I try my best to stay away from cliches when writing reviews. But, with the app that I am gonna review today, it is imperative that I use the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s so very true, and in this age of chronic attention deficit syndrome, pictures are the easiest way to convey the message to your audience.
But what if a picture isn’t by itself enough to get the message across and there is something more you’ve got to say? Not everyone is good at understanding the subtext behind a visual, and this requires you to explicitly spell out what’s on your mind. ThingLink is an app that helps you bring life to your images by associating relevant multimedia content to them. Let’s go check it out!
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I cringe whenever a mobile app forces me to sign up or sign in. To access ThingLink, you’ll have to sign up with them. Thankfully, the form was just two fields long and there was a dedicated @ key in the keyboard to sweeten the process (I can’t believe how many apps miss this obvious key in their keyboards when there is a sign up or sign in page!).
ThingLink welcomed me with a thumbnail view of my photos ready to be uploaded and shared with the world. I skipped that part to look around, feel and understand the ThingLink effect. I was able to do it in a single jump by accessing the four squares icon to the left. The user interface is minimalistic and each interactive image carries tiny icons indicating the type of content attached to them.
A Stream of Interactive Images Created by Others
For some reason, this screen was ominously titled My ThingLink Images, even when I haven’t uploaded or liked any. Also, I was shown the same set of images all day long — there even wasn’t a pull to refresh option. I was a bit confused as I was expecting a never ending stream of interactive images shared in real time. Isn’t it supposed to be like that?
A couple of new images showed up after I forcefully closed the app by killing the background process. Still, I was not sure why this was happening. Given the buzz around the app, I hope they don’t have the problem of not enough people uploading new images.
Frankly, it was quite fun to go through the interactive images. Comments carry the info or a heart icon and multimedia files sport a play icon. Tapping on them brings up the embedded content in gorgeous little overlays. Virtually all images carried one or more songs and even when there was no comment attached to an image, there was a song attached indicating the high emotional connection.
Interactive Images with Content and Audio Files Attached
All songs are streamed from Soundcloud and even in that tiny screen’s real estate, there were so many options packed into it. I wish there was a way to make this multimedia overlay bigger. That way, it would be easy to see the images of people who liked the song (the thumbnails are displayed in a row of audacious, microscopic little dots right now) or to scroll through them real quick.
A Comment and Audio File Uploaded to Soundcloud
The option to download the song is great and you can either share this song directly via Soundcloud or use ThingLink’s share options to spread the word about the entire interactive image.
Making An Interactive Image
Creating an Interactive Image with Text and Video
The ease with which one can create an interactive image using ThingLink needs a special mention, too. It’s a simple, easy-to-understand process that doesn’t need much effort from the user. Pick the image of your choice and select whether you want to add comments or videos. It’s so cool that you can position your uploads anywhere on the image. It’s such a brilliant idea to bring more context by perfect placement!
Sharing Options for the Interactive Image and the Upload Screen
Once you are done with adding content, the upload happens fairly quickly and my image was up in no time. Sadly, once you upload an interactive image, you won’t be able to edit it to add new additions. Also, I couldn’t spot an option to add music files (like the ones I spotted in other images), and there were only options to add videos from either the gallery or from YouTube and Vimeo.
It’s tough to understand what ThingLink does or what purpose it actually serves by just hearing or reading about it. Using it firsthand is a great way to experience the brilliance of the idea. As some have already pointed out, the possibilities are limitless, for both casual users and brands alike.
From creating memorable greetings to interactive travel photos, the app helps you communicate in new ways. Despite a couple of downsides I pointed out earlier, ThingLink is great for photo enthusiasts and social media lovers. I‘m so happy that we have at least one meaningful app in the social image sharing space that doesn’t limit itself to goofing up our images. Now it’s time to wait and see how the society puts the app to use!