Recap is an iOS app that allows you to easily send yourself physical photos of experiences captured on your phone.



Idea conception

Our team (3 former college classmates) finds taking and receiving physical photos to be too cumbersome of an experience. While methods of printing out physical photos exist, most aren't as simple as taking and sending a photo on social media. Methods that do make this easy, such as a Poloroid camera, add other forms of friction, such as a bulky camera that is not easy to travel with.

We've created Recap as our solution to this problem. With Recap, users can easily receive photos taken on their phone in the form of a physical postcard.


Intial Proof of Concept

Before I joined the team, the two other founders, David and Alex, created a simple proof-of-concept. With this app, a photo could be taken on the phone and sent to an address in the form of a postcard. This preliminary version received some funding, allowing us to send and receive physical photos free of charge.


User Research

When I joined the project, a small beta testing group was in progress, primarily composed of family members. The app was in need of branding, a user onboarding flow, and general improvements to the user interface. In addition, while we wanted to primarily target young college students or recent college graduates with our app, no research had been done to understand their main photo sharing proclivities (if they existed at all).

To remedy this, we created a short survey and went to Columbia University's campus to find undergraduate students. Our primary goal was to understand how people currently share photos they take, if at all, and what methods they use to do so (online and offline). As a small incentive, we purchased $5 giftcards from Joe Coffee, a local Columbia University coffeeshop.

In total, we surveyed 20 participants, who primarily fell into one of two groups:

  • People who did not print out physical photos because they didn't know of an easy way of doing so, and/or kept their photos online.
  • People who did print out physical photos they've taken, and typically also use photo sharing apps, such as Instagram and VSCO to post their photos online.

User Interface and First App Iteration

To create an experience welcoming to users who fell in our second category, we decided Recap should feel as familiar as possible. In addition, sending a physical photo should feel as easy as sending a digital photo.

Below are the onboarding and user walkthrough flows I created to fit these goals, currently in our private beta:

Screens of a first time log-in flow.

Screens of a first time user walkthrough flow. 

Below are some Recaps that I've taken and sent to myself. While we're currently able to send photos free of charge, photos will cost money on a public version in order to offset costs. The photo postcards below represent a first tier of cheaper postcards, and we'd like to send out higher quality photos in the future.

During some photo testing, we discovered photos were printed with darker colors than their digital version. To offset this, we've tested a variety of filters we apply before the photo is printed. We're also testing different background designs, one of which is shown below.

Some Recaps I've taken and sent to myself.


Private Beta + Future

We've been testing Recap with a group of 100 friends for about a month. With the feedback we've gathered, we're currently making improvements for a public version, which we plan to release in about a month.