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Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to Create Demo of your iPhone App on your iPhone!

This is one app that I've been yearning for - for a long time. This one enables users to create a demo of an iPhone app directly from the iPhone itself.
There are all kinds of alternatives where you need to download an iPhone emulator and additional software or screen recorder to achieve the same results. Luckily, and after a very long time of waiting, I found one app that actually allows you to create a demo using screenshots from your iPhone.

Introducing Mockabilly: An app that creates Mockups on the iPhone. This is how they describe it, a better description would be: an app that lets you create nifty demos from iPhone screenshots. Well, it is still in mockups phase I guess but in a way it could be both. Before you run and buy the app, I suggest that you try the lite version first. It is far from being easy to understand although it seems easy enough at first. It took me quite a while to get it to work but that was probably because there are some hidden features that you need to play with to get the hang out of it. But once you get the idea, it is easier to adjust to it.

So how does this app really work?

Let's say you downloaded the lite version to begin with - and then take under consideration that you can create a mockup/demo out of 6 screenshots only (which is never enough if you want to show a whole concept).

  • First, go and capture some screenshots from your iPhone (via the iPhone - Just hold down the bottom button, and click the top one). Try to capture some sort of a flow in your app, it will be easier to explain the concept to your visitors this way.
  • Open the app, click on add mockup, give it a name and click edit.

  • Now click on the "Screens" button and choose the mockup/demo-screens from your images library.

  • Click on the "Flows" button after you finish to upload all the screenshots in the order you want and add touchpoint and target-screens, and define a typical iPhone transition from scenario A to B. This one is a bit tricky - you might need to first add all the touchpoints, then double click at the end to go back to the main screen, then click on the "Flows" button again and stand on each touchpoint with your finger to open the editor transition mode. Don't worry, eventually you'll get it.

  • You can also upload folders with images via mockups internal FTP and use the screens instantly to create a mockup or a demo.
  • Instant 'play mode‘ to test your mockup: Just touch "play" and see your designs or screenshot demo in action. Switch between edit and play within your mockup-assembly and finetune the way your app-concept will appear. You can change the screens while keeping the interaction intact.

All your mockups are available via the internal mockabilly FTP function. When you create a mockup, a new directory, including all used screen images and mockup-flows, is also created. This directory can be accessed through WIFI and FTP.

As soon as your device is connected to a WiFi network, you are able to start the Mockabillys internal FTP server by tapping the ‘Start FTP’ icon. Using a FTP client on your computer, you connect to the mockabilly FTP server to upload and download your mockup data (Only available in the full version).

I have to admit, this is one of the most confusing applications I've ever tried, but because I really wanted it to work, I managed to understand how to handle its "deficiencies." The one thing that hurt my experience the most was the fact that I needed to use an FTP in order to upload the video instead of just being able to download it to my iPhone or upload it directly to Youtube. If you are a developer or a designer this might not be a problem for you, but for me it was just a hassle, to download an FTP server first, then to handle all the rest. This was unnecessary part, especially when the app cost $7 (which is not considered that cheap when it comes to apps), I expect to get a better experience and more easy to use features for that price.

Overall, I liked Mockabilly very much, but was pretty frustrated at the end of the process. Let me know what you think after you try it yourself. Note that this could be a great solution if you are looking for a way to create a demo for your app, or showcase a mockup of an app to a client.

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posted by Unknown at 2:15 PM 0 comments


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photo Sharing's Next Big Thing: Instagr.am

How often does an application pop-up and sweep you off your feet? Not too often, I have to admit (not since Angry Birds), at least for me. Sure, I get excited by all kind of apps almost everyday, but when it comes to actually using them, I don't have too many on my list. What I liked about Instagr.am instantly is that it connects you in a different way with people, a visual way, and you feel comfortable using it because you know you're not annoying anyone. No notifications, no emails, just beautiful pictures to explore.

I've found that you can know so much more about a person through his/her pictures, and because people can customize each picture with great-looking filters, the picture-stream is more rich, unique, and interesting.

Now, you can take or upload a picture, customize it, and share it via Twitter or Facebook. You can also share it only within your community of followers, and based on the same principle of Twitter, if someone follows you, they can see your picture-stream and you don't have to follow them back in order to give them access, unless you have set your pictures as private. People can comment and like each others pictures regardless of whether they are following each other or not.

