[App Fridays] Stringo - A rock solid media sharing app with some UX issues

18th Jan 2013
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Stringo seems like an extension to Instagram. While the latter restricts itself to photos and filters, Stringo extends itself to video. Now

Stringo

why would you want a community for videos when you have YouTube? On speaking with founder of Stringo, Mr. Ajit Rao, the purpose of Stringo became clearer. After the success of apps like Teleportme’s Panorama 360 and the granddaddy of them all, Instagram, it is becoming more apparent that there is enough room in the app space for media sharing apps like Stringo.What is it?

Stringo is a photo and video sharing community. The intention of the app is as follows –

1)      Should allow users to share photos and videos from their camera, gallery and social networks.

2)      Should allow users to see photos and videos shared by friends in the community.

3)      Should allow users to see feeds that of particular topic that they’ve subscribed for.

The reason for the third function is to ensure engagement even if users don’t have friends on the platform. The app is pretty solid and Ajit had shared earlier that it has cracked a deal with Indian OEM Celkon (the one which Virat Kohli and Tamanna Bhatia endorse), where Stringo comes bundled with their phones. As a result of this and some word of mouth marketing, Stringo has over 50,000 downloads.

Who is it for?

Anyone with a camera enabled smartphone. In fact, the measures taken by the app to accommodate everyone is quite commendable. It allows people to share from the photos and videos that they’ve just taken from the camera, the ones they already have in their gallery and the ones that are already on Facebook.

While engagement on such a platform will only increase as users have more friends on it, the app makers have also accommodated content streams based on category so that a new user isn’t left with nothing to see.

An interesting feature that hasn’t been rolled out yet is one where two Stringo users can stream live video. Going by the number of

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people who haven’t done it, it looks like a tough feature to implement and I have personally seen it work flawlessly in moderate network conditions. What was even more impressive was that the stream was between two mid-range Android phones.Most Android phones can run this app and so can most android users. That, is a lot of people.

What works

Everything really! Every feature on this app is pretty good. I like the way the app has been laid out. The functioning of the app is intuitive to the average android users barring some flaws. The apps is quick to load and hasn’t crashed till date in every use case that we put it through.

With video streaming feature round the corner, the app will have a solid list of features that can distinguish it from all the players in this dense category.

What doesn’t work

Well a couple of things. Here are the list of things that we think needs to be reworked –

1)      The colours and icons used in the app can be a lot richer. Right now, the gradient orange isn’t all that impressive and the icons at the bottom aren’t self-explanatory. An average user will have to click on it to figure out what it does. Not that big a deal, but richer colours and more intuitive icons would do a lot of good.

2)      For the app’s good, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have an explicit button or a bar prompting the user to post photos and videos. Right now, the users are having to go to the share option on the top left corner to post something. I think the primary function of the app needs to be highlighted explicitly wherever relevant.

3)      While the tie-up with OEM’s ensures downloads, engagement will only come from ‘super users’ and going by the category feeds on

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the app, Stringo could really do with some users who will use and promote the app within their inner circle. It is hard to believe that the Stringo Cricket Fans group has only one video to post over a span of 2 weeks. Part of this problem could also be the fact that people haven’t figured out how to post photos or videos yet (point 2).Conclusion

The people behind this app are pioneers in engineering in the digital media space, so in terms of the technology that powers the app, we have no doubt that Stringo will come through. The problem with this app are minor UX issues and Marketing, which has been the Achilles heel of many an app around the world.

We urge the people at Stringo to check these flaws. As little as these flaws may seem, it is usually trivial things that have been detrimental to how the app has been adopted. It will be a pity to see a good app like Stringo lose out to UX issues.

Barring this, Stringo is a rock solid app and you should definitely give it a shot.

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