Back in 20o5, Photolife was one of the first online services offering printing on demand. Photolife gives you have the option to select the project (posters, agendas, frames, photo albums, etc), design your own scrap books, upload them to a server and share a pdf copy with friends and family. Right now this sounds like a common place, but almost 7 years ago, developing this pre-cloud computing online application required serious thinking and many hours of hard work. The development of this User Interface Design was a real challenge, an enjoyable one.
This project focused specially in the User Interface Design and Graphic Design of every single element. From the general layout, to the details in every icon, Photolife had to be simple, charming, and a flawless execution of good UI practices. According to the team estimates, the average digital scrapbook was going to be 72 pages, and the user was going to take more than 3 hours of work to design it, so the User Interface Design had to be engaging enough to keep the user motivated to see the results and as non intrusive a possible, so the elements of the GUI would not be on the way and hide elements of the pages.
One of the most difficult decision on the User Interface Design process was to figure out the right amount of flexibility and guidelines to give to the user. The user target user was not meant to be a designer at all, it was an application destined to be user by early adopters but not necessarily tech savvy young parents.
Something interesting about this software, was the possibility to add filters to the photos and how fun it was to play with them. Now we have Instagram, and playing with sepias is remains as fun.
Looking back at this project, it was great to live in the times and days where you only have worry about having a 14 inches low quality monitor and wonder how the gradients in the graphic design are going look. Now, we do not have to worry about screen real state or graphic performance that much. If I had to re-do this User Interface Design again, now I would be thinking about flexible layouts, dozens of screen variations and adding much more sophisticated details on the interaction with the user. But there is something I will keep it exactly the way it is, all this lovely icons, I enjoyed so much working on.
Photolife was User Interface Design and Graphic Design collaboration with Not Only Webs.