Tweet7 Might Take iOS 7’s Design Principles Too Far

iOS 7 changed the way we interact with our iPhones overnight. It made a lot of apps extremely irrelevant — also overnight. It means that a lot of developers are releasing separate new versions of their original apps, like Clear and, in the case of Twitter, Tweetbot 3.

The move to iOS 7 gives some of us new changes to reevaluate the apps we use every day, though. I’m on Twitter all the time and I’m always looking out for apps that defy convention and make me think differently about the service. If an app makes me want to use Twitter, it’s worth buying. Recently, I thought I’d try out a minimalist iOS 7 exclusive Twitter app called (what else?) Tweet7. Read on to find out if the app is for you.

Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter.

Minimalist Design

Tweet7 is definitely firmly grounded in the design principles of iOS 7. Translucency and background blurs are everywhere. There’s lots of swiping from the edges of the screen. In some ways, the app’s focus on minimalism is actually heavy-handed and gets in the way of your content.

This is the Tweet7 Timeline.

This is the Tweet7 Timeline.

For example, your Timeline is the first thing you’ll see when you open the app. But to see your Mentions, Messages, and Profile, you’ll have to swipe from tabs on the right side of the screen. The top tab is Mentions, the middle Messages, and third is your Profile. These tabs are not labelled. The app’s settings and Lists (yes, you can read your Lists, but you can’t modify them) are attached to your Profile tab.

Beneath each new tab you open is the old tab, blurred beneath it. It's very cool, but also so bizarre.

Beneath each new tab you open is the old tab, blurred beneath it. It’s very cool, but also so bizarre.

Each time you navigate to a new tab, another layer of blur appears beneath it. It’s bizarre. If you’re wondering, thinly-drawn typography (the app uses Dynamic Text settings by default, so I’m assuming this is Helvetica Neue Light) is very difficult to read when it’s on top of a blurred white background. It often looks like somebody tried to write on top of a page covered with spilled ink.

Sometimes, as is the case with this Twitter reply to a friend's photo, Tweet7 can take the iOS 7 design influence way too far for my liking.

Sometimes, as is the case with this Twitter reply to a friend’s photo, Tweet7 can take the iOS 7 design influence way too far for my liking.

That being said, reading the Timeline is a fine experience that still tops Twitter’s first-party app. It’s just a little livelier, and a little more interesting. The only visible “button” is the Compose button on the bottom of the screen. That being said, it’s not omnipresent. Strangely, even though I’d love to see a Compose button visible most of the time, it’s only available from your Timeline.

The bottom line is that Tweet7 has a real personality, but it’s not always an enjoyable experience. There’s no Twitter app like this. Sometimes, I think that could be for a reason.

Minimalist Feature Set

Of course, the app needs a minimalist feature set to match the minimalist design choices the developer made. Don’t expect this Twitter app to outdo Tweetbot’s functionality any time soon — it’s short on features. You can’t edit lists. Notifications aren’t advertised, but they’re very late to arrive (if they arrive at all). Strangely, they’d sometimes arrive nearly as quickly as Tweetbot’s, but they’d just as often arrive the next day. There’s zero consistency, so you’d be better to simply turn them off.

Even profiles are very feature-free. I can't add or remove Jesse from any lists here, you'll note, or mute him. (Not that I would. Jesse is awesome.)

Even profiles are very feature-free. I can’t add or remove Jesse from any lists here, you’ll note, or mute him. (Not that I would. Jesse is awesome.)

There’s also no way to browse your Favourites or your Retweets like you can with Tweetbot, and very little customization. The app doesn’t reveal any large header photos that you’ve saved with Twitter. It doesn’t support any cloud saving options like Droplr or CloudApp, and viewing images is a pain because there’s no real inline browser.

Seaching is a real inconvenience.

Seaching is a real inconvenience.

The Search field is a pain to get into. It senselessly lives at the top of your Timeline, so if you’re behind on tweets but still wan’t to search for somebody, you won’t be able to. As well, there’s no way to see what’s trending on Twitter. And finally, there’s no support for multiple accounts — although the developer says that’s coming soon.

In other words, Tweet7 supports the basics. It’s easy to read through your Timeline and replying to people is a snap, but there are other apps that are similarly priced and have far more functionality.

The Real Problem

All of that underlies a couple more pressing issues, though. The first is the lack of sync options. If your iPhone is the only place you use Twitter, then Tweet7 will do you just fine. But if you use Twitter on your PC or your iPad, you might be interested in a service like TweetMarker, which would sync your Twitter Timeline across multiple devices. Sadly, Tweet7 doesn’t integrate with that at all.

The app is most readable if you're using it to send messages.

The app is most readable if you’re using it to send messages.

In fact, Tweet7 doesn’t seem to remember where you last left off in general. If the app ever completely quits, you’ll lose your place in your Timeline completely and be taken straight to the newest tweet. For those of us with OCD, this could pause a problem. Other people are still likely to find it a mild inconvenience.

These two problems, in tandem, reveal the real problem with Tweet7: the app doesn’t truly do anything better than its competitors. It’s pretty, but sometimes to the point of valuing form over function. It’s minimalist, but also slightly confusing. Its feature-less, to the point where it becomes a deterrence rather than a selling point for those of us interested in an absence of clutter.

Who’s This For?

I hate asking myself who an app is for sometimes, because it can be hard to find an answer. If the app was free with in-app purchases to unlock a couple power features (cross-platform syncing or native notifications, for example), then I think it would be worth trying for those who are interested. But as it is, it’s a risky gamble.

I’m a little hard on the design of the app. I feel it takes iOS 7 a little too far. I know others will like it, but until you see the app in motion, it’s hard to know if Tweet7 is for you. And $3 is a difficult buying proposition for the unsure. I wish I could recommend the app, and I hope to see some improvements, but for now, chalk Tweet7 up as a failed experiment.


Summary

Tweet7 is an app with a minimalist design and feature set that isn't necessarily going to be please anybody. If you're looking for a really opinionated Twitter client, look no further, but tread carefully.

4