Review: Bad Kitty 14
The developers of Bad Kitty have been teasing us with details of their new Twitter client for a few months now, and my curiosity has been piqued the entire time. The app has finally hit the App Catalog selling for a cool $2.99, and I’ve finally been able to put it to the test. In the ever-growing sea of Twitter applications in the App Catalog, these programs have to have compelling feature sets and an excellent UI to stand out. Does Bad Kitty make the grade?
Features and Use
Bad Kitty departs from the UI conventions of the other major Twitter clients in a few significant ways. First, account and preference management is done per scene using an always-present drawer at the bottom every screen. Accounts are added in the account list, account preferences managed when actually in an account, and new tweets added while viewing tweets. Consistent, yes, but I feel that the slide-down drawer in the upper left that is utilized by most programs (including Palm’s own) that groups most of these tasks into one menu is more useful.
Lists, such as those for accounts, display as horizontal type that I found to be a great touch in most cases, giving the program an almost TweetDeck like feel.
The one place where the otherwise cool lists-as-horizontal-type UI flourish becomes a hassle is in the friends list, where items appear in large vertical font, displaying only 5 items on screen, which makes scrolling though long lists arduous.
Friend management is also basic, unlike in Tweed, where you can see a person’s followers and lists. In addition to the standard search feature found in just about every Twitter app, Bad Kitty allows you to save searches for later. It’s a good start, but the program doesn’t actually save any of the results of previous searches, so I’m not entirely convinced that this feature is any more useful than the ever present search field in both Tweed and Twee.
As far as getting around the program goes (especially while viewing tweets), the program still has some room to grow. I found navigation to be frustrating at times – tapping a tweet brings up a small drawer with more options, and the only way to dismiss it being to tap on the small upper boarder. The same goes for the ever-present drawer at the bottom; it’s a slick idea, but I prefer oversized UI elements to having to peck around at small borders.
I found the actual tweet scene to be on the claustrophobic side. Not nearly as bad as Twee, and certainly not as clean Tweed.
Those complaints aside, the tweet creation scene is nothing if not classy. Everything works here as expected, but don’t be surprised by the lack of image hosting and URL shortening options ( twitpic.com and is.gd only for now). You can also select which Twitter accounts to broadcast on when you hit the “Tweet!” button.
On the performance side of things, the program never as much as hiccupped. It always worked as quickly and as expected.
Bad Kitty has a lot going for it, and the program has long term potential. There are a lot of good ideas and some even better UI choices, but there are a few things that keep me from recommending it over Tweed:
- Navigation isn’t as effective – Tweeds drop-down menu metaphor, while less flashy, is far more efficient. Actions are easier to get to, and the UI elements are more forgiving in terms of accuracy.
- Program settings are too scattered – Every setting can be accessed with one swipe and a tap in Tweed.
- The tweet view scene feels too cramped.
- There’s no way to set time line markers.
- There's no way to configure alerts.
- Limited choice of image hosting and URL shortening services.
With that said, this is certainly an app to keep your eye on. It’s clear that the folks behind Bad Kitty are a passionate bunch, and I think it’s safe to assume that they’ll iterate quickly to introduce new features and bring it up to snuff.