Social media is filled with photos and filters. They’re a great way to engage with friends and followers quickly, whilst portraying a certain essence of style to you and your lifestyle. Whilst travelling, I often upload pictures to show off the wonderful places I discover, but there’s often extra atmosphere that’s tough to attach to a photo. Music often plays a part in that atmosphere, so I decided to create photography app that allows me to set the scene within my photos by attaching different filters and artwork based on what I’m listening to with my posts.
Engagement is everything.
When posting images to social media, it’s all about engagement. That can range from increasing your likes, favourites, retweets and shares, to simply giving your audience a reason to slow down and share in your moment. This idea of grabbing attention by giving people something to discover in photos made me realise Snaptune needed more than just filters; it needed information. Pictures taken with Snapchat need to show exactly what you’re listening to so that people can relate, discover and even judge. I decided to include artist, album and genres as an overlay to photos to allow people to know exactly what is going on in a photo, as well as album artwork and filter effects to help spruce up the content.
Quick as a snap.
Minimising the user journey to the bare bones was key to making the app fun to use. I wanted to deliver the end goal as fast as possible, so opening straight into the camera was important. Once the photo has been taken, the app needed to reach the “post” screen ASAP and it had to be able to post to all major social networks without leaving the app. There was no time for a real “onboarding” process. My sketches started with every screen I could add, but quickly dropped down to just three that I should add.
As with many app ideas, assumptions and secondary research was making all the decisions. To understand what users would actually do (or attempt), I had to launch. The first version was created with Adobe AIR for both Android and iOS. It used Spotify to source the music meta data and limited camera quality to 1080p. Images were transformed to an aspect ratio that could post to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and WhatsApp whilst using the device’s baked-in sharing capabilities to allow the option to share over other platforms as well. Skipping proper integration of social media APIs sped-up the development process meaning I could analyse where people were posting their snaps and prioritise platforms in the future based on what my users were doing.
One major disadvantage of my speedy MVP development process meant cutting a few corners. A major feature I wanted was allowing the app to check what music the user is listening to through plugging into Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify & Tidal – but for this version the user was having to search, with resulting albums/artists/songs being supplied through Spotify for the user to select. It wasn’t ideal, but the goal was to launch. Future designs are much cleaner and would supply a “SUGGESTED” list of music based on what the app can pull from active music apps without the need to search.
The next phase.
User feedback was great; users kept returning and requesting features I was already lining up. Their major gripe was the search screen, which was prioritised as something that needed to go. There were also requests for better Snapchat integration, but Snapchat handles outside media in a certain way I could not get around. Although the low-quality camera feature bugged the hell out of me, no users saw any problems with it. After cleaning up the design and adjusting a few features based on user feedback, I updated the app across all stores but was quickly blocked access to Spotify, so the app is currently down. My intention is to team up with a more experienced developer that can flesh out some of the music service integrations and social media sharing features. I have mocked up some redesign concepts and am openly searching for a developer.