rettiwT - An Alternative Twitter Interface for Hardcore Users.

A lot of people use Twitter as news reader. But the Twitter web interface is not exactly best for this.

I made something that fixes this for myself and thought some of you guys may like it as well so decided to share it today.

It’s a Twitter client, in the form of a Chrome extension.

Instead of using the Twitter API, all this does is re-style the web page whenever you visit twitter.com using a bit of Javascript/CSS magic. This means there is no risk to trying this out — Aside from the style, everything else works exactly the same since it’s just the twitter.com website — and of course, you can always just turn it off if you want to go back to the original interface.

You can check it out here.

But first let me explain what problem I was trying to solve.

Popups suck

Whenever I click a Tweet to view details, it opens a popup. And then they make me click one more time to close it. I don’t want to, I’m lazy. I want to click only once, not twice.

Another problem with popups is you can’t do anything else while the popup is open. You’re stuck with this Tweet until you close this popup. You can’t scroll through the feed while you’re reading this Tweet.

I don’t care about #TheBachelor

I never use the sidebars. I don’t care about trending topics. I don’t care about “Who to follow”. I will follow if I want to follow.

From my point of view, they’re just sitting there wasting real estate. Maybe I can get rid of them and use the freed-up space for something more useful.

So I built a Chrome extension

I spent a weekend afternoon writing a chrome extension to solve this problem.

If you’ve ever used an RSS reader, you would immediately recognize the interface. It’s a side-by-side view of the feed (on the left) and the details view (on the right).

How to Use

Simply scroll through the feed on the left side, and click on an item to see the details on the details view (on the right side).

There is no popup like like the original Twitter.com website, and you can browse and scroll through them simultaneously. Here’s what it looks like:

Since there is no popup, you can now read the Tweet details+threads AND scroll through the feed at the same time.

And most importantly (at least for myself!), you only need to click once per Tweet, since there is no modal to close.

Multitasking comes to Twitter

Some of you may think it’s useful for me because I’m just a lazy guy and you don’t really need this since you’re not lazy. But there’s more to this — it allows multitasking.

It’s really cool to be able to multitask on Twitter. For example you can watch Youtube while browsing the feed. In the below example, I’m watching a Youtube video on the right side while scrolling through the feed on the left.

Also, it provides a much better experience for reading the comment thread.

You can read the comment thread AND scroll through the feed simultaneously.

Death to the Clicks!

Getting rid of the popup cuts down the number of clicks by 50%. But we must go deeper.

Normally on Twitter long vertical images get cut off, so you have to click to see the whole picture. Here are some examples:

Now here’s the “AFTER”:

No longer need to click to view the full vertical pics!

How it works, and why it works that way

The cool thing about the chrome extension approach (instead of building a separate app or a website using Twitter’s API) is that I’m not doing anything groundbreaking yet the result is very useful.

What you’re seeing is nothing more than Twitter’s own website.

The Chrome extension simply modifies the design in realtime using some Javascript and CSS.

Like I mentioned above, since this extension merely transforms the UI, there is no risk but only upsides. You can always just turn it off if you want to go back to the original interface.

So try it out! If you have any questions or feedback you can find me on Twitter at gliechtenstein.