When recently scouring the App Store for a full-featured Flickr app, I came across FlickStackr. It comes with a grand claim: “FlickStackr allows you to browse photos in the Flickr universe, upload your images, and easily edit metadata.”
Packing so much functionality into one iPad application is no simple feat, and all too often this type of grand aim results in a fiddly, difficult-to-understand app. If you’re a Flickr user, FlickrStackr offers a promising solution for interacting with photos on-the-go. Let’s take a look and see whether it can pull off all that it claims to!
Connecting to Flickr
Although FlickStackr does have some functionality when not linked to a Flickr account, it’s limited. The first thing you’ll want to do is authorise the application to access your Flickr content – it’s able to do everything except delete your images. This is a straightforward process, and works well.
The only bug I found was that if you enter your password incorrectly, you need to exit the authorisation process and start again – be sure to get it right first time around!
As I mentioned before, FlickStackr packs a great deal of functionality into one app. The interface is split into the traditional two-panel iPad view, with navigation on the left and content on the right. Broadly speaking, you can either access your own content, or flick through public areas such as “Explore”, “Recent from Everyone”, and “Search”.
Although the interface is fairly easy to understand on the whole, it breaks down in a few areas. The icons, for instance, are really poor. Each one is exactly the same colour, with similar imagery across the board. I’d actually prefer it if these were simply removed altogether.
Typography isn’t perfect, either. Font sizes and spacing aren’t standard throughout the app, and it becomes frustrating after a while. If the developer took the time to hire a professional interface designer, it would make the next version a far more pleasant experience to use.
Browsing & Editing Your Photos
After tapping on your name in the top left, you can browse through your Photostream, Sets, Favourites, and Contacts. Clicking on “Profile” simply pops up an in-built web browser to display your Flickr profile page.
Browsing through your photos is a pleasant experience. They load quickly, and you’re spoiled for choice by the different range of viewing modes available:
If anything, this range of choices could be a little confusing for new users. I’d have preferred FlickStackr to focus upon one design decision and execute it perfectly, rather than leave it up to the user to pick the one they feel is best.
Viewing photos is an enjoyable process, though – you can browse thumbnails, read comments and meta data, or flick through images in full-screen mode if you prefer.
My niggles with the interface design culminate in the wonky layout of the page displaying comments and metadata:
If you’d like to edit the metadata of your photo, this can be instigated by tapping “Edit” towards the top right of the screen. It works well, and lets you adjust the Title, Caption, Tags, Sets, and Groups relating to the photo. You can also change various size and security settings, specifying whether an image is viewable to public/family/friends, and what permissions people have.
If you’d like to upload new photos – granted, an unusual thing to do from an iPad – the process is fairly straight forward. You first select the source of your images; Camera Connection Kit, iTunes File Sharing, Saved Photos, or Photo Library.
After doing this, you tap on the images you’d like to upload, and set the process going. It’s possible to edit the metadata, sets, and permission information on a photo before uploading.
Once in progress, the interface and feedback is very odd. Providing the application remains open, you receive a small dialog at the start of each photo upload, informing you that the image is being resized.
After that, there’s no feedback until FlickStackr begins uploading the next image. The obvious solution would have been to design a progress bar screen, detailing how the upload process is going.
FlickStackr has another few useful features, focused around the public aspects of Flickr. Search is particularly useful, and gives you a range of advanced options for fairly accurate results:
Because the application is a universal app, it also works great on the iPhone (your $1.99 goes a long way!). The functionality is almost identical, so I’m not going to delve into this aspect deeply today. The interface is very similar, and shares a few of the same quirks as on the iPad:
On the whole, I’m really pleased with FlickStackr. I honestly didn’t expect to find an application that had so much functionality – especially at the bargain price of $1.99 for the iPad and iPhone version. Everything worked well in my testing, and I didn’t come across any major bugs.
The one thing that might stop me opening the application on a regular basis is the interface. I know how difficult it is to pack so many features into an app and still have it look simple, but I do think that FlickStackr can do better. If the look and feel is improved in a future version, I can see it wiping the floor with every other Flickr client available.
Despite this annoyance, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the app if you’re a regular Flickr user. The sheer amount of functionality on offer for $1.99 is incredible.