April 18, 2013 at 11:23 am

5 Coolest Design Elements from Twitter #Music for iOS

We’ve been having plenty of fun with Twitter #Music for iOS this morning. You can read about the features here, but they’re only part of the story.

The other story is the design, and our verdict is that it’s fairly stunning — and we see a lot of music apps. Here are the five best, most innovative design elements of Twitter #Music for iOS.

1. The background gets blurry.

You know how Pixar animators like to pretend they shooting a film with real cameras, and so they pretend their 3D animations have a camera-like depth-of-field, meaning that anything not in focus gets blurry?

Twitter #Music for iOS does the same thing when you switch to the main player view; everything in the background gets fuzzy. You know it’s still there, but it no longer competes for your attention.

We like:

To make the player go away, you simply swipe it down, and the stuff behind it snaps back into “focus.”

2. The player spins and you can turn it like a record.

Whether you’re in the main view or the player view, the song you’re listening to is represented by a round, spinning image that’s reminiscent of vinyl on a turntable. And just like with a real record, you can spin it around to a specific point in the song, which is a nice, whimsical change of pace from the usual linear slider control. You can see this in the above screenshot. Dragging your finger clockwise or counterclockwise advances or rewinds the track.

(However, for us anyway, the neat red/yellow/red volume indicator lights from Twitter’s screenshot aren’t lighting up in the volume control.)

3. Dropdown or Side-Swipe

To switch between the popular, emerging, suggested, and #nowplaying screens, you can use the dropdown menu at the top of the screen — or you can simply swipe left and right. Little dots at the bottom of the screen let you know where you are, which is crucial in an app with this much going on:

4. Tap to expand a song

We Are Hunted, which Twitter acquired to build Twitter #music, had little play buttons on every image. The Twitter #Music app uses a similar interface, but it would look pretty cluttered with play buttons on top of those tiny little artist images. The clever solution: When you tap an artist to summon it forth from the group, it expands to reveal the play button. It’s the best of both worlds, because the app still responds to your instinct to tap an image to hear the song, but you don’t have to look at a whole screen full of play buttons. Plus, these larger, expanded tiles just feel good to look at:

5. Get back.

If you venture down the rabbit hole of checking out the profile pages of the artists you like, to the artists they follow, to the artists they follow, to a song one of those artists posted, you can always wend your way back to where you came from with the back button at the top.

Honorable Mention: Multiple Accounts

This is arguably more of a feature, but to paraphrase Steve Jobs, functionality is design.

On that basis, we feel justified in including here that Twitter #music lets you toggle between multiple Twitter handles without losing your connection to your Rdio and/or Spotify accounts: