Analysis of Picture Taking Instructions in various mobile apps

NOTE: This report, with additional screenshots and illustrations, is available in PDF form here

[su_document url=”http://www.ocr-it.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/OCR-IT-Analysis-of-Picture-Taking-Instructions-Screen-in-Mobile-Applications.pdf” height=”200″]

 

The purpose of this document is a) analyze various approaches mobile developers take to instruct and guide their users towards taking better pictures on mobile devices, and b) to establish suggested mechanism of instructing users how to take better pictures.

Current Applications Analysis (Android Play Store)

 

CamScanner

Includes ‘first run’ swipeable instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Custom camera screen.

CMC Image Scanner

Includes ‘first run’ scrollable instructions, with “do not show again” option.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Uses default camera screen.

Document scanner

No ‘first run’ instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Uses default camera screen.

Document Scanner: Trial

No ‘first run’ instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Uses default camera screen.

Droid Scan Lite

Has ‘first run’ instructions and info.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Uses default camera screen.

Handy Scanner

Includes ‘first run’ swipeable instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Custom camera screen.

MDScan Lite

No ‘first run’ instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Custom camera screen.

Mobile Scanner

No ‘first run’ instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Custom camera screen.

Portable Scanner Lite

Has ‘first run’ instructions that disappear after at least one scan is added, and reappear when app has no documents in it.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Custom camera screen.

Scan to PDF Free

No ‘first run’ instructions.
No separate picture taking instructions.
Uses default camera screen.

YunMaiDoc – ScanDoc Document Reader US/EU

No ‘first run’ instructions.
Has a separate picture taking instructions screen.
Custom camera screen.

NOTE 1: This app had picture taking instructions as a splash screen before taking first picture.  Instructions appeared only once.  Screenshot could not be captured.  Please download this app to see picture taking splashscreen.

NOTE 2: App has three different OCR modes.

 

Picture Taking Screen Guide

 

One Splash Screen

Several quick suggestions should be conveyed to the app user.  All suggestions can be listed on one screen, such as below.  Any guidance should be provided in un-intrusive manner.

User should be able to click ‘do not show in the future’ option to disable this screen.  In settings, there should be an option return the presence of this screen if needed.

NOTE: It is further suggested:
a) a native English speaking person to review wording and optimize instructions targeted to specific audience;  if another language, a native-speaking person in that language should review wording and instructions
b) experienced UX & UI person to optimize layout, colors and add visual diagrams targeting app’s specific audience and goals

Optionally, if a more integrated placement of tips is required, we can use several strategically placed UI elements to encourage users to take better pictures.

FotoNote iOS app (http://www.fotonoteapp.com) by Mobile Camera Apps Factory (http://www.mobilecameraappsfactory.com) demonstrates several guide screens plus a custom camera with instantaneous real-time feedback for guided picture taking.

First Run screen

Upon the first need of needing t to take a picture, display a ‘first run’ splash with several swipeable screens.  Each screen should be easy to read and convey one suggestion for picture taking, such as each bullet point listed in the screenshot above.  Each screen should be swiped forward, or ‘Next’ button should be pressed.  See Droid Scan Lite or Handy Scanner (suggested design) for a practical example.  This educational splash should be shown to user only one time upon first time taking a picture.

NOTE: It is very important to use graphics in this approach to quickly delivery each point.  Since entire screen is dedicated to one bullet point, there is plenty of space for a graphic and a few words of instructions.  Graphics should be designed by an experienced UI designer for maximum clarity.

Permanent Reminder Screen

It may be also helpful to leave a short reminder screen or splash screen before taking each picture, especially when a user disabled the Tips screen.  This screen should be quick and unobtrusive but remind users how to take better pictures.

See ScanDoc Document Reader above for an example of such screen next to “take a picture” button.

Copyright, Trademarks

Names, designs, graphics, User Interface (UI), functionality, and other proprietary information associated with any 3rd party apps mentioned in this document are the property of those apps and their respective developers.  This document is for educational and illustration information only.  All apps listed in this document were available from Google Play Store for public distribution as of August 24, 2013.