Jul 30

Picles From Around the World

We launched Picle (currently only for iPhone) at SXSW back in March for this year’s South by South West Interactive. Picle adds sound to iPhone photography, allowing you to capture a little audio clip when you take a photo. This photo-plus-sound clip is called a ‘Picle’, and the app makes it quick and simple to lace individual Picles together into ‘Stories’. We are coming to the end of the first version of Picle and we are currently working on version 2.0. 

Will has been blogging about our Lean development of Picle since launch. Part of that development has been user testing, feedback and interviews. Another part of it is observing how users have been using Picle, which has been fascinating for us. 

Watching and listening people’s lives through their sights and sounds is quite a powerful experience, it’s like stepping into a completely new storytelling ecosystem. One minute you will be watching a family birthday in Israel, the next you will be at an NBA playoff game. To give you an idea of what that is like and to share with you all what we have been experiencing I put together this montage of Picles from around the world. 

It’s a great feeling to see people from all over the world use something that you have made.

Anyway, check out the video and let us know what you think of it, enjoy :)

Jul 02


Jun 06

Picle 1.0.4 is in the App Store

The App Store has just approved our latest release of Picle - version 1.0.4 - and it is ready for download now

Picle is an App (currently only for iPhone) that we launched at year’s South by South West Interactive. Picle adds sound to iPhone photography, allowing you to capture a little audio clip when you take a photo. This photo-plus-sound clip is called a ‘Picle’, and the app makes it quick and simple to lace individual Picles together into ‘Stories’.

The latest update is packed with new sharing features - yes, you can share it directly into Tumblr, embed it straight into your Facebook stream (as well as uploading it directly to YouTube or to PicleApp.com - the website we’ve built for people to publish Picles and Stories to). 

We’ve made a number of releases since launch - this is the fourth - and each time we get more people using the app in new ways. The way sound adds nostalgia to your pictures is really unexpected, and a quality that makes Picle a powerful storytelling platform. I’ve chosen some examples (below) from the thousands of Picles people have uploaded and shared to give you a better idea of some of the amazing things that people are doing with Picle. 

Four inspiring examples of great Picles from all over the world 

1 - @siobhanwatts and her ‘Instant Morning’. This gives a lovely insight into a morning routine, a brief glimpse into someone else’s world. 

2 - @nguyenduong  Story of his time in Kauai, this Story gives me wanderlust.  It feels like watching one of the old photo carousel wheels of someone’s holiday, but without their narration. Instead you have the much richer ambient audio of ice clinking, birds squawking and the waves crashing.

3 - Mandarin 940’s ‘Pigs and Pandas’ is a lovely example of storytelling. Seeing and hearing someone from another culture use Picle to create a narrative around these play characters is a real validation of Alex’s original thought that sound could enhance imagery.  

4 - And our very own @v_bee making her home made Lemon Curd. There have been quite a few examples of people documenting making meals and other goodies and this is one of the best. This was stuff was ridiculously tasty and I love how we get to see the making process behind it.

As readers of this blog will know (we’ve written about it here), we are developing Picle in a lean way, so we launched as a Minimal Viable Product and we have been building new features for each release based on user feedback, interviews and testing. For example when we first launched we had no social features built into the app and with this release we have made it possible to post Stories as a video to Facebook & Tumblr as well as Twitter and YouTube (a feature from the previous release). 

We have made some changes to the user interface as well. If you are a first time downloader there is an introductory few slides explaining what Picle is and how to use it. 
We have also added a swipe feature to stories meaning you don’t have to go into the story if you want to delete, rename or share it. The two pictures on the left shows the app in a pre and post swipe state. We have also repositioned the share button so it is more prominent in the story screen. You can see it in the picture on the right in the top right hand corner.  
To share a Story tap on the share icon and you will be given the sharing options. If you want to share as a video to Facebook, YouTube or Tumblr tap on the ‘Share as Video’ option. This will bring up those options, you then need to configure and then you can share.  You can then see how the uploading process is going and Picle will let you know once your story has been posted. 
This will be the last version of  Picle 1.0 as we have racked up a bit of technical debt so we won’t be releasing an update for a little while as we redevelop. We will be going over the feedback, stats and interviews as well as testing out some new ideas. I’ll be blogging about those insights and what we have learned pretty soon. As always it would be great to get your feedback and opinions once we have shared these insights and ideas. 

May 17


May 16



May 08

Another Picle Update

Apologies for the radio silence on how Picle has been developing since the last release. The reason for this is that we have been wrestling internally over what Picle actually is. It sounds rather existential, but by watching how people use Picle and feedback to us, we have had to ask some deeper questions than ‘How can we get more people using the app?’.

A panoramic view of the Picle den

Here is a panaromic shot of some sketches, printouts and timeline up in the Picle den. 

Firstly  to help inform our decisions we focused on the things we have received the most feedback about. 

