Since its release in April 2010, the iPad has been widely regarded as a “consumption device” not really suited for “content creation”. Whilst we have already examined the issue with dismissing the iPad as a device that’s not capable of doing the same things a computer can — and my friend Shawn has a good take on why “content” generally is an awful marketing umbrella — the Storify iPad app, coming today for free on the App Store, is yet another example of how the iPad is changing the way we create through unique interfaces built around touch and the strengths of iOS.
Storify is an interesting service. Per se, Storify isn’t strictly focused on allowing you to create original content (images, text, or a combination of both) that you can share with your friends; rather, Storify is a curation tool that, among other services, leverages Twitter and the openness of the web to let you create “social stories” based off elements shared by people you follow, or just about anyone else on the Internet. Storify wants to tell stories by “curating social media”. I have covered the topic of curation — especially Twitter curation — several times on MacStories, and I recently mentioned Storify in my review of Tweet Library, an iOS app by Manton Reece that enables you to create collections of tweets for future reference. As I detailed in the article, Storify integration in Tweet Library means you can easily collect tweets from a variety of sources (people you follow, Twitter lists, favorite tweets — Tweet Library does a great job at breaking up Twitter sections in neatly organized “sources” panels) and publish them online as a bundle on Storify. The first official Storify iPad app, however, brings the full feature set of Storify (or at least the majority of its online functionalities) to the tablet, mirroring the web counterpart available at storify.com to allow you to create visually rich social stories that go beyond collecting data from Twitter.
I have been able to test Storify for iPad in the past weeks, using it to create and edit stories that I’ve embedded on MacStories such as this one, or this one. When I first talked to Storify CEO Xavier Damman about their upcoming iPad client, I wondered how well the team had managed to port the desktop user interface and experience of Storify, which is largely based on drag & drop, to the iPad. Furthermore, the Storify web app benefits from the desktop nature of the web browser, which makes it easy to switch between dozens of tabs, collect links, snippets of text, and images, or simply open links from other applications without having to worry about “switching back” using a multitasking tray, such as the one we have on iOS. These are all problems a native iPad app should somehow address, I thought, as it’s not just as easy and quick to switch between the browser and multiple sources on an iPad, and I wouldn’t want the Storify creation process to become slow or, worse, cumbersome. It turns out, the Storify team solved the problem with converting mouse interaction to multitouch, and quite beautifully. (more…)