Why Does Twitter Hate Its Desktop Apps So Much?

  • Author: Quinton
  • Quinton O'Reilly,

As much as I love it, I've a major problem with Twitter. Its habit of bullying other app developers and preventing them from creating their own apps is a strategy that was to push its own products to the forefront. The reasoning Twitter gave for this was that it wanted a consistent user experience, but the real reason is that it can't place promoted tweets or ads on third-party apps and it was taking eyeballs away from it.

While its desktop version has remained virtually unchanged over the last few years, its apps, Tweetdeck and Twitter for Mac have received recent updates that do very little to improve them. In some cases, the changes made have been backward steps.

Backward Upgrades

Starting off with the most obvious one, Tweetdeck went for a flat look, which has become all the rage over the last few months and culminated with Apple's new iOS 7 interface unveiled last week. A new style has brought its toolbar to the side of the screen, which is a nice idea, but defeats the purpose of having columns. Not everyone has a wide screen and those who are using smaller screens will wish they had the extra space for relevant columns.

Overall. Tweetdeck looks nice, but still carries the same problems that plagued it since Twitter bought it and aspects like search have deteriorated as a result.

Twitter for Mac's latest update is even worse. Very much a case of style over substance, the app has removed the ability to follow or unfollow users, search is fundamentally broken and trying to click a link on it will have you highlighting the entire tweet then actually opening a link on it. It's amazing how some small changes have ruined what was actually a decent app.

Overall, it feels like these changes are to divert people towards the actual site and mobile app. When you think about it, the mobile app is pretty good and perhaps the only Twitter product that performs well, despite its refusal to include lists, but the fact that its future is on mobile, and the fact that it includes promoted tweets, accounts and trends would suggest that's where its priorities lie. Neither Tweetdeck nor the apps for Mac and PC have that and could be a sign that Twitter will slowly put the apps out to pasture.

If it was a case that it would upgrade its desktop site so that it would be more dynamic instead of the static experience it is now, this wouldn't be such a problem. It's just a pity that Twitter would rather burn as much as possible instead of improving the overall experience of its site.