Archive for the ‘ThrededTweet’ Category

Retweets ThrededTweet-style

March 24, 2010

So here’s what I settled on for representing new-style retweets in ThrededTweet. Guess which is the retweet:

I didn’t make that hard, did I?  Here’s what it looks like when you look at a retweet directly:

I like this because the addition of the picture gives an instant visual clue that this is a retweet (there is no picture there, normally). Clicking on the user icon at the bottom would open up @rschu’s user information, not @dane’s, so you can look at his tweets directly, or start following him, if you wish.

This will all be in ThrededTweet 1.3.0, which I uploaded to the App Store for approval tonight. Apple has really sped up approval times, so hopefully it will be available later this week.

Advertisements

Retweet Conundrum

February 28, 2010

On Twitter, “to retweet” originally meant to repost a tweet, prefixed with “RT @<username>”. And ThrededTweet supports this type of retweeting.

But Twitter then introduced a new type of retweeting, where you can’t change the original tweet, and it appears as part of your stream, but with the original user’s name next to it.  I’m adding support for this type of retweeting in the next release.

But I want to keep support for old-style retweeting, which means I’ve run into a conundrum:  when a user of ThrededTweet wants to retweet, they tap the right-most button under the tweet in question and select “Retweet” from a list that includes a couple of other choices.  What do I add to this for “new-style” retweeting?  In my current development sandbox, the buttons are labels “Retweet (old-style)” and “Retweet to Friends”. I’m not sure that’s clear, but I’m also not sure how to improve it.

“Retweet (old-style)” vs “Retweet (RT-style)” vs “Retweet (editable)”?

“Retweet (new-style)” vs “Retweet to Friends” vs “Retweet As Is”? Alas, I can’t include the funky retweet icon.

Decisions, decision…

The UI Implications of Having a Big Finger

January 30, 2010

Among the settings that a user of my Twitter app, ThrededTweet, can adjust are the number of tweets that should be loaded at one time, and the time interval that should pass between reloads.  For the former, the allowed values are between 20 and 200, while for the latter it’s between 0 and 60 minutes.  These values are adjusted with a slider on the “Settings” page.

Currently (version 1.1.2 and earlier), the sliders behave in a purely linear manner. That is, the distance you have to slide the slider is the same to go from 5 minutes to 6 minutes, as it is to go from 55 minutes to 56 minutes. While this works well in the iPhone simulator, where user interface elements are manipulated with a mouse, on an actual iPhone I’ve discovered that it’s a different story. I’m 6’5″, with hands to match, and I’ve found it difficult to exercise the fine amount of control needed to hit a value precisely. If I want to reload every 5 minutes, sometimes I’ll end up with 4 minutes or 6 minutes.

In version 1.2.0, the sliders are still there, but after having a realization about usage, I’ve modified how they’re handled in a way that improves usability quite a bit. The realization is that, most of the time, people will be more concerned about hitting small values precisely than they will about hitting large values. Many people will want to select between a reload every minute vs. every two minutes, while few if any will be concerned about accurately selecting between 55 minutes and 56 minutes.

So as of 1.2.0, slider values are interpreted with an exponential function, rather than a linear function. This gives a lot more sensitivity for small values, at the cost of sensitivity for large values.

If we assume that a slider all the way left has value 0.0, and one all the way to the right has value 1.0, then the reload time can be defined like so:

reloadTime = 10^sliderValue * 6.666666 – 6.666666

For sliderValue=0, this gives a reload time of 0 minutes, while for sliderValue=1, this gives 60 minutes. In Objective-C, this is:

    int reloadTime = round(pow(10.0,reloadTimeSlider.value)*6.6666666-6.6666666);

Going the other way:

    reloadTimeSlider.value = log10((reloadTime+6.6666666)/6.6666666);

For the number of tweets to load, since the range is between 10^0*20 and 10^1*20 (20-200), the formula is simpler:

    int numTweetsToLoad = round(pow(10.0,feedCountSlider.value)*20.0);
    feedCountSlider.value = log10(numTweetsToLoad/20.0);

After making this change, I’ve found these sliders much easier to manipulate accurately on the actual phone.