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New pet project: Picture Book

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I’m working on a new pet project app. Besides creating an app that user value, my goal is to learn more about dealing with images and file storage in Android. I can then later use this knowledge in the Idea Growr app.

Core features

  • Reading a picture book to your children from your Android tablet.
  • Create a new digital picture book in the app, based on pictures of a physical picture book.

User Scenario

  • Visiting your sister you see she has a number of great picture books. It would be too much trouble to borrow them because she is uses them with her own children. You take a picture of every page of the picture book and create a digital picture book in the app. You then go home and can read this picture book to your own child.

The aim is that once you have a nice book reading quality (flipping pages, etc), extra features can be added like audio and visual effects that will impress small children.

First wireframes

Creating a new book


Reading a bookPictureBook1

Current state of the app

I now have a version that somewhat works. You can create books based on images you have in the gallery of your device and then view the book and flip the pages.

I’m now working on saving the images in a folder inside your app. After that there are many features I’d like to implement, before I’ll put it in the Play Store. The most important features being adding pictures directly from the camera and adding and deleting pictures and books.

As an interaction designer it’s also interesting that the use case demands a ‘tablet first’ approach to interface design.

What I learned so far

  • Technology
    • I’m now using Android Studio and the Gradle build system.
    • I’m now using and testing out more libraries. For instance for the flipping of the pages, I’m using Android Flipview. Using libraries I can now create list views and set up a database much quicker then I did with Idea Growr and Personal Life Trackr.
  • Usability
    • Using images of a real pictures book, it became clear besides pictures, texts are still important. The app might need some super simple (local) zoom feature, so you can easily zoom in on a text or part of an image.
    • I’m now testing on a Nexus 7 and an Android phone. It’s clear that the phone experience is not good enough for this app. So I won’t make it available for phones on the Play Store.
    • While testing it became clear that some image manipulation (cropping, brightness) is needed.

Later more. As always, all feedback is welcome.

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