So here’s a quote for you. It’s from Ansel Adams. And the quote is this: “A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.”
Let it simmer. Think about it. It’s true, right? I think what he’s saying is simply that the act of truly appreciating a photograph is a lost art. Ansel said that many years ago, and if anything, the quote is more applicable today, in this go-go world of instant and unceasing content. To often we treat photos as commodities, something consumed and immediately discarded. Like an “Animal-Style” fries from In-N-Out Burger (delicious!) Is it too much to ask to sit back and reflect upon a photo? Perhaps. But don’t blame Piquo, a cool photo sharing site. With its simple interface and user-friendly format, Piquo is totally doing their part.
Piquo is simple, and that’s a good thing. It’s an elegant, well-designed, and easy-to-navigate photo sharing site that lets the photos do the talking. There are four main pages on the site: Home, Upload, Explore, and People. Each are refreshingly crisp; there’s no clutter to cut through. Upload, for example, ensures you’re logged in; then you upload. Explore is a search page; enter a tag and search away. Most interestingly was the Recent Contributors page: here we see Piquo’s users; their profile has “About Me” information, uploaded photos, Followers, and who the user is following. Check out “Jessica’s” profile below <since removed…> Not remotely intimidated, I registered. Upon activating my account I was taken to a page that mirrored Jessica’s. I clicked on the upload tab, and uploaded away. Easy. I then added a Title and a description – up, up, and away! I could also tweak my profile, adding a photo of myself, a description, gender, etc. I can also upload photos from my mobile phone, which is nice.
The fun with Piquo is once you join. It has a Twitteresque following system where you can track what photos other people upload, and show them your own. These all show up on your homepage and are dubbed Streaming Photos. It’s what makes Piquo the, “next generation photo sharing.” Piquo boasts a messaging system to stay in touch with people in your network. It also provides the ability to add comments to each photo.
Piquo, like many a start-up, is very much still in development. They’re rolling out new features faster than we can keep up with them. It’s our understanding that the Explore page, People page, Direct messaging system, and Settings pages are all up for a user centered redesign. From a start-up standpoint, this may be the part of Piquo I like the best. As described in 37 Signal’s book, Getting Real, the way to build a web company is by going live early. Don’t fuss about the fact that the explore page might go through an iteration or two of design. Don’t worry about the fact that your to-do list is growing, not shrinking. Every website in the world has a similar list. The thing to focus on is delivering the core functionality, and let the users start to enjoy the service. Speaking of the to-do list, we have also learned from an undisclosed source that Piquo will also be rolling out timeline photo stream and geo-location aspects. These functionalities sound super-groovy and can certainly help Piquo stand out. Go with God, Piquo!
All in all, I think Piquo, as a free and simple photo sharing site, remains true to Adams’ quote; for example, if you check out Jessica’s site, you’ll see the photos arranged in a chronology, all stream-like. Doing so helps to construct a narrative and allow you to view the photos as part of a larger context. But its the uncluttered and aesthetically soothing interface that draws the viewers to the photos, as it should be. In other words, Piquo lets you look “into” the photos, rather than merely at them.