It is great to see Twitter continuing to actively develop their official app for various Windows 10 platforms like PC, Mobile, and HoloLens.
While the mobile version continues to lag behind its iOS and Android counterparts from a feature perspective, the latest update makes what seems to be some real advancements for PC/Desktop users.
There is no doubt many options when it comes to accessing Twitter using a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app but in my opinion the official app would be the preferred choice in most circumstances.
This feature lag and lack of power user capabilities is one of the reasons third party Twitter apps like Tweetium for Windows, Tweet It! for Windows, and Tweeten are so popular with fans of the social network who are on Windows 10.
I have used many Twitter clients over the years and am always willing to give the official client on Windows 10 a shot at becoming my default portal to the network. When I became aware of this week's updates to that app I decided it was time once again to put it through its paces.
Before I begin to list my observations on this updated app, let's take a closer look at the release notes for this build from Twitter:
- Multitask by creating multiple tabs and windows.
- Emojis! On Desktop/Tablet you can now Tweet and Direct Message with a handy Windows 10 emoji library.
- Pinned Tweets can now be viewed and created. Highlight a Tweet at the top of your profile as the first Tweet people will see.
- The number of replies is now displayed on each Tweet.
- If you are a protected user you now have the option to accept follower requests.
- Direct Messages now display rich content instead of plain text links.
- You can now browse more of Twitter without an account.
Now the reliability of release notes are horrible these days but the specific features that have been highlighted as definitely being new in this release is the multitasking abilities and that is my focus in this gallery/article.
So here is my list of issues around these two new features and the official Twitter app in general:
- Wasted screen real estate. While the app looks great when it is snapped to one side of your screen, it wastes a tremendous amount of space around the timeline display with huge empty gutters on each side. You also can not collapse the left sidebar menu down to just icons This space would be a perfect use for the new tabs to have their own displays much like TweetDeck so that you can glance and see content across multiple columns.
- While the new tabs are great and each can be used to focus on a specific set of data like a search, specific user account, or anyone of the preset channels like Home, Moments, Notifications, Messages, and your Twitter profile they are not persistent. First, while browsing in any tab if you click on another source of information then that tab will shift to that content and stay there including renaming the tab at the top to reflect the content. This is fine for say the Home tab where you can click between the main channels of content but if you have a search you want to keep an eye on and then happen to click on another content area then your tab will be changed. Your selected tabs are also not persistent from session to session of running the Twitter app so if you close it you will have to restore all of your tabs manually. Note: There is currently a limit of just four tabs per Twitter window.
- Speaking of Twitter windows - one of the new features in this build is the ability to open multiple Twitter app windows - a maximum of five are currently allowed. Each one of those windows can have a maximum of four tabs which I described above. While it is handy to use two Twitter windows side by side or take four of them and snap each into a corner to divide your monitor into fourths, it becomes a management nightmare eventually and just easier to use the new tabs options despite the lack of persistence for your tabs/setup.
- For a few builds now, the official app has stated in its release notes that you could copy/paste images from the Windows 10 clipboard directly into a tweet you are composing. This is a critical feature for power users who use the Snipping Tool to grab quick screenshots for sharing but it has never worked for me. Well, I am happy to see that in this new update to the Twitter app this now works consistently for me.
- Tabs can display Twitter Lists but in order to get to that point you have to access your Twitter profile through the app, click on the Lists icon and then select the list and it will show under that tab. However, if you accidentally change the information displayed in that tab and browse away from the list you can not click the back button to return. In order to get that list displaying again you have to repeat the process of accessing it through your user profile. Many users take advantage of these great tools for narrowing the focus of their overall Twitter feed so making this a persistent option would be a great power user feature.
- There are no indications when new content arrives in a tab to help the user find the latest information available.
So while the new features go a long way to making the official Windows 10 Twitter app a possible full time client for more than just casual users, it falls short in the configuration aspect. The tabs/windows need to be persistent between sessions and selecting the content you want to display in each tab needs to also be more intuitive and subsequently persistent so that it is not lost through an accidental click.
I guess what I am saying here is that the official Twitter app interface on Windows 10 needs to be more like TweetDeck is laid out and configured.
Check out the gallery to see the new features, their layout, and some other tweaks that are now available.