Twitter has become a huge part of many people’s lives. From celebrities keeping their fans up to date with their lives, to news stations and sports teams keeping us all clued in to your sister telling the world of her boring existence, twitter has truly taken off. Even within the blind community.
Other Twitter Clients
On the Mac with voice over, we have had a choice of the web, the accessibility twitter page, twitterific and syrinx as our choices for twitter clients. Adium also offers a limited service but the desktop apps are limited in their various ways and for those of us who manage more than one account, or crave to add our comments to others tweets in the form of a retweet, Syrinx and Twitterific and Adium lack functionality.
I am an iPhone owner and have discovered many other twitter apps that are much more feature rich than those available on the mac. They are up to date with everything that twitter offers, such as the new lists feature that allows users to group their followings into a desired list. For example, all the news tweeters to a news list so you can prioritise who you read about first thing in the morning over your cup of coffee.
So the search continued for an accessible twitter app for the mac. All seemed relatively accessible if you didn’t feel like reading any time line whatsoever. Until this past week when after requests from several twitter users to implement more accessibility, the nambu network came through for all of those voice over users yearning for a new environment to tweet in.
Nambu is currently in public beta so many of the features are new and still improving. Here are some of the major features that attracted me to Nambu.
- Ability to manage multiple accounts on the fly.
- The traditional RT feature.
- The option to view your twitter lists’ time lines.
- Different notifications for different tweets, mentions/direct messages and new tweets.
- The option to translate tweets.
- Hide tweets.
- Mute hashtags or users which is a very nice contribution.
- The ability to read your own sent tweets.
- The option to search for trending topics and an across twitter search.
Old, familiar Features
Some of the features you can get in Syrinx that are not lost in Nambu
- Conversation view. [great if you forget what you were talking about when someone replies].
- Reply, dM, delete own tweets, RT, Open links all with keyboard shortcuts.
- Follow or unfollow and block people.
I think the most wonderful thing I like about Nambu is the design and feel of the app. On http://nambu.com site they state they based it on the feel of iTunes and this is certainly true. There are two views, combination view and outline view. Both are accessible with voice over and so how you use it is your choice.
This view does what it says. It combines your tweets into a timeline, including your other accounts if you have them all connected. With voice over you can move through the buffers with option and right arrow or left arrow respectively. It makes the window a little less spread out and works fine but I have three accounts running and don’t want all of my accounts in one timeline so outline view is my preference.
Imagine iTunes, you have the sources table and whatever is highlighted there is shown in the songs table. This is true in outline view within Nambu. so for example, my personal timeline home timeline is highlighted in the first table, my timeline is then visible in the buffer section which is always labelled with which kind of buffer it is, I.E., mentions/sent, etc. It does not say which account it is focussed on but this can be found out if you jump to the first table or VO to the service pop up.
Nambu also lets you know how many characters you have left as most other apps do. And it allows you to customise sounds if you would like to and this includes a sent sound. The option to have sound schemes may be a nice add on if anyone could find a way of doing this.
One of my favourite designs in nambu is the ability to interact with the tweet and see any hashtags you can VO-Space and it will list all of the hashtags in the timeline for you. Hitting a link will take you to safari and you can also use CMD-o to open any links.
Nambu is still being worked on and so features that are currently missing or not quite complete will hopefully be updated in the future. The lists works great for reading your prepared lists but the ability to edit your lists or add new members to your lists is not currently available. I have left feedback for the developers and their continued support for all their users has been a great experience.
Give the app a try and see what you think and if something isn’t working then visit the feedback page and give the team a constructive piece of feedback.
Overall, Nambu is a clean, highly functional app with a lot of potential to take over mac voice over users’ macs in the near future.