Thoughts on Twitter Clients

    HI all.


Most of the time, I post Christian-themed posts on this blog, but I changed the name of it a few months back so that I could post whatever I wanted and it would fit. This is why I have called it “Musings and Happenings of a Blind Christian Woman.” This is one such post that won’t be Christian in nature, but hopefully, will be of interest to others of my friends who are blind.


We are talking today about twitter clients that are able to be used by the blind who have screen readers. I have to say that of the 3 main twitter clients being used by blind people for Windows, the only one that is fully accessible with a braille display is Open Tween ( and I imagine the main Tween client would be the same).


With my having a hearing loss that is still slight but getting progressively worse as time goes on, as it is hereditary in nature, I am trying to accustom myself to using braille more and more. I want to become more dependent on braille and less dependent on speech. To that end, I tried the twitter clients this weekend and turned speech off completely.


I have a Focus 14 braille display, so this is a factor as well.


In TW Blue, I was only able to see the first 14 characters of a tweet. I could pan right until I was totally blue in the face, and it would sit there and mot move. It was like it was locked in place. This was in the GUI interface. No global interface seems to work at all with braille. So unless I am missing something with TW Blue, there is no way to view a full tweet in braille. I imagine you might be able to view each one if you view the full tweet. Admittedly, I did not try this, but who wants to do that? You’d never get through tweets that way! It would take an inordinant amount of time. No thank you!


I also will not use the GUI interface in Chicken Nugget. It is just way too sluggish. The global interface won’t even acknowledge braille at all as you go through tweets. Now, I could be missing something in either client, which I admit, but these are my findings when trying them just to see if it could be done. As I said, I won’t use the GUI interface of Chicken Nugget. It is just way too sluggish when going through tweets.


I am also a bit upset with Chicken Nugget for another reason. The bug where one cannot get one’s previous tweets when first launching the client has not been fixed or even acknowledged. Multiple people have it, but it supposedly, according to the developer, does not exist.


Admittedly, you can choose not to use filters, and then you can get your tweets when the client loads. Also, admittedly, I have not played with filters in Open Tween to see if you can do the same level of filtering as you can in Chicken Nugget; however, I guess it bugs me that I have paid good money for a client and can’t use all the features I paid for. If I don’t use filtering in Open Tween, either because it’s not available (which I haven’t researched yet fuly) or because I just have not gotten around to playing with it yet, I have not paid for the product; it was offered free of charge, so I have no room to complain. If someone is giving something away for free, it is their right to choose what features they are willing to give away, and you can accept those or go elsewhere; however, with a client that you have paid good money for, and a client which advertises a feature that is purported to be (and indeed is) very powerful, if you can’t use said feature or have to choose between using said feature or getting the last 100 or 200 tweets that have been posted from the time you launched the client, that, to me, is just an unacceptable choice. Also, to have a GUI interface that is much more sluggish than the GUI interface of any other twitter client being used by blind people is, to me, another drawback. So even if braille did work well in that interface, it wouldn’t be worth using.


I will close here with the statement that to me, it is quite ironic, interesting, funny, or whatever term you want to use, that the most accessible client for a blind person to use with a braille display, at least with my Focus display, is a client which is not specifically developed with accessibility in mind and is, in fact, a mainstream twitter client. I will make the one statement that is one which endears many to any technology. Even if there is something I am missing that I could do to get braille working in either blobal interface of Chicken Nugget or TW blue, or in the GUI interface of TW Blue, Open Tween just works out of the box with braille. That, to me, says a lot. When a piece of software just works without having to do anything extra to get that to happen, that is, to me, a big advantage, especially if someone isn’t as computer savvy and just wants to open up a program and have it work. I consider myself fairly computer savvy, but even I appreciate being able to do this.


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