Peter Kafka recently interviewed Khoi Vinh following the relaunch of Mixel as it transitioned from an immersive iPad app where people designed their own art collages from found images. Now Mixel reemerges as an iPhone app which stitches together personal photo collages for easy sharing.
Khoi shares some particular insight into the market, in comparing the initial iPad app, which was highly immersive, but much less viral than needed to drive success.
Users of Mixel for iPad spent a lot of time in the app, and those numbers were consistently outperforming our benchmark category in the App Store.
But over time it became apparent that the usage patterns for the iPad are very different than for iPhone, at least at this stage of the device’s evolution. By and large, people leave their iPads at home — they don’t take them to work — so it’s really difficult to get someone to engage with the network during the course of the day. You lose tons of opportunities to get him or her to interact with their graph, and that’s basically like starvation for a new social network.
And on the subject of users spending time with their device to craft something, and how this relates to building a mainstream audience:
Mixel for iPad tended to be pretty involved and, to our regret, required you to really work at it. It also became much more about creating art than we intended, and that resulted in a somewhat self-selecting user base. Mixel for iPhone, on the other hand, is so simple anyone can make a collage as you walk down the street. Anyone. The app does the hard work of making you look great.
I’m really excited about seeing apps where multiple users can stitch together shared memories. Mixel talks about combining collages with friends (“Your friends can add on to your collage!”), but it’s really just adding a comment to an existing collage in the form of a collage of your own, not making group collages.
I’d love to see Mixel go the Vyclone route, where you can see your friend’s photos taken in the same time and place as you and stitch together a view of the event from everyone’s perspective. In Vyclone’s case, they use video’s from multiple sources to automatically edit together one minute scenes.