Kicksend is a photo sharing application designed with the casual user in mind. Since 1.0 they have had a steady stream of new features with the most recent 3.0 release being the most significant.
Kicksend brings photographs to the forefront of interactions and experiences. Each and every day we take photographs on our portable devices to capture our lives as they unfold. Unfortunately, most of the time, they are left on our devices: unorganized and hidden. While of course, some images aren’t meant to be shared, there are plenty of instances where sharing is not only accepted but encouraged.
Kicksend was not designed with us in mind. Kicksend was designed to be used by the masses; it was designed with parents, cousins, and old college roommates in mind. Kicksend is meant to be accessible and easy to use for anyone who owns a mobile device. In this regard, many would assume that it’s simple to design something for those who won’t nit-pick at every pixel and transition. However, that’s not exactly the case.
I had the opportunity to chat with the product designer over at Kicksend, Wells Riley. In out chat I asked him a few questions in regard to the design decisions they made and how difficult it was to step back from the view as a designer in order to gain insight into how the average consumer would use it.
One of the first things I noticed when giving Kicksend a run-through was how the photographs were displayed when making an album to share. Instead of offering the usual format of presenting images, Riley stated that they decided to organize them by date in reverse chronological order.
Grouping the images this way was a decision made by Riley and his team in order to simplify the process of organization when sharing. By keeping each day separate from each other, it allows you to easily organize the images more efficiently; so if you were at the beach with some friends, or two weeks ago if you were at Thanksgiving with your family, you can chronologically track down and mass-select the images to share. While this may seem like the obvious solution, it’s something not all applications utilize; instead, choosing to go with the default album view. And even those who do utilize this method, don’t go about it in the visually appealing way Riley and his team managed to implement.
Another item I discussed with Riley was why they had decided on an internal social element instead of relying on third-party opportunities such as Facebook and Twitter; instead vying for a proprietary, realtime comment system. He said this decision seemed to be rather obvious in the fact that they wanted everything to be as simple for the consumer as can be.
Switching between applications constantly and relying on Facebook albums to share images isn’t conducive to gaining traction within the app. Riley stated that this also encourages not only comments, but conversations.
Images shared with friends are meant to bring back memories of a great moment in life that all to often passes by as a blur. By being able to comment with one another in realtime, you create a less foggy recollection of the events that took place and give those images context.
Another aspect he pointed out was the fact that right within the albums that you share, they allowed the ability to call those you’ve shared the album with, without ever having to leave the application. As mentioned just above, images are shared to create conversation. Yes, a photograph is worth a thousand words, but sometimes a thousand words isn’t enough. By implementing this rather obvious, yet rarely offered possibility, Kicksend sets itself apart.
Another feature that has been welcomed in by the Kicksend crew is printing.
Built into Kicksend is the ability to order high-quality prints from a CVS, Walgreens, or Target nearest you. Quite often, our images never leave the confines of our screens and with this feature being implemented, it allows for a much more seamless transaction for turning those pixels on the screens into physical memories to share.
Kicksend 3.0 is without a doubt the go-to app for organizing and sharing photographs with close friends and loved ones. The built-in social aspect allows for easy browsing, rich conversations, and an opportunity to turn your images into much more than pixels on your screen. Gone are the days of clogging up your emails and to life are the days of a much more simple solution.
I would also like to thank Riley for taking the time to talk with me, as well as a congratulation to the rest of the Kicksend team for creating a truly kick-butt product.