March 24, 2011

Color or Pixamid? A Tale of Two Photo Apps

Color App launched yesterday with $41m funding and lot of fanfare. Pixamid launched last week ago with no funding and little fanfare. The goal of both apps is to encourage ‘photo sharing near here’  – share photos with people near you. As you can probably guess, Color will be spending a lot of marketing dollars to get users, whereas Pixamid will have to rely on a better user experience and organic growth to succeed. So which one would you use, Color or Pixamid app?

The Looks
Pixamid has a beautiful UI – clean, elegant and much better than Color’s UI. The clean UI is also carried to their website. In contrast, Color’s UI is a mish mash of photos and photo strips – hard to look at and non-intuitive. 

The Functionality
Color’s photo sharing only works with others within a 150 ft radius. And the ‘others’ also need to have the Color app running on an iPhone or Android phone. This feature alone cuts down Color’s usage to a tiny number of users. What good is a social sharing app if there is no one to share it with?

Color hosts the photo on its own servers. Posted photos are available instantly to all sharees – a nice feature.

Pixamid posts the photos to the users Facebook account. Photos are shared immediately with Friends Here, All Here or The World. The last setting may be a lifesaver for Pixamid, as it will allow more people to participate in the experience and allow the service to attract users. If Pixamid experience is limited to people ‘here’, it will face the same chicken-and-egg problem as Color faces today. 
User Experience
Color seems to be a hastily put together app – app doesn’t quite work, controls are non-intuitive, poorly done UI, app not useful unless there are a large number of other Color users nearby, support page giving 404 errors initially – resulting in poor ratings from the early users. For a company with a lot of resources, Color app’s low quality is disappointing. 

Color app support page, 404 errors

Pixamid is at the other extreme – while the app is put together nicely it seems to have only a tiny userbase. Pixamid will need to figure out how to market the app widely and grow its userbase, and it can be done.

Both apps face a big space-time challenge with their ‘photo sharing near here’ focus – how to attract enough users of their app at a space at the same time AND who are willing to share their photos with others. A formidable challenge. 

Should I Use
Definitely!  The apps are free and it is worth trying a new experience. Just keep in mind that these are early versions of the apps and the apps will surely improve over time. 

You can read Pixamid’s own views on Pixamid or Color.