Twitter Is Still Hard – Thoughts On Cross Application Usability

A lot of work is still involved with using Twitter.

Example.

I was just reading a story on the Ft. Hood shootings in the CNN application on my iPod and saw a line in the middle of the story that said “Twitter list: Keep up with who we’re following“. Now, this is a strike against the CNN app, as the text didn’t link to anything. But even if it had, what would it link to? More than likely the @cnnbrk/fort-hood Twitter list, which was created specifically to follow that story.

How would I use this?

If it were linked in the story, it would bring up a Safari window showing the list on Twitter.com.

Safari isn’t my default Twitter reader on the iPod though, Tweetie is.

This isn’t iPod specific either, this is web application specific. If I were looking at the CNN story in Chrome or Firefox, there is currently no way for me to tell the browser that clicking on a Twitter.com link should bring me to Brizzly to read it.

It would be very cool if there was a way for users to specify this type of cross-connection between apps.

I’m betting this is something that could be solved relatively easy in the PC browser world through extensions, but at this point can’t see it even be approached in the strict Apple app development world. At some point, we will realize the need to start treating web applications more like desktop applications in that users will want to leave one to visit another at times as part of their natural application flow.