Create Photobooks Easily With iPad App helloalbums – Review

iPhoneGlance Rating [rating=3]

The recently released version of “helloalbums” at first glance promises a fun and easy to use photo album app.  The whimsical graphics and colorful interface of the home screen seem simple enough, with big buttons and a drag/scroll selection of 9 album styles to choose from it’s easy enough to get started.  You will however notice almost immediately the limitations of this free app.  Photos can be imported from the photo albums on your photo album, you can take a photo if your iPad is equipped with a camera, or you can import photos from Facebook, which actually worked really well.  Editing photos in some basic ways is easy and intuitive, you can pinch/zoom, change brightness, make images sepia or black and white, and flip the images horizontally.  All of these controls works as expected, but at times, because of the lack of any sort of progress indicator, I was worried that the app had frozen while working on a task such as changing brightness, because I couldn’t discern whether it was actually doing anything or not.

There are 9 album styles to choose from in the free version, which is fair enough, after all it is free.  They are varied from the very plain blank photo album consisting only of photos on blank pages to decorative themed photo albums.  More album choices are available, but at the moment there are only 3 new designs available for a price of 99¢.  I have to wonder, why would the developer expect anyone to pay 99¢ for 3 more additional designs that really don’t look vastly different or better than the 9 included for free?

Some issues I had with the app in terms of functionality is that sometimes repositioning text on screen seemed clumsy and somewhat unresponsive.  There seem to be limitations in how the text is positioned, and in some ways there should be some limitations that aren’t there, such as allowing the text to be placed in what would be the “gutter” of the book (the center of the fold where the glue or staples would hold the binding).

Once you create your masterpiece, naturally, you may want to share it.  You are given a number of choices here, but I am somewhat dissapointed by the results of a few of them.  First choice is to email your album to someone.  Upon selecting this option a mail pop up comes up with a .jpeg image attached.  A rather odd line of text begins the body of the email: “Application URL goes here”.  As a developer, this tells me that somebody forgot to implement the application link, I am assuming to the app in the iTunes store.  The email sent only contains a single image of the currently selected page of the album, not the entire album. Users are given similar sharing options, via Twitter, Facebook, and they can save the image to their library on the device.   What I think the publisher really wants the user to do is to select the “Print and Ship” option, which will open a website where they can order a hard copy of their album from the card company that has published the app. The cost is around $23(USD), though I have not ordered one, I have to say I would be a bit more comfortable putting my credit card information in if the order page had some kind of information about who I am giving my information to.  There is no company name, no offer of security or any language that would inspire any consumer confidence. The developers might want to work on that.

My assesment is that at it’s core it a decent app, but it’s just didn’t get the attention to detail and level of polish it needs to really be special.  While the app succeeds in building a simple app that allows users to easily construct a simple photo album, it really doesn’t make the user feel like they got any value for their trouble. I feel that an app that is intended to inspire users to create should itself be inspired, and this one just isn’t. 3 stars out of 5.

App Details

Title: helloalbums

Price: Free

Category: Photo & Videos

Developer: Conry Print, Inc

helloalbums - Conry Print, Inc.