Since I bought my Droid last November, I’ve used a bunch of different Twitter clients. I have yet to find one I’m really happy with. I know development is hard, and it seems whiny to complain publicly. My hope is that the developers will read this and incorporate some of my suggestions. Or someone else will build a new app that I will fall in love with. I’ve paid for Twitter clients before and I’ll pay for them again.
Let me start with the clients I’ve used, sort of in the order I used them, and my disappointments with each:
I was constantly running into bugs. At first it was random crashes that would lose all the information and settings I had added and changed. When I stopped using it, direct message threading was broken so that it would only show me the most recent thread of all my conversations. I want to tweet, not deal with bugs.
A simple app that I used briefly. I stopped using it because if I hadn’t checked my Twitter steam for a while (you know, like I was working or eating or sleeping), there was no easy way to jump to the top of the stream so it took forever to get to the top, especially since I had to wait several seconds for the app to update the stream every few scrolls.
The most recent version was a big update from the first. It doesn’t hold features ransom until you pay (Want bit.ly support? Buy the pro version!1), but it take at least two taps to open a link, or favorite something or whatever. Otherwise, better than the rest.
I asked on Aardvark about new Twitter clients and the developer of jibjib asked me to try it out. It includes no images, including avatars are icons suggesting what a button does. Couldn’t keep using it.
This is the newest one and the one I’m using now. Like Seesmic, it has the same too-much-tapping problem. Say I want to favorite something, which I do often for things I find funny or that have a link I want to check out later (since Pinboard saves these links for me). That take three taps: one to select the tweet and get the menu, one to select “more,” and a third to actually star it. It’s also missing an easy way to follow a conversation between users. Nor can I view anyone’s followers in the app and it doesn’t give me a way to get to Twitter.com to see that information.
So I want a better Twitter app. I want it to do these things:
- Just works. No bugs.
- Easy favorite-ing. I want to be able to tap a star right in the tweet without having to go through menus.
- Easy link following. I want to be able to follow a link without extra taps.
- Conversations. Twitter makes it hard enough to follow conversations between and among users without the app defeating the few tools Twitter gives us. Incorporating conversations can be as simple as letting me easily follow the “in reply to” link that Twitter generates for @replies or something better, like a built-in Bettween.
- A “jump to top” button. I need to be able to skip to now in my timeline.
- Native/new-style retweeting that confirms before posting. I hate when jerks mangle my perfectly crafted 140-character masterpieces so they can slap “RT @bergus” in front, so I use native retweets on the rare occasions I retweet. I also hate it when I accidentally retweet something and there is no easy way to undo it.
- Link shortening. Does it suck that we have to shorten links in Twitter? Yup. But I want at least bit.ly support that I can tie to my bit.ly account. Even better would be something I can tie to an install of yoURLs.
- Access to profiles and follower, following and user lists. I like to look at profiles. I like to look at lists. I use my own lists to make my Twitter stream manageable. My lists need to be viewable in the app. I’d prefer profiles and other lists be in-app, too, but I’m flexible. I should be able to follow and unfollow easily, too.
- Notifications that take me to the new mentions/direct messages. Never occurred to me that a notification of a new mention wouldn’t take me to the new mention or direct message, but that isn’t the case with Touiteur for some reason.
- Saved searches. Because I search for the same things over and over.
- Sync with Twitter. Everything I do in the app should be synced with Twitter: lists, searches, etc.
- Twitter login via OAuth. So I don’t have to type my username and password into your sleazy app. Touiteur does this. Nothing else does, as far as I can tell.
- Drafts. I don’t work on Twitter jokes enough to need something as heavy duty as the iPhone’s Birdhouse app, but I would like to save a tweet while I double check a fact, URL or something else.
- Doesn’t make me mess with setting only used for multiple accounts. I use one Twitter account. Don’t make me select my Twitter account from a list that contains … my one Twitter account.
That’s it. I don’t need widgets. I don’t need multi-account support. I don’t need geolocation (but it you’re going to include anything like that, please include geolocation as metadata instead of as a link2). I don’t need plug-ins.
So, who’s going to build this?
1 This is actually the case with Touiteur. And while I understand the developer’s need to get paid, withholding basic features in the free version isn’t the way to do it. ↩
2 Seesmic will figure out your location and this stick in into a tweet, either as an address or a link to a map, but not as metadata that doesn’t suck up those precious characters. ↩