Although I really think this site has the potential to really catch on and turn into something big, there are some much needed features to be considered as well as the ability to have it sync to all of the web.

Here are some suggestion for improvements:

From the mobile application:
  1. Allow people to get notifications from the people they choose (just like in Gowalla or Foursquare)
  2. Allow Resharing of a picture that has already been posted by you or your friends
  3. Allow deletion of comments about your pictures (or comments that you have made on other pictures)
  4. Add an area when a user can track their comments and a place where they can find all the pictures they have liked.

    This application should sync with the web as well, meaning that when a person clicks on a link via Facebook or Twitter, he will be able to:
  5. See how many people have viewed the picture (that's actually very important data for the person who posted the photo, shows level of interest of content).
  6. Make usernames clickable, let other people see latest pictures and enable them to follow someone from the web
  7. Allow to grab an embed code
  8. Sync all comments and likes to the web, the way it shows up on the app
  9. Let people search and explore interesting pictures from the site itself.
Bottom-line is that you need a website to separate it from only iPhone users and let everyone enjoy this wonderful app.

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posted by Unknown at 10:37 PM 1 comments


Friday, October 01, 2010

Six Applications that will make you love to use your iPhone 4 Camera!

I have always loved to share photos with the world. Even before I became an iPhone user, the iPhone only made it easier to share something online, and mostly it was trivial things from my day to day activities that I was used to sharing. But with iPhone 4 it's a bit of a different story because the camera is so good. Suddenly, you can become that great photographer you secretly always wanted to be..

I started searching for applications to enrich this experience and I found some really good ones (free and fee-based) that will help you develop your skills from just an average photographer to a spectacular one.

Starting with a Free app - this one is a treasure! It's a Korean-based app, called Pudding Camera, and though it is not available in English, you'll get the hang of it quite fast.
Pudding Camera has seven kinds of film cameras and eight kinds of free combination filters on each camera. The app supports three kinds of file sizes (small:472px, medium:700px, large:1280px) and you can also post photos directly to Twitter, but since the application is in Korean, I couldn't quite understand how to do it. The photo results however, were way beyond what I'd expected.


Also free, TiltShiftGen is an app that allows you to create retro miniature pictures. By adjusting various parameters, it allows you to apply many effects to your pictures: from miniature pictures to vintage style images. There's not many effects available but still you can get very impressive results. Absolutely a keeper!

I was lucky enough to grab lo-mob while it was free one day and I am amazed by its power. All you need is to do is take a picture and Lo-Mob will do the rest, but really, that's all you need to do. Lo-Mob takes every picture that you take (or upload) and provides you with 39(!) beautiful filters and lenses to choose from. And, you can customize each filter as you please. It is just the best bargain you can find for $1.99 because you don't need to buy any filter once you pay for the app (unlike other applications). Lo-Mob lets you share pictures directly on Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, and Flickr.

A must have.

For the same amount of money, you can get the well known app Hipstamatic, which was one of my favorites for a long time until everyone started to use the same filters on their pictures and it become more common than unique. But the results here are not subject to criticism, they will dazzle you and all people you share photos with. It is really that good. The app comes with eight standard features and more are available for .99 each. You can share the pictures directly to the Tumblr blog platform, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, or send via email.

Highly recommended.

ClearCam takes your pictures and increases or fixes resolution. You can create images with 2X resolution (up to 11MP). I was a bit skeptical myself but after I've tried it all I can say is WOW. And not only do you get very clear pictures, you can also set the light in different way, all by taping on the pictures after choosing its focus. ClearCam costs $1.99 and it's a small amount to pay for a professional camera in your pocket (if you ask me).

Finally - Filterstorm, allows for more intuitive editing than its desktop counterparts with a toolset designed for serious photography. Contains advanced masking abilities and lots of other features to bring your picture to a highest quality. But the most interesting feature is Curves, which gives you a control of light and color in a way I've never seen on the iPhone. The app costs $3.99 but it is worth every penny of it.

posted by Unknown at 8:18 PM 2 comments