Burst is an iOS / Android app that makes it easy to smartly share with friends and family. Thinktiv designed the original iOS app (late 2011) to five-star reviews. After 6 months in the wild, Burst approached Thinktiv to design a new experience called Bubbles - a private, time-based group where participants contribute photos and videos from a shared experience. Think weddings, soccer games and vacations – where multiple people are snapping away on separate mobile devices that never get shared with others. You forget. You're lazy. You never figured out the share settings in Facebook. Burst Bubbles works in the background so you share relevant photos and videos with people who want to see them.
UI paradigms were sketched over two rounds and countless Moleskin pages. Iterative passes through hero flows using different methods honed the visual and functional components to a point that an updated UI using predominatly stock iOS components emerged.
Like Instagram today, Burst let the unorganized content speak on an atomic level. The inclusion of Bubbles and time-sensitive albums meant removing the visual impact of the content in lieu of a container. Successive iterations found an album-like device that placed content first while alluding to underlying activity.
The logical nature of iOS navigation keeps site maps relatively organized. In this case, we evolved the site map as a stale artifact and added functional flows. What started as a long page of grey boxes with descriptive titles evolved through successive iterations of fidelity. Sketches, wireframes and eventually final pixels updated the respective screen making this a living document that proved useful to start weekly meetings and deliver to dev. With new and updated screens tagged, clients understood decision points and could quickly examine the project from simultaneous vectors.
A pain point we discovered with users revealed that shooting to the camera roll first, then selecting images to share, proved to be cumbersome. Add Bubbles and it could be one more feature that's not used. Instead, we created the paradigm of shooting with intent – to clearly let the user designate a specific destination and snap away while still being in the moment. Now Dad can take photos and videos of the Soccer game knowing that the album he created earlier would contain all the shots of the day. It's easier to relive the game later or quickly find and share that video of the winning goal with grandma.
How do you make a private sharing app more viral? The introduction of albums and Bubbles allowed Burst users to group captured media into meaningful moments. By integrating with your calendar, Burst also asked if you were at a scheduled event and wanted to create an album titled that event. Smart groupings. Easy to find. Easy to share – if you want to.
The Bubbles Home (left) is the user's destination to see ongoing, upcoming or past Bubbles. We let user content do the talking with large cover photos representing album within. At this view, users can start a new Bubble by tapping the + button or pull down to reveal upcoming Bubbles that haven't started.
The Bubble Detail (right) featured a timeline-like UI showing the event in chronological order. From new friends joining to gentle group message hazing, everything is captured to relive the experience later. Users of early prototypes wanted a way to toggle drinking from the firehouse with all content visible or filtering media from select users. By tapping your friend's face in the left column, you could see just that person's activity. The participant bar also collapsed for a full width viewing mode, which proved helpful for testers with tired eyes that already enabled zoom on their iPhones.
Burst is private. Period. That means you should be able to take your belongings when the party's over. After deciding to leave a Bubble, the user is prompted to confirm their declaration to leave and decide whether to take their contributed media as well. The final screen allows users to select one, multiple or all contributed media.
This simple feature helped build confidence in the concept of Bubbles – an invitational-only forum in the midst of a private sharing app. I can add what I want, know who sees it, take it with me when it's time to go. This constraint enriched the value of an invitation and reinforced Burst's POV of fewer strong ties versus many weak ties.