It’s one of those apps that have so much potential (they get me a little light-headed). So I immediately look for the flaws as I see half-empty glasses in life. And wonder why things can’t be perfect, straight out of the cloud. But as they’ve already released an update (less than a month after launch) resolving one of the top user-complaints (one of my two biggies), I think it is worth your time.
What It Is
The premise is simple: Take a photo and let the power of technology pinpoint you. Then choose from ten different overlays (they just added one in their latest update). You get the classic ‘I ♥ New York’ style and ‘I was here.’ But also some detours such Postcard-ish ‘Greetings from’ and Glitsy ‘Love It.’
The overlay appears on the photo and you swipe to quickly scroll through the options. If the location is too broad or you want to specify the store/restaurant/landmark, then press the ‘my place’ button and Foursquare will toss out everything in your vicinity. (Tip: The overlay will appear on the bottom of your photo but you can move it to the top by dragging it up.)
Last week’s update to version 1.1 allows you the added convenience of using a photo you took previously. But beware, there are cowpatties. If the previous photo isn’t GeoTagged with your location, you are out of luck (unless you happen to be standing in the place you took it). And the date/time doesn’t work, even if there is metadata to support it. Instead is uses the the date/time of the current app edit. (The pic below was taken 11/17/12 but it inserted the date I edited the app.)
Don’t worry about choosing just one typography layout if you like several of the design options or want to have a broader location (I ♥ California) and then a more specific one (Greetings From Golden Gate Bridge). It’s easy to choose one, save or share it, then swipe to the next one that catches your eye.
Another major plus for the recent update is the ability to remove the InstaPlace watermark. For a paid app, this was a deal breaker prior to the update (see the upper right corner of this pic). So props to the developers for responding to user feedback. (Tip: To turn it off, click the more button, then setting and toggle ‘add logo’ to off.)
The Wish List
The biggest drawback for me is the low res. Some things you can learn to live with. And I know, this is ‘Insta’Place which means they are catering to the Instagram diction of low-res square format. But that’s an excuse for poor performance. Great design graphics shouldn’t be held back by pixely performance (yes, I just made that up). If an app is for photos, full res should always be an option in my opinion.
I’d also like to see the kinks worked out while using photos you already have. Pulling the info from the metadata should include the date/time. Maybe even an option to leave it off or edit it myself.
And on that note, there is need for modification to the overlays themselves as they aren’t intuitive enough to see when text needs to be wrapped for a visually pleasing result. (Note in this picture how the words ‘Fort’ and ‘Worth’ are split which makes it look a bit grade school.)
Of course there is also the inevitable ‘we want more’ syndrome so yes, more design styles would be fantastic. I would even be open the dreaded in-app purchase if there was a bundle of more typography styles that I could view before I committed.
The Final Word
This one is staying on my iPhone. It won’t be used as often because of the poor excuse for pixels but it is delicious fun and typography gets me every time. From classes to travel, InstaPlace is a creative way to share your space in this world, even with the glitches.
About Marsha Bezzina
Marsha Bezzina has always enjoyed writing. But photography was mostly relegated to annual trips until the acquisition of her first smartphone, the iPhone 4s. Now this self-declared ‘mental crafter’ is a data hog – capturing moments, hoarding photo apps and editing with abandon. She is @notDelilah on Instagram but had to settle for @notDelilah_ on Twitter. Or check out her site, www.notDelilah.com