Oh-so-many colors

The app and website that I generally turn to for weather forecasts is Dark Sky. Recently they made some great changes to the app (like being able to save locations, bizarre that that took so long to implement and that you can still only save six). Alongside these other changes, they swapped out their old monochrome icons with new colorful ones from The Iconfactory. The icons are lovely, the artists who created them did a fantastic job. But when I see them all lined up on the screen, I get… something resembling anxiety.

I really freaked out a little bit when I first saw them, and I still find them very unsettling, and the whole thing made me reflect on my relationship with colorful things… I’ve always gravitated toward monochromatic photography, I spend as much of my computing time as possible in fairly monochromatic terminals, my blog looks like this, I had the same sort of disturbed feeling when Microsoft switched to color emoji (and still pine for the monochromatic ones), I miss laptops with monochromatic LCDs (and still play Game Boy DX games on the Game Boy Light), etc. Obviously this isn’t a universal issue in my life, I love a lot of colorful animation and other media1, but even then… I definitely prefer muted palettes.

I’m not entirely sure why I felt the need to write about this, though if nothing else it’s something to mull over in design. I’m sure the muted palette of this blog is received negatively by some, just as very colorful things seem to cause my mind considerable unease. I think part of it is simply that more colors make for a busier presentation – it’s more visual data providing the same amount of information. And to that tack, perhaps the constant bombardment of ‘eye-catching’ advertising ubiquitous throughout the world, providing nothing but noise competing with the signal of life has taken its toll.

Trying Twitterific

[N]ot to worry, for the full Twitter experience on your Mac, visit Twitter on web.

I could not stop laughing in disgust when I read the email in which Twitter, a company known primarily for taking user experience and ruining it, announced that they were shuttering their Mac client. The idea that Twitter in a browser is in any way a palatable experience is horrifying, and the only explanation I can offer is that the entire Twitter UX team is comprised of unpaid interns.

As part of our ongoing effort to streamline our apps and provide a more consistent and up-to-date Twitter experience across platforms, we are no longer supporting the Twitter for Mac app.

To be fair, the official Mac app was horribly neglected, and just… a bad experience. It didn’t support the latest changes to the Twitter service (like 280 chars), it was a buggy mess when you tried to do simple things like scrolling, and it crashed at least once a week on me. It was a bad app, yet still infinitely more manageable than using a full-fledged web browser for something as miniature-by-design as Twitter. Enter Twitterrific.

The idea of paying a third party so that I can access a service so rampantly overrun by TERFs and nazis that I feel the need to maintain a private account never really made sense to me. But, unlike the other great UX nightmare, Facebook, I don’t hate the company and the service with every atom of my body. I guess I’m kind of a sucker for the shithole that is Twitter. So, I have paid for Twitterrific. And, it’s pretty good.

Twitter clients were once this sort of UI/UX playground, and while I don’t entirely think that’s a good thing, some genuinely positive user interaction experiences were born of it. Twitterrific (speaking only of the MacOS edition for this post) feels largely native, but still has enough of these playground interactions as to frustrate me. The biggest one is that threads (etc.) don’t expand naturally, they pop out in little impermanent window doodads, and if you want to ensure you don’t lose your place, you have to manually tear them off and turn them into windows.

There are some other little issues, like a lack of granular control over notification sounds, but all in all the thing is better than the official client has been for years. Mostly just in that it reliably updates, it knows how to scroll, and like any good MacOS app it does not freeze every other day. I’ve been using it since Twitter made their shitty announcement (mid-February), and it’s a solid product. I guess this post has been more rant than review, but the facts are simple: if you use a Mac and you use Twitter, your experience either has gone or will go to absolute shit. Unless you use a third-party Twitter client. And Twitterrific is a pretty good one.