iPrintagram, Prints from the United Kingdom
For those that have been using Instagram for the last year, you will know that there has been a distinct lack of printing services in the UK. There are plenty of companies catering for the USA market but nothing home grown. Well, your search ends here because if you have not already heard and you are in the UK you can now use a free app called iPrintagram.
I caught up with the guys from iPrintagram for a chat about the app and to find out more about it.
J: Hello! First can you tell us a bit about iPrintagram? Where are you from, what do you do?
iP: Sure, we are iPrintagram and we are massive fans of Instagram. We are based in York in the UK and for the past three months we have been printing customers Instagrams sent to us via our iOS App!
J: I can tell you that I have found it very frustrating with the lack of printing services direct from Instagram based in the U.K. I was really pleased to find you as I am sure a lot of others where too. When did you get the idea for iPrintagram?
iP: With the rise of digital cameras and seeming demise of traditional photography, we found that it has become increasingly more and more inconvenient to have a physical real hard copy of your own photos, even more so for Instagram users! We thought in 2011 that there must be a simple way to have your Instagram pictures printed. We believe having the ability in your pocket to pick your favourite pictures to be professionally printed out and delivered to your door within a matter of days would be a really compelling service.
J: How long did it take you to get it from the idea stage to the app that it is now?
iP: Development of iPrintagram began in September 2011, we ran through many different conceptual mock ups of what the app would look and feel like. We maintained that throughout we had to stick to three key principles, these were that it had to be easy to use, the app would be free and the prints competitively priced, and most of all, were of the highest quality available from Instagram. All three are easy to say however accomplishing these was at times extremely difficult to overcome. As an example we had to maintain the exact dimensions of an Instagram, to maintain the integrity of the picture throughout the upload, print and dispatch process.
We also had to develop not only a mobile app but also a sophisticated back end process, which takes our customers orders and has these printed professionally. This involves several custom written pieces of software to automate a lot of this processing and make it appear seamless to our customers.
This is a continual process as we have already submitted two updates to the App Store to further improve on this and we already have the third and major update coming soon.
J: Before you developed the app, were you a creative person? Were you already a mobile photographer?
iP: Since Instagram first launched back in 2010 we fell in love with the application and what it brought to mobile photography. We first realised the potential for iPrintagram when one of the co-founders amassed over 3000 followers in only a short space of time after posting a photo of a snowboard trip. Since then we have been regular users of Instagram and love to share photos and of course print them!
J: The app is very easy to use and straight forward. At the moment you have the option of printing three photos for £2.99. Do you think you will develop the app to increase the number of prints available?
iP: As we’ve talked about, the current back end printing process is configured to printing three pictures per order. This is because when an order is sent to us we actually print a number of things during this order process, such as a customer address label, internal confirmation and of course the customers prints.
To extend the number of prints available for printing during one order, we need to change how this works and also how the app would price these. As you have currently mentioned iPrintagram is very easy to use, we would not want to comprise that in anyway, we believe we have the solution to this and will shortly be announcing some changes to the number of prints available per order so stay tuned!
J: What does the future hold for iPrintagram and what can we expect from future updates?
iP: As we have already mentioned you can expect quite big changes coming this year. In the next update we have improved on our already widely recognised customer service to include a message facility inside iPrintagram so we can connect directly with our customers to keep them updated on their order status from placing an order to notification of shipping, to always keep our customers in the loop even if they are not in the app at the time.
Further to this we have also included options for our customers to share their order experience to our key social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Further down the road in the not too distant future we will be expanding in other countries and have already completed a successful test of receiving and delivering an order for the USA.
J: Lastly, where can we find you on the web?
iP: We’re quite popular over at http://www.iPrintagr.am but you can always tweet us direct or follow us at http://www.twitter.com/iPrintagram and Facebook have been kind enough to give us our own url at facebook.com/iPrintagram.
It would also be rude of us not to mention we are of course on Instagram, our username is iPrintagram as you would expect and you can check out what’s been happening since we launched!