Twitter's New CrApp

9 September 2015

Twitter:

Reading your Timeline should be a great experience on any iOS device, no matter the screen size or orientation. For this reason, we must consider different devices and their characteristics. So we built our own responsive system, starting with the typographic elements that make a great reading experience, and built from there.

The post sounds quite encouraging when you read it. It’s when you check out the “redesigned” app in the flesh that you just to start to reconsider the meaning of every word. Was it all just satire? I’d love to find a designer at Twitter who can call this a responsive UI with a straight face.

This is basic, basic stuff. Landscape timeline iPad apps are naturally suited to two-column static layouts. You don’t even have to do design work. Just copy the appearance of Twitter.com, an already established first-party client with a two-column layout. To rub more salt in the wound, it’s also responsive. Dragging the page width adds and removes columns. If Twitter was blind to external design themes, at least draw on your own website for inspiration on the native apps.

They are at least a year late to making their app adaptive. The blog post says they have now done so but from a user perspective you can’t really tell. Although the internal coding may be better now, they haven’t improved anything for the customer experience. The app still looks like the iPhone design linearly scaled on every device that isn’t an iPhone.

The best version of Twitter for iPad is still the first version, made by Brichter. It came out about three months into the life of the iPad and took advantage of the weird iPad screen dimensions more than most apps do today. All I can visualise when I look at this pitiful attempt is how good three-column slideable UI’s are. Brichter’s interpretation got so much so right so early on. With such a good base, they had an easier path than most to be a flagship app of the iPad. That’s not what happened. I don’t know if Twitter for iPad will ever be as good as version 1.0 again.