Seesmic already makes two of the best and most powerful downloadable Twitter clients available, Seesmic Desktop and Seesmic Windows, as well as one of the best-loved Web-based clients, Seesmic Web. All three, however, are very traditional Twitter clients with familiar columns and features. They are powerful and work well, but they can be intimidating to new users of Twitter.
However, their newest product, Seesmic Look, hopes to change that.
Seesmic Look is a very different kind of Twitter client. It focuses on making Twitter as beautiful, simple and as non-intimidating as possible.
But while Seesmic may have succeeding in creating an application that is easier to use and read, power users are going to be frustrated with the tradeoffs required to make it work.
What it Does Well
There is no denying that Seesmic look is a beautiful application. Both its “Light” and “Dark” modes are very easy on the eyes and the app is extremely detailed. The animations look good and the entire interface is presented extremely well. All in all, Seesmic Look is easily one of the prettiest Twitter apps available, at least comparable to Blu.
It is also a reasonably powerful app too. It has all of the features you would expect including searches, lists, replies, direct messages and so forth. It also handles trends and has an interesting home screen where trending topics bubble in and out very slowly, in a way that is almost hypnotizing.
Also, since it is a native Windows application, optimized for Windows 7, thus does not use Adobe Air, it is relatively quick on top of everything and doesn’t seem to hog much in the way of resources.
But while Seesmic Look has beauty, speed and power on its side, it still isn’t exactly what I would call a great Twitter application as there are a few key flaws that keep holding it back.
Where It Falls
The biggest problem with Seesmic Look is that it is simply inefficient. If all you do is look at Twitter, specifically just one stream, it can be great. However, if you actually try to do anything with Seesmic Look, it becomes very clear that it wasn’t built to be an easy-access application.
For example, going from one of my search feeds to my direct messages requires three clicks with load times in between. While that may not seem like a great deal of effort, keep in mind that other Twitter apps, including Seesmic’s can keep both of these streams on the screen at the same time, just requiring me to look over a bit. Even one-column apps usually only need one or two clicks to get the job done and the Twitter site itself only needs one.
Power users of Twitter are going to be severely hampered by the way the program is laid out. The multi-column method of displaying tweets may be intimidating and ugly, but it is very efficient. Though Seesmic look is a fast application, it doesn’t feel fast to use.
To make matters even worse, the attempt to rethink the Twitter app resulted in some UI changes that can be a bit jarring for someone who is familiar with Tweetdeck or even Seesmic for Windows. For example, the location of the reply and DM icons to the right of the app (and the stream) seems out of place.
In short, you have to do a lot of relearning to use Seesmic Look and, even after you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it isn’t as efficient as other apps widely used.
Seesmic Look is a beautiful, simple and elegant app that has a lot going for it. But like a lot of other beautiful, elegant things it simply is not practical.
The only real use I can see for Seesmic look is for absolute beginners who don’t want to be overwhelmed out of the gate. However, even then, the application’s layout may still confuse and create problems. Another good use might be to put it on a video wall at a conference or event (to “Look” at). For example, I could see a conference using it on their wall to display the hash tag feed for their event.
Beyond that, there seems to be a very limited niche for this product. With so many other great Twitter clients out there, including the three made by Seesmic, there doesn’t seem to be much use in downloading this one.
Still, other clients could learn a thing or two from it, at least in the looks department…