As much as I use and enjoy Twitter on my mobile devices, the constantly scrolling list of tweets is getting old. Maybe that’s why Different Tack, a Twitter app for Symbian, jumped out at me this morning. Instead of the standard list approach, Different Tack offers a multi-colored scroll wheel to quickly navigate through tweets. The free software is available now in the Ovi Store, but Fluid Interaction, the company that developed it, says versions are in the works for Google Android and Apple iOS devices.
The navigation wheel is used to scroll through tweets, which appear prominently on the top half of the display. You only see one tweet at a time, which brings focus. And the whole point of the wheel interface is to keep your eyes focused on the content. However, the wheel also provides information at a glance too: who’s tweeting, how many retweets (the bluer the tweet, the more popular it is), and if a tweet contains a link. Given that Different Tack is a highly visual experience, this short video demo best illustrates the approach, which uses the patented *Tack user interface:
Different Tack isn’t just a whimsical approach to mobile tweeting, though. The company says there are decades of science behind the user interface:
*Tack makes large quantities of data manageable and interactive, even within strict space constraints. The *Tack creates an infographic presentation of the data and allows direct interaction, making information browsing more engaging, efficient, and fun.
With RSVP (Rapid Series Visual Presentation), information is displayed in a fixed focal position to minimize the need for eye movements. It can be used for instance to increase individual reading speed. Different Tack uses it for helping users quickly index through tweets for keywords and thus facilitates browsing through large amounts of information quickly.
Sadly, Nokia’s Ovi Store isn’t cooperating with a Symbian review handset I have in-house, so I can’t experience Different Tack for myself just yet, although I’m not giving up. In the meantime, I did track down a detailed review of the software over at AndroSym and I like what I see, although as with any first software iteration, there’s room for improvement. Does this look too radical for you or do you think the Fluid Interaction folks are onto something here with Different Tack?