Player - Consumption of content 
Communities - Finding other users and sharing your content. 
We then explored 3 different scenarios for what Picle could evolve into. 
1. Optimise mobile so there is an Instagram like stream.
This would be mobile focused only and we would leave the web service.
2. Focus on Picleapp.com 
A webservice where you can upload and view picles on the web. More like You Tube.
3. Develop Picle to be a Broadcast Utility 
So the user can capture, upload and share to the world as .mov files
Whilst weighing these up and debating the pros and cons of each we also have to take into consideration that we are developing in a lean way and we also have to ship our client work. It would be lovely to dedicate all of our resources on getting all of the above optimised, but we must priorities and choose what features are achievable. As Tim mentioned in this post
Let’s be really honest - we’re a small product innovation and service design company with clients. Our model is to help clients make their own product and services and we’re not set up to launch and operate our own.
We decided that focusing on just 1 of the above directions isn’t the best way to use our resources, it is in fact a mixture of 1 & 2. 
The reasoning for this is that building a stream a la Instagram for the iPhone is quite a large undertaking and not the best use of our limited time and resources. We also know that with the app we have a creeping technical debt as we are adding new features onto what is essentially a prototype base. This means that we will have to do a re-write of the app fairly soon and building something of that size within the app would rack up lot more debt that we will have to deal with later. And if we were just to focus the web service, it would mean that the difficulty of sharing, finding others and the UX of the app would not be resolved.  
The web service’s player is something that we have had a lot of feedback for. As we don’t have a stream on the app yet the web service is the platform to consume the content created by other users. In order to make that consumption of content better we will be working on improving the playback for the player. There is work going on in the back to improve the gapless playback and experience that I can’t show yet, but here is one of the designs we have sketched up that will improve the experience. 
To address the feedback we have received about communities we looked at what sharing currently means on the app. At the moment a user can share to Twitter, Youtube and email, but cannot find other users on the web service or app. We created this story to articulate the user’s journey   
'As a user I want to create a log in and connect my account through Facebook + Twitter connect, or through email.'
Lots of sites and apps are doing this in lots of different (and there is another blogpost in the pipeline about that). The pictures below show a prototype of how we are re-working the user journey on the app so that you can find other people through Twitter and Facebook. 
These new features will enable people to find out who else is using Picle, as I have mentioned before the ability for people to discover and share is absolutely key to the experience of Picle. 
So that is a much distilled update from the discussions we have been having here about Picle, as ever if you have feedback don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the usual social media channels. Or if you want to email do get in touch with Ana at ana@madebymany.co.uk.     

Apr 20


Apr 12

Picle 1.0.3 is in the App Store

Toot toot! Picle 1.0.3 is in the app store. It isn’t the overhauled socially integrated version that I wrote about previously, but it does include something that we have had a lot of requests for, converting picles into movies. There are also new notification screens for uploading stories and the uploading of individual Picles has had some improvement tweeks made. 

To convert your Picles into MP4, create your Picle or story and then tap edit in the top right hand corner.

Then tap the share button in the bottom left.

This will bring up your options, then tap make into movie. 


Then just tap to save it to your camera roll. 

Once tapped you will be notified that the movie is now in your camera roll. 

From the Camera Roll open up the movie and tap on the share options and you can Email, Message or Send to YouTube. 

And here is my first Picle as a YouTube video. 

We are working on a more seamless sharing experience for a later release, but for now we have managed to create a new feature that users really wanted. We really hope that you enjoy using this new feature and as ever please do let us know  if you have any feedback or feature requests. 

Apr 02

Picle 1.0.2 is in the App Store

From all the feedback we received after the first release improved sharing and integration with Camera Roll were the most requested. So we are pleased to say that we have made both of these possible with this release. This release also contains bug fixes, improved error messages and an improved camera with tap focus, which  Julian blogged a couple of weeks ago. 

I will just take a minute to take you through how to use these 2 new features in the app. 

- Improved sharing options that include Twitter and Email.
To share open the story you want and tap edit in the top right hand.
This will open up the edit section and the share button will appear in the bottom left corner.
 From there you can select how you want to share. 
- Integration with your Camera Roll.
One of the most requested new features from testing was the ability to use existing pictures from Camera Roll and to save pictures taken in Picle to Camera Roll. In this new release all images are saved to your Camera Roll by default.  If you want to change this tap the settings tab and turn ‘Save pictures to camera roll’ to off.  
If you want to use a photo from your Camera Roll  tap the Camera Roll icon in the bottom left hand in  the image capture screen. This will then open your Camera Roll and you can simply choose a picture from there. 
We have some bigger changes for Picle arriving a bit later on, but for now this version will improve your experience and enable more sharing. We are aware that you may get some error 500 messages when trying to upload Picles, we are working on this as much as we can so please do bear with us whilst we try to resolve it. 
As we have mentioned throughout the development of Picle we need your feedback and suggestions for how it can be improved, so if you have anything you want to tell us don’t hesitate to Tweet @picleapp or email Ana directly at Ana@madebymany.co.uk