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July 28, 2008

Innovative iPhone Apps: Graffitio

Posted in: Observations, Smartphone, UE Critique

TITLE // Graffitio

PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Attach conversations to the places you go and the things you see! As soon as you open Graffitio, it looks around you for Walls created by other users at restaurants, bars, stores, parks, events, or anywhere else you could imagine.
Read what other people have to say, and leave your own thoughts behind for others to find later. You can even create your own Walls. Graffitio connects you to people who have been there before and those who will follow.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // While there are a plethora of social networking tools that take advantage of the iPhone’s location-based services to track people, Graffitio is a unique application that lets a user create or add to an open discussion anywhere they happen to be standing.  Completely anonymous, it allows for the discovery of public discourse about places that is independent of user logins, social networks, and time.

While this is a genius idea, the execution of the design and server availability leaves the dissatisfied user with a funny feeling they should be looking for a “for demonstration purposes only” disclaimer.   From reading the application’s blog, it seems there are some major updates on the way but there are some issues with Apple’s application submission process.  Since the first release is all I have to review, my comments reflect what is currently available.


For a big city user like myself, seeing the distance from these walls to my current location is key.  Currently walls show up in a list that simply shows a title in Apple’s ugly default list.  Information like how many posts are on a wall, where the wall is in relation to me, and whether the wall has been updated since I last looked would be helpful to inform my clicking decision.  Being able to adjust the radius of how many walls are shown at any one time would be a great setting.  Overall, this is a great example of how an independent iPhone user with a seed of a brilliant idea can use Apple’s streamlined application release process to get something out to the public, receive peer review, and truly create a grassroots phenomenon.

PRICE TO VALUE // This is a truly innovative idea.  You will be disappointed with Release 1, but download it anyway so the iTunes Store will tell you when new versions are available.  With a little love, this will evolve to become a key location-based application.

Editors’ note: We’ll be rounding up the noteworthy, novel and useful iPhone applications. While we hope our list is useful to you, we’re not necessarily trying to create the “best of” iPhone apps list. Our goal is to highlight iPhone (and iPod Touch) apps that solve UI problems in unique and interesting ways; solutions that add to the mobile device UI conversation or bring something new to the table.

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