Blind Bargains

Review: Chicken Nugget, An Accessible Twitter Interface for the Next Generation

Of all of the social media platforms, Twitter is perhaps the one most used by blind individuals, largely due to its text-based nature. A new Twitter client for Windows, Chicken Nugget, has emerged to provide a premium experience for both visual and nonvisual users alike, and after testing it for the past month, I feel it has scored well on many levels. For those of you who may have tried early beta versions of Chicken Nugget, a lot has changed since last summer.

For those of you who have never used Twitter, it's a popular microblogging service that allows you to send messages of 140 characters or less to anyone who wants to read them. The way people use Twitter varies widely, from tweeting about their personal lives or causes, to retweeting or reading news stories of interest to them, to talking one-on-one with a customer service agent to solve a problem. But to put to rest a common misconception, Twitter is more than just posting a play-by-play of your life. In fact, you could use Twitter just to read tweets from other people without ever posting yourself, if you were so inclined.

The tastily-named Chicken Nugget is a new Twitter client for Windows which actually includes two different interfaces. Those who prefer to run Twitter in the background, in other words without cluttering up the screen, can opt for the global method. If you've ever used Qwitter (from the same developer) or its successor The Qube, this method will be largely familiar to you. You can press hotkeys to browse through tweets, send a private message or DM to someone, or copy a tweet to the clipboard, for example. All keys are definable so if one conflicts with another application, that's easily remedied.

The other way to use Chicken Nugget is through a standard Windows interface, which displays tweets and messages on the screen. This is useful for those with some vision, or when you want to show a tweet to someone who can see. Some of the advanced features and program options are only available through the program's menus.

There's several features that differentiate Chicken Nugget from clients you may have used in the past. A service called Twishort allows you to post tweets longer than 140 characters. If you encounter one of these messages, pressing Control+Windows+Enter displays the entire message. Tweetmarker is a service that will sync your timeline across multiple apps. In short, if you also use an app on your phone such as Tweetlist for iOS or Tweetings for Android which also support this feature, you can seamlessly move from one client to another and retain your position.

The major differences for me however, had to do with stability and compatibility. While older Twitter clients served me well for a long time, they sadly aren't keeping up with many of the changes that Twitter is implementing. Deleted tweets is a good example of this, something The Qube does not recognize. I often see people replying to a tweet that no longer exists because it was deleted, which looks a bit odd out of context. Chicken Nugget also seems to be a bit more stable on my machine than other clients. The amount of updates in the first month of release should also be noted, as the developer has released several new versions to fix bugs and add user-requested features.

No Twitter client is perfect, and naturally there are areas that could be improved. Chicken Nugget includes sound packs to give audible cues of major events and actions. For those of you who manage multiple accounts, this becomes a bit annoying, as it is currently not possible to change sound packs on a per-account basis. Some additional functionality with Twitter lists would also be helpful, including a way to subscribe to other people's lists. In addition, it would be great to use third-party URL shorteners in tweets, since Twitter's own method does not always produce the desired results.

Beyond this, I look forward to seeing what other premium features can be added to make the client more valuable. With a flurry of Twitter apps for the iPhone and Android, there's a lot of great ideas out there to borrow from. Perhaps some of these can be implemented on the Windows client. By the way, Chicken Nugget is currently a Windows-only client, perhaps because more accessible solutions already exist for the Mac.

As someone who is pretty much a Twitter addict, Chicken Nugget is now my Windows client of choice. It's powerful enough to handle my demanding social media needs yet scalable enough to stay out of the way when I don't need to use it.

Chicken Nugget is available from Get Accessible Apps for $15. Coupons are often available as well.

Category: Software
Displaying 1 comment.
Maxwell Thursday, 06-Feb-2014 12:09 PM ET:

Here's wishing the developers fun and profit. I had trouble with the beta, but that's old news. Now if we could just get this new client to activate language switching in screenreaders, we'd have it made.

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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