Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Platform Agnostic Way To Collect Photos of an Event

My sister's wedding was on the weekend and I wanted a way to collect photos from guests.  There are a lot of ways to do this, but I wanted a way for anyone to contribute photos, no matter what platform they're on or what social network they're a part of.

I had initially settled on using Flickr because people can log on using a Facebook or Google account and pretty much everyone belongs to one of those services.  The less people had to do the better.  If they had to sign up for something they'd run for the hills.  This didn't pan out though.  Once you've logged in via Google or Facebook you still need to set up a Fickr account.  So I needed to find another idea.

Then I came across a service called .  It allows people to upload files to your Dropbox account without signing up for a service.  Setup is easy.  You select a user name, decide if you want an access passphrase, link it with your dropbox account, and you're ready to go.  People can then upload files and they'll appear in the /Apps/dbinbox folder in your Dropbox account.

Sign up page
Setup dbinbox

The interface to upload files is easy to use.  You can either upload a file or send a message that will appear as a text file.  The page dynamically adjusts and changes depending on screen size.  If your on a computer, files can be dragged and dropped onto the page, but it's just as easy to use on a mobile device by selecting the files manually.

Upload page
dbinbox interface

For example I uploaded a file and sent a message in the image below.  As an improvement I'd like to see a way for people to enter their name and have that somehow associated with the files they upload.  Maybe create a subdirectory with the persons name and put the files in that folder.  That way I could know who sent what.

Another suggestion would be the interface.  Given the layout, how things work is pretty obvious to me, but some less technically oriented people think they need to press the send button at the bottom after they have selected their files.  I know this because I keep getting a few empty text files when people upload images.  Maybe this could be made clearer to users.

Edit: Christian has updated the site.  The "Send" button is now the "Send Text" button.  This should clear up any confusion.

Upload page
Using dbinbox

Because I have Dropbox running on my computer the files are automatically downloaded.  Not entirely necessary, but I don't have a lot of storage on Dropbox so I just wanted get them out of Dropbox quickly.  I know it's gilding the lily a bit but I also installed Folder Monitor to make an audible alert each time a file arrives.

Downloaded Files
Files in my dropbox folder

It's a simple process and it allows me to collect files, supplementing the photos from the photographer. So far I have about 400 images.  If I was better organised I would have used a url shortener and encoded the link in a QR code and put it on the back of the place cards.  People could have been uploading images while the event was fresh in their memory.  Overall dbinbox is a simple and easy to use service that I'd highly recommend.

My sister and I

1 comment:

  1. Ahh! That's why people are sending blank files... Just pushed a potential fix.

    Glad you like the service, and happy wedding :)


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