Two years ago, I began working on a new Twitter client for iPhone, named Streamlines. I hinted at it about a year ago, and has been a driving force in my development of MGTwitterEngine and a ton of open source projects. I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t have time to finish and release it, as there’s still probably another 6 months of development needed to really ship it, and hostility from Twitter and from users of other Twitter clients make effort into building one unsustainable. However, I think there are UI concepts in there which are totally unique and have never been seen before, so I’d like to share them with you before this project is lost to the annals of dead projects.

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iPhone had the first two store UIs; the iTunes Store for content like music and movies, and the App Store for software. The iPad will add a third, the iBookstore, for buying eBooks. These stores all provide content for users to extend the utility of their device. But each has a pretty different user interaction model for accessing, purchasing, and consuming that content.

  • The iTunes Store is a separate app that is completely distinct from the iPod app. When you find something to buy, prompting you for your iTunes account password. It then adds the purchase to the app’s Downloads tab. Once you have purchased the content, you must then switch back to the iPod app to listen to or watch it.
  • The App Store is a separate app. When you purchase something, it prompts you for your iTunes password, and then exits to the home screen, switching to the screen where the app will live. The state of the download is reflected in the app icon. When the download is complete, you tap the icon on the home screen to use it
  • The iBookstore (the one word is the official name as used by Apple) is not a separate app, but lives within the iBooks app on the iPad. Purchasing content prompts for the iTunes password and downloads in-app, which can be directly accessed after it has finished downloading.

Each type of content follows a different workflow when going from access to purchase to use. If a goal of the iPad’s low price is to drive content sales through the three stores, as some speculate is the case, then the purchase model should be as streamlined for the different types of content. Forcing different workflows will only confuse users who can’t remember which type of content comes from where.

I finally got around to fixing my Chyrp installation, so I can resume my bloggingness. I still quite enjoy Chyrp, so I’ve upgraded it to 2.0 final and am back to using it again. I’ve made some changes that will hopefully improve the experience.

First, I’ve removed the ability for people to post comments. Very little good comes of enabling comments; rather, they attract spam and drive-by comments which are unproductive. Most people who do respond will do so via Twitter.

Second, the auto-posting to Twitter is still going to happen. However, many people were understandably annoyed when I would post a link to the blog, and the auto-tweet would post a link to the blog, needing to click another link to get to the actual content. I toyed with the idea of framing the link content, but popular opinion says that it’s a greedy and inappropriate thing to do. Instead, I made the following improvements to ensure that links cross-posted will be a little less awful:

  • text posts and project announcements will link to the blog,
  • link posts will have a direct link posted,
  • photo posts will be direct-linked where possible, but will link to the blog if there’s no direct link
  • video posts will link to the blog, because YouTube is full of idiots

Third, I’ve created this site design after a couple months of working on it, named Cream. It’s meant to be extremely minimalist and to emphasize the page content. It’s nearly complete, and will be open-sourced when it’s done.