Twitter calls itself a a microbloogging service. What the heck is a microblog? Basically, it is a mix of blogging, text messaging and emailing. The New York Times’ David Pogue offere his take on Twitter in Twitter? It’s What You Make It. Pogue is right. Twitter is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. I will delve no further into Twitterology.
Twitter accessibility has attracted much attention. There are a multitude of ways to access Twitter from your desktop. The most obvious is through the Twitter web site, but there are dozens of widget, apps and plug ins that do the job, each with it own accessibility issue. A popular new access point is through Accessible Twitter, which has a clean, screen-reader-friendly interface.
How accessible is Twitter on the iPhone? Besides receiving tweets as expensive text messages, there are multiple iPhone apps that access your Twitter stream as well as Twitter’s mobile web site. Here, I will compare the accessibility of two of the more popular iPhone apps, Twitteriffic and TwitterFon, with that of the mobile web site.
TwitterFon, as you can see in the first image, has a fairly standard visual look with black font on a white background. The font size and color scheme are not customizable. The app does not offer landscape mode nor does it take advantage of the iPhone’s multitouch zoom feature. Despite its popularity and good feature set, it fails my accessibility test miserably.
[Updated] I had high hopes for Twitteriffic when I first used it. Twitteriffic uses an alternative color schemes but I rather like. The light text on a black background is much easier to read than the standard color scheme. Until I received a recent email from the developers, I thought that you could not zoom. But I was wrong. [My excuse is that I never read the instructions because the font is to small.] As the developers just alerted me, you can double tap any tweet to view with a larger font. From there, you can flick up or down to scroll through the list of tweets.
Still, there is no multitouch zoom or landscape mode. Despite my initial review, Twitteriffic just makes the grade. There is plenty of room for improvement. I would love to see scalable fonts and landscape mode in future iterations.
Generally, I don’t like mobile websites. Most of them have the iPhone’s miltitouch zoom feature disabled. Surprisingly, Twitter’s mobile website allows zoom. The browser, by default, enabled landscape mode. The mobile website lacks adjustable font in a dark-on-light color scheme that is so much more readable. In the end, however, landscape mode and the ability to zoom make the mobile website a very accessible way to Twitter on the iPhone.
So, which is the best way to access Twitter? For me, it is a tie. I like the font size that the mobile web site offers, but I love the color scheme used by Twitteriffic. Twitterriffic has the advantage of offering a richer Twitter experience. With a scalable font or, at least a slightly larger on, Twitteriffic will be the way to go.
I have not tested all of the Twitter apps for the iPhone. Do you have one that you like better than these? Please let me know.
Twitteriffic is available on the iPhone or through the iTunes App Store. Likewise, TwitterFon is available on the iPhone or through the iTunes App Store. The Twitter mobile site can be found simplyt by accessing twitter.com on the iPhone web browser. Read more iPhone accessibility reviews here.
P.S. You can find me on Twitter as well.If you find this post useful or interesting, please consider buying me a cup of coffee.