Twitter’s iPhone app started with humble roots. Loren Brichter created Tweetie, a beautifully designed and elegant client for posting to Twitter. After reaching version 2, Tweetie was acquired by Twitter. Loren Brichter joined the team and continued to develop the app.

Along the way, Twitter began to groom the app to fit with their vision. This resulted in the culling of a few features – Twitlonger support and Twitter location browsing. Twitter had experimented with advertising in the application, which eventually was dubbed the “dickbar.” Users were outraged at the addition of this bar, which contained trending topics and ads. The bar itself was pretty obtrusive and popped over top of tweets while you were reading – effectively disrupting the experience.


Twitter’s Quickbar, dubbed “dickbar” by users. Credit: Paul Swansen.

Twitter eventually saw the light and removed the Quickbar/Dickbar from the app, and the users were satisfied with the app once again.

Twitter released an update today, drastically changing the UI. There wasn’t much that remained the same.

Twitter’s new UI

No updated time displayed on refresh

Inconsistent search bar

Account switching buried

My complaints with the new UI are as follows:

  • Wasted space – there’s a lot of horizontal space wasted by chrome of the app, which then causes you to lose vertical space due to text-wrapping.
  • No swipe gestures – prior to 4.0, a user could swipe left or right on a given tweet to bring up controls to favorite, reply, or retweet. Those are gone in 4.0.
  • Inconsistent search – There’s no search bar on the main view, the connect view allows you to search for a given user but not tweets.
  • Account switching buried – You now have to go to “Me” and then “Switch accounts”
  • Direct messages buried under “Me”, just like account switching.
Twitter has a lot of work to do in order to make this app usable. If you’re looking for an alternative in the case Twitter doesn’t fix these issues, check out Tweetbot.