Twitpic: Worth the Wait

User generated content defined the whole Web 2.0 era. From written word to videotaped recordings, common folks took control of everything and shared it publicly for free. Sharing videos and pictures has exploded exponentially, aided by easy to use mobile apps and social networks. Twitpic is one such web app and it is synonymous with image sharing on Twitter. Millions of folks use it to share their photos everyday.

Consider it the defacto Twitter web app for uploading images and videos along with tweets. Curiously, such a successful, social multimedia sharing platform didn’t bother to come up with a mobile app. Up until now. Recently, this free image sharing network launched its iOS app and after the break, let’s take it for a spin.

User Interface

Launch Screen and Popular Stream

Launch Screen and Popular Stream

Twitpic sports a bright and simple user interface. There are about four controls on the screen and except for one, nothing works without a Twitpic account. That’s alright, but how about offering better notice to users? The screen didn’t change a bit when pressing the various buttons and more than once I started to doubt if the app or mobile had become unresponsive.

The Popular Stream

It’s not just the regular Twitter users who upload their images to Twitpic, but a major share of celebrities use the app profusely. The star power is evident from the get go and this feature should ensure a minimum guarantee for Twitpic’s success in the crowded iOS image sharing domain.

Don’t know why, but the app doesn’t look like it’s caching and all the images are reloaded every time you access this section. It might end up eating a lot of bandwidth, so keep a close watch on data traffic cap when using the app.

Accessing Images

The tweet and the reactions to the image are highlighted at the bottom of the screen. It’s good that the app doesn’t load all comments in one go, that keeps the scrolling to a minimum. However, to check out the comments from other users, you will need to sign up or login.

Accessing Images and Empty Screen after Sign Up

Accessing Images and Empty Screen after Sign Up

One cool feature of Twitpic is that it allows you to see images one after another by employing vertical swipes. And I gotta admit the experience was smooth and fun!

Signing Up

Signing up wasn’t as much of a hassle as I imagined. The app automatically integrates with the Twitter account iOS has on file and logs in instantly. However, after logging in, the app just displays a blank white screen. Yes, I have never used Twitpic before and it’s understandable that the app does what it does.

Adding Effects and Photo Editor

Adding Effects and Photo Editor

But it’s ridiculous to not even display a message like “Start sharing images now” or something similar to that effect. That way, users won’t be confused as to why it isn’t doing anything. The bottom line is that the app needs to work on notifying users properly, across the board.

Editing Images and Adding Effects

Despite dropping the ball on useful notifications, Twitpic makes it up with some useful image editing tools. The entire toolkit is powered by Aviary and there are exclusive tools to crop, resize, enhance and change the orientations of an image. The Effects tool offers quick color balance and brightness management.

Now that I have dodged the topic for as long as I could, it’s time to talk about filters. There are ten filters in total under the Effects section. Some, such as Singe, are interesting, while others like IndiGlow, not so much. Personally, I’m happy that Twitpic offers a bit more room to make the images better, instead of just offering some funny filters.

Timeline View

As the name implies, all the images you have shared in Twitpic are showcased chronologically in the Timeline view. It appears just like the Popular section and is so cool to look at. You can check and reply to comments in a couple of clicks.

Applying Enhancements and Composing Tweets

Applying Enhancements and Composing Tweets

On the other hand, the compose and reply fields are way too tiny and you will have to squint a lot to check for errors in spelling.

Final Thoughts

The Twitpic web app is extremely popular with a massive fan following. Since all the images uploaded to the service are in the public domain, I couldn’t understand why it took them so long to launch an iOS app. By the time they finally decided to launch,  couple of very lucrative acquisitions have taken the fizz out of image sharing apps. However, taking that out of the equation, the app is feature rich and dependable.

I admired the design and flow of the app to a great extent. From being a Twitter client to image sharing and editing, the app juggles a lot of roles. Yet, Twitpic doesn’t look or feel bloated. Every role is neatly tucked into a layer of its own, making the app extremely intuitive and simple to use. There are some quirks like in the case of notifications, but since this is the first release of the app let’s hope things will improve over time. Again, things would have been a lot more interesting if Twitpic for iOS was here a year ago!


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