Why Do the Main Twitter Clients focus on Features and not on Readability?

In the last few days a lot is written about the launch of Seesmic Desktop, the immediate release of an update of TweetDeck and the hidden, Mac only, gem Nambu. You can find some of the reviews here:
All these reviews focus on the features, but is that really that important. It might be obvious that the winner today is the loser tomorrow. The developments go so fast that features is just an arms race. I've been a good fan of TweetDeck, it satisfied my needs but I was curious to the other options. Nambu because it's a native Mac client and less memory hungry and Seesmic because it's more efficient with using screen real estate.
What did I learn... TweetDeck for me is still the winner! Before I explain why lets first look at the single most important feature of the applications. It's the MESSAGE! Tweets are a max of 140 characters, but with a lot of information. This information needs to be very efficient to read. If you compare the 3 different clients you see that the presentation of the message is very different.

Nambu
I'm constantly distracted by the fairly large avatar, the tweeter name in bold and the bright blue links. It's just hard to read the message, especially if you quickly want to scan a large list.

Seesmic
The font of the message is fairly small, see also my early post about the trend of larger font sizes. The message is just not very easy on the eye... may be again the blue links

TweetDeck
I use the default color scheme. The message text is white, no blue but just underlined links. The name is light gray, slightly smaller, because also less important. All message are the same size and they are just very easy on the eye.

So the reason why TweetDeck still rocks, just because it's a lot easier to the eye. It's just less tiring to read heaps of messages. Of course these are just my observations, but it would be interesting if someone could test this with advanced eyeball tracking facilities.

2 comments

I agree with your sentiments. This issue seems to exist in a lot of websites and software applications.

Having a readable site, with obvious navigation and a good use of white-space is paramount. If a user finds it laborious to use a website, they will visit the site a lot less often than they would like to, especially if it's inheritely a good service.

Tweeter clients can be very helpful without requiring you to use the web interface. The list is long but useful.

http://mwolk.com/blog/list-of-desktop-clients-for-twitter/

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