The idea behind Blurb Mobile seems a little tedious but it's actually a fun app when you get around to using it. The idea behind it is to use all the media that you have or can make on your phone, and transform it all into a linear story. It's a lot like story telling for the sake of it, but you can make some pretty good sequences to entertain kids or the buzzed folk at a party.

The layout of panels

The layout of panels

Design

The design of the app is pretty simple. You do have to sign up or log in to make a story but there's no real information sharing, just an email address. Once you're in, you have a home screen which takes you to creating a new story, a demo, and upgrade details (the app is free but an in app purchase lets you upgrade for more features). You also have a bottom bar with tabs to create a story, a log of your stories and settings. The theme is a very simple grey, white and blue theme. When you create a story, it shows up in a line of panels and you interact with each panel to give your story structure. You can even choose a variety of backdrops to set your story against.

The lineup of stories

The lineup of stories

Features

Here's where the fun begins. When you create a story you basically import photos or videos from your iPhoto library or shoot them in app itself (when you shoot in app, the photos don't automatically save to your iPhoto Library). After you've added pictures, you can resize them, rotate them, add text (not on the picture, but as a caption), and even add an audio note. Once you save, the audio note becomes attached to that picture and the play button is just below the picture itself. You can add video as a panel, edit it for length but you can't add an audio note or caption to it. And of course, you can save your story and share it on the social networks, which will bring people to the app or to the Blurb website where they will be able to view your story.

You can edit your photo as well as add text and audio

You can edit your photo as well as add text and audio

The application is in general fun but what I think would really make the experience pop more is if you had the option to seamlessly go through the panels without having to swipe. That would really make the visual story more storylike. The other feature I wasn't a fan of was the fact that videos can become full screen when you tap on them but photos don't. The other thing I wish the app had was a way to colour photos within the app. You can always touch your photos in other photo editing apps and import them into this one but a few basic filters in app would be convenient. Just like Instagram.

Sharing on the social networks and email

Sharing on the social networks and email

Conclusion

This app works on a honestly good and fun concept but a few aspects of it need to be better done. Transitioning between panels needs to be smoother and of course there needs to be consistency between panel sizes but telling a visual story within the app is actually pretty cool. The fact that you can play with words, images, audio and video to tell your story is usually pretty restricted but the app allows you to integrate all these mediums. Blurb is free and available from the iOS App store, with an in app update for $1.99 (Rs. 88) which buys you 30 seconds of more video in each video clip and 3 clips per story (right now you can only add one per story), 15 photos per story (now you can add 8), 2 minutes of audio per photo (now you can add 30 seconds) and 8 more themes in addition to the 7 that already exist. Right now the app is available only for iOS, but here's to hoping it comes out for Android soon.

Publish date: May 3, 2011 12:35 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:44 pm

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