So how did we get here?
It all started when Tom and I were discussing our own frustration about having to make the family photo book each Christmas.
Being a techie, the task was always given to Tom in his family as he could make sense of the software needed to do it. And with me being an former architect my family always gave me the task of designing something that would look good.
But one year we had a thought: why should it be like this? Why should enjoying our photos be the domain of the tech-savvy or those with an eye for design?
Making It Accessible
High street photo-labs have been replaced by online providers, but the quality of service is no better.
If you want to make something you'll be proud to show to people, you have to invest a lot of time and and grapple with Photoshop-style software.
Whether it's delving through your photo library trying to find that special picture, or meticulously laying out your images on a page, making a photo book, personalised calendar, or box of photos is still a faff.
So we decided to change all of that and make a tactile photo experience fit for the modern age - something that would be accessible to everyone.
The Journey Begins
We started the Popsa journey in 2015 by developing a prototype app in which we automated the process of designing photo book layouts.
We decided to use data to predict the complex decisions our competitors simply left to their customers.
So instead of filling a book with one photo per page, we developed an automated system where we analysed various properties of each image to:
- Calculate a logical flow of photos across the book
- Determine the most appropriate layout on each page
- Ensure there is variety across the product
- Limit the amount of cropping on each photo
- Bring people and faces into shot if there was a crop
The design process was transformed from a 2-hour hassle into a 5-minute breeze.
5% of our customer base has already ordered 10 times or more since we launched because as a result.
In the first release of our automation algorithms we generated a photo book layout in 20 seconds. By the end of 2015 we had this down to just 2 seconds, and by the end of 2016 we had it down to a lightning-fast 0.4 seconds.
Select some photos and your book is designed in a blink of an eye.
This approach won us our first award as Popsa was announced "Venture of Europe" by NOAH conference, with 70% of the audience vote.
Ease of Use
In the last year we added support for Facebook and Dropbox photos as well as launched our Desktop Uploader to transfer photos from your PC.
Our editing tools are some of the most intuitive on the market.
Just three buttons are visible on the editing screen rather than the veritable smörgåsbord of choice you get with traditional products. And we intend to go further still...
It's not just pure speed that matters. We've also been developing a range of tools that help guide our customers through the order process whilst minimising their concerns.
For example, we introduced 3D mockups of how your design will look when printed and it increased order volume by 5% overnight.
And we've made sure from Day 1 that we always save your work, so that you can come back and finish it another day, or re-print your favourite book in a year's time.
Watch This Space
This is only a stepping stone to where we're going.
In 2018 we're going multi-platform and launching a range of new printed products.
Our layout algorithms have been proven to cut down the time you need to get great results, so we're going to double down on it.
We're going to make the process of printing your memories so easy that you don't even have to think about it.