How Scrapbook for BlackBerry PlayBook was made

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(YouTube link for mobile viewing)

Hey friends, we have a great guest post today all the way from Malmö, Sweden! Check out the sweet blogging styles of Dan and Minna, from The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) – now part of the Research In Motion® TAT team in Sweden.

Hi all! We’re excited to tell you we’ve released a new version of the popular Scrapbook app for the BlackBerry ® PlayBook™ tablet in the BlackBerry App World™ storefront. We’ve listed the new features in Scrapbook v1.1 below, but make sure to watch the video we shot, too!*

Scrapbook v1.1 New Features:

  • Share Scrapbooks on your Facebook® wall
  • New postcard and summer themes
  • Delete Scrapbooks

The history and teams behind Scrapbook

The User Experience (“UX”) Advanced Prototyping team first created Scrapbook as a demo for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Our intention was to create a fun, comprehensive and visually impressive demo that communicates the power and potential of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. As for all demos at large events, we looked for something that could be explained and demonstrated with an impact in less than a minute.

(YouTube link for mobile viewing)

The demo was a hit at MWC and many people who saw the demo wanted to see it become a real application for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Scrapbook was then handed over to a skilled app team within the Research In Motion TAT team, which faced the task of turning it into the real application that many of you enjoy today. People often underestimate how tricky it can be to maintain the great UX, simplicity and performance of a demo when developing a full application. A demo is a safe playground where behaviors and external factors are controlled, while a real application must solve all imaginable, unexpected use cases. It is a testament to the hard work of the Research In Motion TAT team and the ease of BlackBerry PlayBook tablet app development that we were able to maintain a great UX in the final Scrapbook version.

The app team that developed the Scrapbook application consists of highly experienced developers and designers. All of us worked closely together to be able to maintain a very agile work process. This means weekly, and often daily, iterations. The key is to have a cross-competent team and a clear vision!

Early Scrapbook sketches and prototypes

In creating the initial Scrapbook demo, we focused more on creating an impressive and rich user interface (“UI”) rather than adding lots of functionality, which is why the initial release included only a select number of polished features. We iterated the visual style, animations and effects many times before we were satisfied. Finally, we managed to make all objects move seamlessly between menus and screens and the reflections of moving photos were just right. The Scrapbook app might actually have the subtlest visual effects our 3D programming experts have ever created!

Scrapbook designs

This paper sketch image is from the very first idea video made by one of our colleagues while he was at home.

Scrapbook designs

This image shows an early visual style experiment for Scrapbook.

Scrapbook designs

This is the summary of a brainstorming session, including photos taken from a whiteboard.

Socializing by remixing

When brainstorming around Scrapbook, we thought a lot about what tablets are good for. Yes, they are great for consuming media and for playing games, and they have also become a platform for content creation (e.g. text, images or music). However, we think they might be even better for remixing content. People want to communicate around content they have generated or experienced, whether it is images, video, music, games or web pages. So why not create an app that allows users to remix images into social objects that they can share with their friends?

As a social application that allows people to communicate through fun visual creations, we wanted to make Scrapbook open-ended enough to support emergent behavior, so people can come up with new ways to use the app. With the new postcard themes and ability to share with friends via Facebook, we hope people will use Scrapbook v1.1 in new and creative ways we have not yet thought of. If you have any great Scrapbook stories, please share them with us!

Download Scrapbook v1.1

* Video music graciously provided by Daniel Johansson from the Research in Motion TAT team! Check out more of his music here.

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About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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