Testing the iPhone WordPress app

Writing this from my iPhone to test out what is possible using the WordPress app.

The application takes you through step-by-step setting up posting, allowing you to post from multiple blogs via one username. Once through to the admin area you have three tabs – Comments, Post and Pages.

Using the Post page to add and edit a post you are taken through the title, tags, categories post status (local draft, publish, draft etc.) and then there is a large area for writing. In many ways this layout and process is much easier to use than the browser interface.

To add media such as the photos above or video, users need to save the post and then select the media tab. Once again the interface is easy to use for anyone familiar with photo applications. (By the way to take a screen-shot on the iPhone press the main centre function button at the same time as the top ‘off’ button.)

The only downside with the Post tool is that you will need to know some HTML to make text bold, italic or add links as there are no appearance functions. Even if you are familiar with HTML this is rather tedious, as you have to flick between the third and first keyboards to find the correct keys and write the code.

Would I use this application again? Quite possibly. I can see it useful for drafting posts when an idea strikes whilst on the move or not near a computer. I can also see it would be useful for quick posts and pics when at an event or outside, particularly places where there is a 3G connection but not wifi or where there’s no room to get out the laptop.

And now to press Publish and see if this has all worked.

Beta testing: Flavors.me

This afternoon I’ve been playing with and testing Flavors.me, which was pointed out to me by designer Simon Ianson.

The service is currently in private beta but once launched aims to help you create “an elegant website using personal content from around the internet”, ie. help you bring a selection of your social media presences under one roof and for it to look nice. The latter I think is the point as much as the former. The company are citing possible uses as:

  • personal home pages
  • life streaming
  • splash and microsites
  • celebrity fan pages
  • commercial promotion
  • brand marketing

From what I understand the service is being built by Jack Zerby, designer director at Vimeo and his partner in crime Jonathan Marcus, but I should emphasise that the project is not affiliated with Vimeo.

Pages on the site aren’t yet public and unfortunately the demo video (also see it here) isn’t shareable, not sure if that’s purposeful, but I can share this video made by someone else who has tested things out:

And here’s a pic of my test, which took me about 30 minutes to put together – but only because I decided to play with the font colours and background design, and was enjoying things a bit too much. In reality you could get something functional up in about 2 minutes and something more to your tastes up in about 5-10 minutes.

My Flavor.me page

During my experimentation I came across a few minor bugs and the team were impressively quick to respond. From Simon’s experience as well, they seem very keen to get the service right, which is fantastic.

What I like is that it’s simple, brings things together, and does what-it-says-on-the-tin as the results generally look good (although some of the pre-selected colour schemes don’t work for all content). I can see how it could be popular as a personal webpage or the starting point for a celebrity fan site, gathering all the pieces of social media presence together.

However, at the moment there are only six social media services that can be added to your Flavor.me site – Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, Tumblr, Facebook and Last.fm. Whilst these do cover a wide variety of possible intents and users, it will be interesting to see how the team balance the design of Flavor.me with the desire of users to have more services included.

Simon also pointed out, and I agree, that being able to add your own domain to the service would add great value to the proposition (although, noted, this does add technical complexity). So instead of the URL http://flavor.me/user/kcorrick it could resolve to kathryncorrick.co.uk (or whatever).

I’m not also not sure that as the service currently stands would be something that could withstand the rigours of brand management and marketing: the fonts – whilst funky – are still fairly limited, and only one image can be uploaded, which for a brand would introduce interesting questions regarding logos (it still always comes down to logos, unfortunately).

But I’m sure there is much to come, given that the service I tried is in beta and de-bug mode put together with the obvious keenness by the team to get things right.

UPDATE 19/10/2009: Jack from Flavors.me has been in touch and responded to some of my queries above. Watch this space.

Testing how to embed SoundCloud files to WordPress

WordPress announced late last week that they are now supporting SoundCloud (the music file sharing site that’s a bit like Flickr). What’s great about this latest development is that it makes it easy to add and play podcasts, music or other audio files on your site easily. I thought I’d test things out to see how it works.

Step one: Select a file you’d like to embed onto your site from SoundCloud (for testing purposes I browsed the tracks area of the site). Press ‘Share’ and a pop-up will appear with a selection of places to share your file. Select WordPress.
Sharing in SoundCloud

Step two: Either copy the embed code, or press on the “customise” link:

Customising SoundCloud embed

Step three: Customise the colour of your embedded file.
Customising Sound Cloud

Step four: Finally copy and paste the special WordPress.com embed code if you have a hosted site (it uses square brackets) or the normal embed code if you self-host.

Simple.

Here’s the embed I made earlier, music from Curtis Mayfield. Enjoy!