There was a glorious shout across the land when the Tumblr app was released for iPhone. It erupted from the vocal cords of hipsters worldwide. Paired with Instagram, Tumblr for the iPhone (nothing else, of course) opened up a whole new world of self-expression (and ways to say how much cooler one can be than the rest of society). Rather than waiting on the long bicycle ride home to post things using the good ol’ Macbook, the hipster could now post as many pictures of vintage sweaters as they wanted with just a few taps to the screen.
Silliness aside, I’m a Tumblr user and that said, I know that many different types of people use the blogging service. As an awkward non-hipster who rotates blogging services on a regular basis, I enjoy the ease of use found with this particular content-generating web app. I’m not much of a poster as of right now, but through my exploration of the features, I eventually became a bit more curious about the iPhone app. Was it as good as the browser-based version?
Well, there was only one way to find out.
Beautiful User Interface
After downloading the Tumblr app, my eyes were immediately drawn to the screen as a group of scroll-worthy image selections from the “world’s creators” popped up. Seeing that these images take up most of the screen’s real estate, it’s kind of hard to avoid viewing them.
I’m not complaining, though. Clicking the (typically beautiful) images often leads to interesting Tumbleblogs. Furthermore, for the blogs featured, this was excellent promotion. Naturally, I thought to myself, “I hope that’s eventually me.”
Logging in was very straightforward, but the few blogs that I follow took up most of the dashboard’s screen. Admittedly, I first thought it was an ad (free app conditioning, I suppose). What I would have preferred was a way to distinguish that I’m on the app’s dashboard as opposed to someone else’s site. My initial thought was to have a better border of some sorts, but I understand that the app has to use as much screen space as it can.
Despite the fact that my phone is in Portrait Mode in the images, I did test to see if the app worked in Landscape Mode. Well, it doesn’t. This is likely the only legitimate negative aspect I found about the app, for if I were to blog on the go (yes, on an iPhone), I would be forced to use Portrait mode the entire time. I can’t really imagine a world in which one would actually want to write an entire blog piece on an iPhone, but if they did, then a Landscape mode should be available to them.
Granted, it’s doable, and if you can write a text with Messages, you can make a blog post with the Tumblr app. Furthermore, if you’re wanting to add a picture to a post, all you have to do is swipe the compose button up.
Even still, the best way I would sum up the app design in one word is this – “consistency“. Tumblr obviously has taken branding into consideration, for its iPhone app (much like the Facebook app) is designed to be quite similar to the desktop version. Everything had a fluid, easy-to-use design, and when I was ready to create a post, I was presented with my media options in a very graphically-pleasing way as seen in the related image.
Another feature that I liked about the Tumblr app is its easy navigation system. Along the bottom of the screen, there are four main buttons that are aesthetically similar to what you would find on the web app: dashboard, tags, account, and post composition. Granted, it’s missing a couple of items, but we’ll get to that.
Anyway, everything you’ll find here is super easy to use. The dashboard offers a lot of content by other Tumblr users that you can scroll through, the tags will help you find new stuff that is to your liking, and the account section offers easy access to a limited amount of your information.
Although I’ve mentioned the graphical nature of making a post, I’ll say that besides aesthetics, it was just simple to post what I needed to post. Furthermore, moving between most screens works with the single flick of your finger.
Of course, this isn’t unlike the desktop version. Tumblr thrives on being easy to navigate. It’s just the challenge of doing so on a smaller screen, and it would appear that this app definitely succeeds.
No Access To Settings Or Messages
I guess one major qualm I had with the Tumblr app was the inaccessibility to my full account settings. Sure, I can change who I’m following, see my notifications, and even find more blogs. However, I can’t change my password or even block users. This is really silly, and I wouldn’t typically use these features. Even still, I’d just like to have them available.
Additionally, you can’t check your inbox! It seems like it would have been so easy to just have a feature for this. That said, you’ll have to log in with your phone’s browser to see what people have been sending to you. As expected, this is kind of frustrating. Let’s be real. You won’t be writing full-length novels via iPhone for your Tumblr, so I see the app as more of a grab-and-go companion to the browser version. That said, it would be nice to check your messages while you’re out and about.
Granted, the average Tumblr user simply post images or GIF animations, so you could say the app easily serves its purpose. With a phone, one can instantly post any picture they just took.
The Tumblr app is a very well-made piece of phone software that brings together good design and practicality. While some features are missing (account settings and messaging), the app isn’t ruined. If used as a companion for light reading and on-the-go posting, it will do its job very well.
What are your experiences with the Tumblr app for iPhone? What would you like to see in the Tumblr app that isn’t already here?
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons