in both personal and commercial use.

Whoa, that’s nice! If you ever worked on something that’s meant to feature an iPhone app, you discovered a great need of nice and clean hardware shots on a transparent background. Apple doesn’t offer anything and these are awesome.

☰ Updated to CS6 and bugged out by the new vector snapping?

Photoshop CS6 introduced a new “snap to pixel grid”  behavior for vector tools. It’s awesome and comes in quite handy if you try to work like Dustin Curtis suggests. But what if one of your vector objects is not as pixel fitted as you want it to be?

In previous versions of Photoshop all you had to do was to select the right anchor points and use the arrow keys and different levels of zoom to move them in the right direction until they where aligned with the pixel grid.

The new behavior makes sure that this is not so easy anymore. Instead of eliminating half pixels, it will move the anchor points by one pixel, regardless of your actual level of zoom, so you’ve got the same mess, but one pixel in another direction. I’ve solved that problem by disabling the right checkbox everytime I needed it, but that felt just not right.

Mr. Idiot here built something that’s quite amazing. These two Photoshop actions allow to toggle above mentioned setting by hitting F6 and Shift+F6. It’s different compared to CS5, but you’ll get used to it. Thanks, Idiot!

☰ Layer Cake

Ich hörte von Layer Cake am Tag, an dem es rauskam, allerdings ging es als “Oh, nett.” an mir vorbei. Vorhin musste ich ein paar Icons für die QUOTE.fm iPad App exportieren und es fiel mir wieder ein.

Ich sprach kurz mit Chris über das Programm, das mit 16€ nicht unbedingt spottbillig ist. Er erklärte mir die grobe Funktionalität, gab seine Meinung ab und ich war angefixt. Gekauft, getestet, für gut befunden.

Es funktioniert so: Angenommen man hat fünf Icons in einer .psd, die exportiert werden müssen. Jedes dieser Icons hat einen aktiven und einen inaktiven Zustand, am Ende ergibt das also 10 Icons. Ohne Layer Cake müsste man jedes einzeln exportieren, was ein Mal vielleicht ganz witzig ist, aber bei Änderungen zum kotzen wird. Layer Cake Löst dieses Problem und ein anderes direkt mit. Man benennt Ebenen und Ordner einfach so, wie man sie gerne exportiert hätte. menubar_icon_notifications_inactive@2x.png zum Beispiel. Dann speichert man die .psd, schmeißt sie in Layer Cake, das Ding liefert eine niedliche kleine Animation und spuckt dann alle Grafiken aus, die vorher Ebenen, oder Ordner waren und entsprechend benannt wurden. Positiver Nebeneffekt: Die .psds sind auch noch schön ordentlich benannt.

Als ich das verstanden hatte, war ich begeistert. Das Geld ist dafür gut investiert. Einfach die .psd speichern, auf Layer Cake ziehen und fertig. Aber da hört der ganze Kram noch gar nicht auf. Layer Cake erlaubt es, den Export zu speichern. Das bedeutet, dass ich jetzt lediglich die .psd speichern muss und Layer Cake automatisch die Icons noch mal exportiert. Ergebnis: Man arbeitet ganz normal, passt dabei aber gleichzeitig die Icons an.

Arbeitszeitersparnis: 4000%. Lohnt sich.

☰ Layouts, die es nicht geworden sind, Teil 1:

Irgendwie bastel ich immer vor mich hin, am Ende kommt etwas dabei raus, von dem ich schon am Anfang wusste, dass es nicht genutzt werden wird, aber trotzdem ziehe ich es durch, weil es Spaß macht Zeug zu basteln. Und an sich sieht es ja nett aus, aber es passt nicht wirklich zu QUOTE.fm

☰ Photoshop CS6 Sneak Peek #1

Ich glaube, dass mir das dunklere Interface (das man, wie man sieht, offenbar umstellen kann, um wieder das gewohnte, graue zu benutzen) gut gefallen wird. Schon alleine aus dem Grund, dass es angenehm ist, endlich mal ein wenig Abwechslung zu haben. Seit Jahren dieses Grau.