Twitterrific 2: I’ll really miss the old bird
I wrote this as a comment on this blog post about changes to the new version of Twitterrific. I figured I’d post it here since it is long and captures something I feel is important about designing and building great software (or great anything). I also understand and respect their approach, so it gets at both sides of the equation.
I loved Twitterrific 2 on my iPhone so much. Even though it lacked some of the recently added features that other clients have, I persisted in using it right up until it was impossible to do so (OAuth changeover). I have to say, I’m immensely disappointed in v3 on the iPhone. I absolutely respect the approach on this, and I understand the philosophy. If they lose some long-time users, so be it.
I think the app is dramatically un-streamlined. It may be more obvious, and I can see why that’s a good thing. I’m a web/UI designer, so I get it. I really do. But Twitterrific was like an extension of my brain in a way I don’t think the new version can be. It comes down to too many taps and screens. Going back and forth to see the timeline, filter by @replies or direct messages, etc. It’s too much, and all the taps and little delays add up to a frustrating experience that feels laborious. It’s not empirically a lot more time or effort, but it really feels like it.
A few examples of things I loved that are gone:
- Tap on tweet to select it: I just want to select, I don’t want to go to a new screen dedicated to that tweet. I’ve never liked this behavior in any client. It takes the tweet out of context and has always seemed unnecessary. I want to *select* and then *act*, not select/slide/view options/choose option/act. It’s subtle, but it’s huge.
- Filter from the menu bar: This one is basic and a lot of clients use the approach. It makes sense to me. A separate view for the list of options (timeline, replies, DM’s, etc.) is perfect for the iPad when one can see both the list and the tweets at the same time. It’s not good on the iPhone where one has to constantly go back and forth. There are three areas I want to look at very often and very easily (full timeline, replies, DM’s), and now it’s multiple taps that change screens to go between them.Tweet/reply button: This was always one of my absolutely favorite features. The tweet button converts to a reply button when a tweet is selected, and the tabs within the compose view to change between modes were brilliant. It always felt seamless and like there was a great flow. Like things folded elegantly into other things. Power without undue complexity. That is lost.
- Double-tap for conversations: Again, a simple, elegant solution to allow the user to access a lot of information with little effort and little mental gear-shifting.
- Wonderful UI touches: Just delightful little details that always made me feel like I was using an app made by *someone*. It had character.
These are just some of the reasons I loved Twitterrific. And not only were these things well-done, many features in the app were unique to Twitterrific. I always thought it had a strong sense of style and an opinion, rather than being sort of cookie-cutter, like so many of other Twitter clients.
So, I’m looking for another client now, that will at least do some of these things in a similar fashion. I don’t hold out much hope that i’ll get closer than 75%, and there’s nothing else with the style and flair of Twitterrific, as far as I know. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I’m really going to miss the old bird.