Partial Implementations

Today I’m going to pick on Echofon simply because it’s the example that I use (and am annoyed by) every day. I love Echofon, the combination of it’s simple interface, keyboard support and useful features make it my go to Twitter client, and that’s doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.

My issue with Echofon (and the inspiration for this rant) is Vim keys. If you’ve never used Vim then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Vim keys are the keys ( HJKL ) that you can navigate text with in the text editor Vim.

Echofon provides navigation with Vim keys, sort of. You can navigation up and down with J and K but that’s kinda where it ends. When you create a new tweet ( ⌘+N ) and send it ( ⌘+RETURN ) you’ve got to move off the home row of keys to the arrows to escape the Tweet entry area. Any Vim user ( thus most who would navigate with JK ) would naturally assume that pressing ESC would allow them to return to navigation of the tweets in their timeline. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The fact that ESC does nothing makes the navigation with JK seem like a feature that’s only half implemented. I’m always pressing escape then KKKK only to realize that there is a huge stack of K’s in the new tweet area.

I firmly believe that if you’re going to implement something like Vim keys you need to go the whole way and implement all of the features. If you’re only going to add half the features then just leave them out. Add them all when it’s a priority and none before. Save your users from frustration.

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