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WWDC 2010: Interview with Moodboard developer Chris Nurre


I believe we've mentioned Moodboard exactly once on the site before, as one of Brett's picks back when the iPad first released. But it deserves another mention -- developer Chris Nurre of A Tiny Tribe (a company founded with a friend to help pay for skeleton equipment and travel) stopped by to see us at WWDC to both show off the app and let us know how is experience on the App Store has been going. While I'm not a designer (a mood board is a real designer's tool, kind of a collage of photos created to give inspiration or show direction), I was duly impressed by how the app has matured to fill out its space on Apple's tablet.

Nurre got his app on the App Store the first day the iPad launched -- while he's also published a few iPhone apps, he wanted to try to get something right out of the gate with the bigger device, and Moodboard was it. He built the whole thing on a simulator without a real iPad, which itself is pretty impressive -- the app makes good use of multitouch to scale, size and move pictures, and he did a lot of option-clicking to simulate those in the SDK. The one thing he did have to change was a "long press" feature -- "it's a lot easier to keep a mouse still than a finger," he said, so that had to be adjusted once he actually got a device.

The app does cater to designers, but Nurre said that users have found lots of applications for it, from just making photo collages to creating presentations, planning weddings, or just saving memories. In addition to adding photos and text, he's added in the ability to draw arrows, include color palettes, or even include captures from an in-app web browser. The current build supports "dozens" of items on the screen at a time, but he's still updating the app, and future builds will support double that.

More updates are coming -- an version he plans to have out within the next few weeks will add the ability to adjust and lock an item's Z index (where it sits above or below other objects – the "move backward/move forward" option in Keynote is similar), as well as the ability to put color filters on images, adjusting their opacity, brightness, or contrast. He also wants to play with the options for projecting slides directly from the iPad in the future -- right now, you can save images from the app or email or share them off in various methods, but a few users have expressed an interest in running a presentation directly from the app itself.

Nurre has the app priced at $4.99 currently -- he premiered it at $3.99, and dropped it to $2.99 temporarily for a sale a while back. He says that the price has worked out well. I told him that I actually thought the app could sell for more, but he says that the $4.99 price is able to bring him more of a casual audience -- if the price went higher, customers were more likely to get the impression that it was a hardcore designers' tool rather than something that appealed to both designers and just end users. That was interesting -- if his app was seen as too expensive, people might not buy it because they thought it was too complicated, while the lower price gave him more of a casual identity.

It was a very impressive app -- there's also a lite version out with limited features, so you can try that if you're still uncertain. At just five bucks, especially if you do any major photo browsing or sharing on your iPad, Moodboard seems like a good way to organize your visual thoughts.

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