Every picture should tell a story

A photos and storytelling app designed for a screen the size of a matchbook cover.

Palm, 2005

 
A new starting point designed for faster finding   The interface made it easy to find a picture. You could toggle between an album view and a photo view.


A new starting point designed for faster finding
The interface made it easy to find a picture. You could toggle between an album view and a photo view.

Storytelling and sharing across the table  The software was designed to help you share your photos with friends around the table. One press of the center button and your pictures, as a slideshow, played.


Storytelling and sharing across the table
The software was designed to help you share your photos with friends around the table. One press of the center button and your pictures, as a slideshow, played.

Organising the experience with progressive disclosure    The dominate interaction of the Treo was using the center button on the 5-way controller. From there interactions where  hieratically organized into buttons, menus and settings.  


Organising the experience with progressive disclosure 
The dominate interaction of the Treo was using the center button on the 5-way controller. From there interactions where hieratically organized into buttons, menus and settings. 

From today’s vantage point, it’s no surprise that people used their Treo—one of the world’s first smartphones with an integrated camera to take pictures–lots of pictures! As we saw this trend emerge, I was tasked with designing a new photos and camera app.

From user studies, I found that while people liked taking pictures, they loved showing them even more. So, sharing pictures with a friend across the table became the central organising principle of the app. You can see this reflected in the UI with a large green ‘Play’ button in the bottom center. If the focus was on a single image, that image filled the screen; if it was on a stack of photos (or album) those played as a slideshow with music.

Though the Treo, like all Palm OS devises, worked with a stylus, users tended to operate the device one-handed from the 5-way center controller. To make this behavior work in the UI on a screen just 320 pixels square, it meant a very strict hieratical organization of the actions from center button press to visible buttons to menus.