By John Gruber
Tweetbot, Tapbots’s long-awaited iPhone Twitter client just hit the App Store. Cost: $1.99. Go buy it, trust me. I’ve been using beta versions for the past few weeks and it quickly became my favorite Twitter client. It looks good, feels good, and has some clever interaction design.
Two favorite aspects. First, when you tap a tweet in your timeline, it gets selected and a bar of buttons to act on the tweet appears beneath it. Most Twitter clients, when you tap a tweet, present that tweet in a standalone view, sliding over to the right. With Tweetbot’s inline action bar, you can do something like replying or marking as a favorite and then immediately go back to scrolling the list of tweets — no need to tap a “Back” button.
Second — and this is the feature that’s proven the most addictive for me — is that you can slide left-to-right on any tweet to get a conversation thread of tweets. I.e., if a tweet is a reply to some other tweet, sliding left-to-right on it shows you a thread of all tweets in that reply chain. All popular Twitter clients have this sort of “conversation view” feature, but only Tweetbot lets you access it with a single gesture in your timeline. You know how after you got used to Tweetie’s “pull to refresh” feature, you started pulling to refresh in other iPhone apps, even though they didn’t support it? That’s what Tweetbot’s swipe-right-for-conversation feature is like — I find myself doing it in all Twitter apps now, without thinking. Excellent gesture-based interaction design.1
I simply feel more efficient in Tweetbot than in any other Twitter client, period — iPhone, iPad, Mac, or web. It’s that good. I don’t like everything about its design — there’s a heavy-handedness to the whole Tapbots style that’s a little much for my tastes, but I greatly appreciate the exquisite attention to detail that went into every single pixel of this app. E.g., they even created their own custom alert windows. Try entering the wrong password for a Twitter account and watch the animation. That’s joyful UI design.
Swipe right-to-left and instead of a “Conversation” reply-chain view for the swiped-upon tweet, you get a “Related” tweets list. I don’t use this as often but it’s good, too. ↩