PhotoRocket 2010 - 2011
- UX & UI
- Front End Dev
PhotoRocket was conceived by CEO Scott Lipsky, who wanted an easier way to get digital photos off of people’s cameras and into the hands of their family and friends, privately.
I joined the team very early on, when the plan was a desktop app and a simple website for account management. My responsibilities in the beginning were to design the UI for the app and website. We outsourced the branding and hired a senior designer who was responsible for the look & feel and copy, and collaborated with me on UX and UI. I also contributed front end code.
Eventually the product included apps for Windows, Mac and iPhone, and a website for sending, receiving, storing, viewing, and purchasing photos.
A split occurred in the company between those who favored the app and those who favored the website as the star of the product. The app made it easy for non-techies to select multiple photos, caption them, and send them to email or phone contacts, but many of us argued that it really wasn’t that hard to begin with, that downloading an app was too much to ask for such a small gain, and that most people were getting used to publishing broadly via Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and many others.
In many ways, it was a generational split involving assumptions about our target market (mothers with young children, who tended to take and share a great deal of photos, but whom a lot of us felt were more tech savvy than the classic mom stereotype would indicate).
From the beginning I pushed hard for the website as a place to view the shared photos in a delightful and engaging way, at one point suggesting a kind of photo timeline (eerily similar versions of which ended up in multiple products soon after we dropped it, including Facebook), and later suggesting a kind of collaborative event scrapbook (including not just a photo collage but text, video, audio, comments and themes).
We built out this functionality and it’s still live on photorocket.com. I’m sad to say that I think because of the underlying weakness of the concept, it never took off.
It was incredibly rewarding to work on a team of brilliant people who were overflowing with great ideas and communicated and collaborated incredibly well. I felt like an integral part of the team, and I felt respected and valued despite being one of the less experienced of the group.