I stumbled across this new app on Reddit the other day. It’s called Spreadsheet, and it’s yet another new Twitter app — who needs more of those, right? But the promise of a new way to experience Twitter sounded quite intriguing, especially since I’ve long grown bored of reading a series of 140-character microblogs.
So, how does Spreadsheet aim to freshen things up? By letting you read through your timeline as if you read through a magazine. You flip through Tweets by swiping left or right as if you’re turning a page in a book or magazine. The app even has a nice little page turning animation to drive that feeling home.
Changing the way you read Twitter
Tweets are supposed to make full use of your screen real estate, but most of that is to show off any shiny images that may be included in any given Tweet. This was often lost on my timeline full of people who would rather stick to sheer text, leaving me with nothing but 140 characters and a page full of wasted white space.
To boot, no given Tweet seemed to be interesting enough to need its own full page. I caught myself trying to justify the need to use Twitter in this manner, but I simply couldn’t. It’s too inefficient. You’re slowing down a platform that was built for extreme speed. It’s a clash of two worlds which don’t mesh well at all.
Technical issues aplenty
And that’s just the concept. All of that isn’t to mention the problems with the app itself. For starters, its attempt to be a beautiful Material Design app completely fails. You see bits and pieces of Google’s design language throughout some parts of the app, but it looks pretty bad in others.
For instance, the developer boasts a “floating action button” to compose new Tweets, but it looks like a static button from the Holo days. To make matters worse, these icons looked rather blurry on my Quad-HD Samsung Galaxy S6, which might be an indicator that the developer didn’t set the resolution bar very high when including resources.
Other issues with Spreadsheet make the app nearly unusable. Images often show up blurry, so it makes me unappreciative of the main goal that the app is trying to accomplish. It makes the Tweets more annoying to look at than anything else, and completely takes away from the rest of the content.
The app also often displays tweets in white-on-white fashion as if it’s trying to compensate for an image (even when there is no image included with the Tweet), with only a subtle drop shadow making the text readable in these situations.
Oh, and there’s no known way to jump back to the top of the list without continuously swiping (new Tweets coming in bring up a toast notification which lets you jump straight to that Tweet, but that’s it). And I’m not even going to get into the fact that the app completely wet the bed when I tried to add a second account.
One high five I’m willing to give to FA Development is the app’s abundance of settings. You get a lot of options for customizing the look and feel, notifications and app behavior. But the fact of the matter is that the core of the app is severely flawed, and there’s no long sheet of options which can help change that.
If you were wondering whether Spreadsheet is worth the $2.20 price tag it’s debuted with, we’d urge you to look elsewhere. We probably wouldn’t even use it if it were free. The app simply isn’t that great. It’s not even good. And even if it didn’t have any technical issues we’d find its concept hard to warm up to.