¶ Fly

When it comes to using an app or service on multiple devices, consistency is key. This is one of the reasons I love Apple’s Mail app, as the majority of the experience is now the same on the Mac, iPad, & iPhone.

Something I use as much as — if not more than — email is Twitter. I have long shied away from Twitter’s official experience, because it is completely fractured. The iPhone app is nothing like the iPad app, neither are like the Mac app and the web is also different. It’s a whole new ball game every time you switch to a different device. Instead, I have favored Twitterrific, which offers the same Twitter experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Twitter seems to be taking a hint and has begun to roll out an attempt at a more unified experience with Fly. They have updated the iPhone and Android apps to a unified interface, and the web interface is slowly rolling out to users over the next couple weeks.

The experience is divided amongst four tabs — Home, Connect, Discover, and Me.

Home houses the timeline, where you can read tweets, view photos & videos, and follow links.

Connect takes over housing Mentions, and also pools together what Twitter is calling Interactions. Interactions shows the actions other people take related to you and your tweets, such as new followers, retweets, favorites, or list additions. Connect also integrates search for @usernames.

Discover aggregates stories, trends, and popular hashtags. It also attempts to offer stories that it thinks you’ll be interested, based on what you tweet about, where you’re located, and who you follow.

Me is the new profile section. If you’re looking for your direct messages, this is where they have been buried. This is also where you can switch accounts. A couple tips I saw regarding the Me tab on touchscreen devices:

  • Swipe up on the tab to immediately go to DMs.
  • Swipe left on the tab to immediately go to the account switcher.

I’m all for Twitter trying to get their experience on the same page. I think it is a misstep to de-emphasize DMs in favor of trends and stories (I have heard some folks say they have seen ads in the discover tab, as well).

A couple refinements I rather like so far are the feather quill in the Compose button (let’s face it, it’s cute) and the Tweet Button for websites (you can see it at the bottom of this post) has been refined and looks much better.

It will be interesting to see how the iPad and Mac apps will change. TweetDeck, a recent Twitter acquisition was also updated today with the new look and feel (and also available on the Mac App Store).

I look forward to seeing how the more unified experience pans out over the next few months. But if you ask me, I think all the innovation still resides with third-parties like Twitterrific and Tweetbot.