Blog Pile

A D- For Twitter Interface Design

A D- For Twitter Interface Design
A D- For Twitter Interface Design
posted 11 Jan ’08, 8.29am MST PST on flickr

I challenge anyone to convince me they can regularly use this drop down menu in twitter to send direct messages. Try it yourself. This interface item contains all of the people I follow, but it is presented in some random order. How the #*%@ can I find anyone?

How much effort would it really take the bird cage programmers to add a freakin sort() command? Give me alpha order or give me Jaiku? Pownce? ??

This is criminally negligent interface design and earns a big fat Bloom County Pffffffffffft frfrom me.

If this kind of stuff has any value, please support me monthly on Patreon or a one time PayPal kibble toss
Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. This is a bit silly of me, but you do know that you can just type

    d cogdog Hello this is a direct message

    into the update box, right? Then you send a direct message as long as you know the username. This works from IM as well.

    There are a few other commands like


    Which give you info you already know.


  2. Thanks Chris, actually I did not know that; shortcuts are handy, but….

    What if I know there is someone among my XXX I follow that I cannot remember their twitter name exactly? I know it begins with chris_____ how the heck do I find it among my list? Do I have to search for everything? The list of followers is **useless** in an random ordered display.

  3. I use snitter in part because the interface is so great. If you’re not familiar with snitter it uses Adobe AIR (which I understand has memory leaks). Even with occasional issues that I blame on snitter (whether correct or not), I still stick with it, because it’s sooooo much better than the web interface.

  4. Go CogDog… tell it like it is! ;)

    I wholeheartedly agree.. random order sucks! And it annoys me that i have to find some other 3rd party tool like Snitter or whatever to compensate for something which is basic UI design.

  5. So totally agree. How hard is it really to fix it! Snitter is great and does solve this problem to some extent. However are you aware in the web interface if you type the first letter, when you can’t remember the name, and keep typing that letter it will take you through all the people whose names start with that letter and you stop when you get to the right name. Sorry not a great solution but better than trying to read all the names.

  6. I too don’t really understand why leave Twitter as such a simple format.

    Although there are lots of other really great Twitter sites to ‘compensate’, you’d think that would like to provide a better service to their customers.

    Is it because run Twitter on a shoe-string budget – since there’s no advertising on the Twitter site to afford the luxury of ‘re-programming’ anything?

    A similar issue is with the way your ‘Following’ cloud of picture / icons is arranged. Is this random order? And does this random order continuely change?

    Allison Miller
    Adelaide, Australia
    Twitter: theother66

  7. Allison – I would not fault a simple format. Simple can be good, elegant, the opposite end of MS Word Bloat Where It Take 8 Menu Steps To Format a Tab. And I doubt its a shortage of tech knowhow, any ptrogramming language has built in sort routines.

    It was suggested by Brian in a comment on an earlier post that it had more to do with a strategy to prevent a few snarky indivIduals who were gaming the sort routine to get their twitter names atop people’s lists (like the old phonebooks with companies like “AAAAardvark Used Car Sales”).

    That’s hardly defensible IMHO. The user interface, experience must be the top priority.

    But what do I know?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *