If you have been following Camila and I on this blog, you would know that we also ocassionally review apps for geeks, especially the ones that we use on a daily basis. While Camila has not joined App.net yet, I was one of the early adopters of the service. In fact, throughout the past few months, I have reviewed several App.net clients for iOS that I found interesting.
Today, I will share about a new App.net client for the iPhone that was built from scratch for the service. It has all the expected features such as the ability to access your timeline, mentions, profile and the global stream. You can also star a post, perform a native repost or a quoted repost, search for a user based on their bio and receive push notifications. Entitled Riposte, the app also has a set of features that is expected from modern social networking apps, such as full screen mode, unified timeline, Instapaper/Readability/Pocket integration, support for multiple accounts, small-sized font settings and cross posting ability to other social networks.
Yet, Riposte is not like other App.net clients. It has a few unique design approaches, which I believe are worth considering. One such example is the decision to use left-drawer navigation similar to Path and Facebook for iOS app instead of the common tab-based navigation. In fact, this design decision proves to be very effective when it comes to supporting the full screen mode.
To save you some time, I will only discuss the features that I find unique and inspiring. After using the app for a few hours, here are six of them.
I love apps that support full screen mode, but I love apps that have a dark mode even more. When I learned that Riposte has support for both, I was really excited to try the experience. Immediately after logging in for the first time, Riposte would expand the left drawer navigation showing Settings as the first menu item. I immediately turned on both full screen mode and dark mode. I love it. For the sake of this review, I did try the non full screen, non dark mode but immediately changed it back afterwards.
If you have 1Password for iOS installed, you would see a button that would link you to access 1Password each time you need to login into a service. For example, when you start Riposte for the first time, it would ask you to specify your App.net credentials. Tapping the "Launch 1Password" button would redirect you to 1Password app. After entering your master password, 1Password will automatically redirect you to a list of entries that match "app.net" as the search keyword.
The same thing applies when I tried to link my Instapaper account to Riposte. A "Launch 1Password" button appeared and 1Password automatically redirected me to a list of entries that matched "instapaper" as soon as I entered in the master password. I really like this approach, and I wish more apps would adopt similar integration behavior.
Once in a while, I see the need to cross post to App.net and Twitter. Unlike most App.net clients, Riposte supports this via its integration with Buffer. Buffer is a great web service that allows you to cross post to any number of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. It also allows you to schedule your posts.
Because I already have an active Buffer account that is connected to my Twitter account, my App.net account and my Facebook account, I can cross post to all three networks from within Riposte. With the ability to add this post into your Buffer queue and have it adhere your publishing schedules, I believe this approach is superior to the ones that other App.net clients adopted.
I'm not a big fan of the Connect tab on the Twitter app for iOS, but I have to say that it's interesting to see how Riposte has successfully implemented App.net Interaction API in a way that is similar to Twitter's. With this view, you can browse to see each interactive event that involves you and your posts. App.net keeps track of these interaction whenever someone replies to your post, reposts your post, stars your post or follows you. Riposte nicely organizes this in a timeline view, grouping similar events that occur exclusively (not intermingled with events of other types) in a specific time period. If you love Twitter's Connect tab, you would love Riposte's Interaction view.
One of the things that I consider a bit awkward is the way App.net views a conversation. Unlike Twitter, App.net seems to view a conversation as a collection of posts that belong to the same thread, including posts by users who are not parts of the initial conversation. Riposte calls these posts as Hop-Ons.
Sometimes, a conversation may include a lot of Hop-Ons that it becomes difficult to keep track and understand. If you're a long-time App.net user, I'm sure you've seen this happening quite frequently. Fortunately, Riposte offers a nice feature where you can choose to hide these Hop-On posts if the number of total posts in that conversation has crossed a certain threshold, i.e. 10 posts. By activating this, you would not see posts from users who are not explicitly mentioned by the main participants in the originating post.
If you want to see all the Hop-Ons for a particular post, you can always tap on the Settings icon that are available on the Detail view of each post and select the View Hop-Ons option.
Attention to Details
One final thing that I really appreciate from Riposte developers is the attention to details, like the left-drawer navigational design, selection of gestures in full screen mode, preservation of visual layout when you share a conversation via e-mail and full support for voice over accessibility. Every little things add up to make the entire experience a great one.
Riposte is also very responsive and intuitive. For example, you can intuitively swipe to the right to navigate back to the previous view. I do hope this becomes a standard navigational gestures for apps that offer a full screen mode.
Because you don't see the navigation bar in full screen mode, it's crucial to properly design how users would perform all the typical actions that they do when they're not in full screen mode. Riposte nicely supports the swipe right gesture to go back and includes a translucent post button at the bottom right corner of the screen, allowing you to have access to all the buttons as you would in a non full screen mode.
The full screen mode really rewards the decision of putting all the other actions in the left drawer. Having a consistent access to this drawer regardless whether you're in a full screen mode or not, removes the need to invent weird gestures in full screen mode.
I'm pretty sure that both Jared Sinclair and Jamin Guy are working hard for the upcoming update to the app. Even though I don't have any clue to what the new features would be, I do have a small set of wishlist.
I would like to see support for saving drafts, sending and receiving private messages, and a way to identify whether the link included in a post is an image or not. I also would prefer the starred posts moved out from the user profile screen into the left drawer navigation. I believe that there is enough space there to hold this frequently-accessed feature.
Riposte is an excellent, fresh and very polished App.net client for the iPhone. I really like the experience that it offers with the full screen dark mode. I also think that its 1Password integration is very inspiring and I hope that more developers would adopt similar integration in their apps. There are plenty of other things that make Riposte a worthy contender for the best App.net client for the iPhone. If you like what you read here, I'd suggest you give the app a try.
Riposte is available for iPhone
Get it on the App Store: iPhone