Twitterific 2.1 Review

Wednesday Twitterific for iPhone launched the latest batch of updates. After a day of using the app, I offer my initial thoughts. Overall the app has some positive and much needed features but I question the simplicity of the app as more tools are “intuitively” added. A full list of features can be found here.

Before discussing the features I want to direct you to Fred Beecher’s Johnny Holland article on the usability of the iPhone. If you haven’t already read it, the article discusses the pitfalls of a Glass Door product among other usability issues of the iPhone.

And now to the bulk of the conversation – new feature. I am only going to focus on the six features I interacted with in my first few encounters with the application after updating.

Directory Button

nav
This was the most noticeable addition upon loading the application. Selecting the button leads to a Recent, Friends, Followers and Search screen. Here I can review my network and search individuals as well.

Pros

This is one of those no-duh features to me. I have always wanted access to my followers through my iPhone but never had an easy way to accomplish that task. This puts managing my network at my fingertips. The ability to view a friends network too is similarly beneficial and desirable.

Cons

The addition of another button to the bottom navigation ads clutter. Without tooltips or labels it was a crapshot as to where the icon would take me. Selecting the folder the first time I actually counted down 3…2…1…sigh as I discovered the benefits of the new feature. This initial fear aside, this is a much appreciated feature.

Copy Tweet

CopyTweet
The purpose of this feature alludes me. Press and hold over a tweet and be asked to ‘Copy Text’ ‘Copy Name’ ‘Copy URL’ or ‘Copy Avatar’. I believe copy is the basic part of a retweet and copying anything else, especially in a mobile environment is completely unnecessary. No prose or cons, I simply do not understand the value of this feature.

Open Link in Safari, Link Preview

This is a nice shortcut and feature. The ability to copy links or open them directly in the device’s native Safari removes the unnecessary step of accessing a link and then opening in Safari. The link preview is also a nice way to prevent being led to irritable marketing sites with no content.

Load More…

Unless I am mistaken, this feature was in the first version of Twitterific I had on my iPhone. It went away in a later release but I am happy to say it is back. A very useful feature there was no excuse for this not to be present prior to this launch.

Full Avatar in Profile

FullAvatar
One word: Why?
This allows me to see an avatar image larger than I can through twitter.com. The decision to implement this falls under one of two columns. 1A, we can do it so why not – in which case it should not have been executed. OR 2B, have plans to expands this areas functionality but lets test the waters – in which case wait until the feature has value to launch it.

Threading

threading
This is a feature I wish twitter.com has. Many search tools and corporate twitter tools show the threading involved in a tweet. Twitter is a communication and chat platform so seeing the beginning of a thought is essential.

Breakdown

The one breakdown of this feature is it only threads backwards. Select a tweet at the beginning of a thread and it will return no @replies. Select one later in the conversation and you will see the thread. The feature also has trouble showing threads involving multiple participants. I understand the computational logic associated with this and the difficulty in developing it but that doesn’t diminish my emotional expectations or desire for the feature.

Gaps

Despite adding an overwhelming amount of features there is one critical element not available – Landscape mode. The first step to this was when iPhone’s 3.0 firmware enabled the feature in most native applications. While Twitterific has taken a step in this direction with the embedded Safari, I still want to be able to type a Tweet in landscape mode. Other gaps that exist are around threading as I already mentioned. I also want to see better integration with the web platform but beggars can’t be choosers and I do use the free version after all.

Conclusion

This is by not means a full or comprehensive review of the new Twitterific application. Instead this is my gut reaction to the features I engaged in most. The main question I pose is when does feature creep set in and when does the application lose functionality as a result of confusing or overly secret features?

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