Experimenting with different Photo tools on Android

How can we use the tools already available to us to improve our documentation? There are so many apps out there already that are super fun and useful for captioning and enhancing the photos we take.


The first obvious choice is Snapchat. Everyone loves Snapchat. While I don’t really use it too often to communicate with friends, they have a really user friendly interface for drawing and captioning on your photo. When you take a picture with Snapchat, you don’t have to send it to anyone. You can just save it onto your phone’s internal storage with whatever modifications you have made.

Snapchat image with caption and green dots

In this example photo, I have used a caption to say that I would like to put LEDs on my cardboard bow tie prototype. I have also used Snapchat’s drawing tool to mock up what those LEDs might look like. This drawing tool can be great for pointing out different points of interest on your artifact (perhaps an imperfection which must be improved), for imagining next steps, or for labelling dimensions of a product.

Verizon Messaging

I use the default Verizon messaging app for texting, and it offers some cool tools that can help you make a photo of your artifact look cool.

The Verizon Messaging App offers a fun little editing interface within the Camera attachment mode.

This specific example isn’t really related to something I made (it is an artifact in itself), but I think being able to add text of many fonts and many colors can add some flavor and personality to photos of artifacts, and can help create a story around it.

The design is really fun to play with
The interface also offers bolder and louder fonts.
I’m no chef, but I was still proud of it.

Samsung Gallery

Finally, I found use for the photo editing feature in the Samsung Gallery app (icon like a yellow flower). This app allows you to add photo captions in neat little tags. In the below example, I demonstrate how these tags could be used to list the materials used to create something. I think the act of adding information-rich captions to the photo itself is a way of ensuring that this information is captured and stays with the photo. Perhaps an app could be written that when these captions are added, they are automatically added as metadata to the photo.

Useful for adding lists of things, or making other captions.


I wonder what similar options are offered by Apple, and how the aesthetics and functions might facilitate documentation. I think this will inform my research, in that I can tell kids about the apps they have on their phones already which can be used for documentation purposes. The android app I have been working on is limited in functionality (as I am still learning), but these kind of caption-adding and editing tools will inform my design as I get better and better at building Android apps. I’d like to make an app that has this kind of functionality, but is designed specifically around documentation and metacognition.

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