Mixby: How I got in The Mix

Photo sharing at events is ALWAYS a hassle, between tracking down who took what photo and deciding who got the best angle, this proves to be a daunting task every time.

Imagine you are hosting your 21st birthday party, and as you are blowing out the candles on your cake, you notice 4 of your friends taking photos of you. Fast-forward to the next day — you want to post your party pictures… but can you remember who took those photos?

Introducing Mixby: the mobile app created to let all attendees of an event write its story together.

What is Mixby?

Mixby is a mobile app that allows users to create shared photo albums within a set location. These photo albums can be public or private, and the “host”, or creator of the album, can control who is invited.

How does Mixby work?

  1. The host creates the Mixby by setting the time period and location of the event and decides if it should be public or private. Private Mixbys are useful for events where you only want certain people viewing or adding photos. If the Mixby is private, the host can invite guests to join. Public Mixbys allow anyone in the set area during the set time period to contribute to the album.
  2. Once the event begins, start taking photos! You can take pictures in the app itself, or on your camera roll to decide which photos you want to upload at a later time.
  3. After the event, go through and look at everyone’s pictures! You can see all 4 of your friends’ angles when you were blowing out your candle. You can see the selfies of people that you introduced. You can watch relationships form through this collaborative album.
  4. If you see a photo taken by someone that you want to interact with, you can go to their profile and message them individually so that you can reconnect online with the people you met at the event!
Mixby’s mobile interface via Mixby.com

UI/UX Notes: Overview, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Overview: Mixby is in early stages of development. The app that I have used and experimented with looks more basic than the images listed on their websites, so I am going to evaluate the app I have used as a beta version. From Professor Erin Reilly’s lectures, I recognize that there are several stages of development, so I will make a few suggestions to help aid in the future of Mixby’s development.

Mixby’s Interface on the current mobile app

Strengths: Mixby’s privacy policies have been carefully thought out. The app tracks your location in order to find Mixbys near you, but once it is done with the data, it is deleted. So the app doesn’t keep logs of your location information! In addition, when you are browsing through a a Mixby album, the app allows you to scroll through the photos in a chronological feed. I think that this is really valuable because it allows attendees to craft and revisit a story of the event.

Weaknesses: In the current Mixby app, the features are very visually underdeveloped. Some of the is blurry while other sections are clear, and the colors don’t match up throughout the app. Another weakness that I noticed was how clunky the buttons are. For example, when you scroll through the photos, there are large buttons and titles on top of the image that block a lot of it from view. The last big visual issue that I noticed was that the app crops the photos when they are displayed in the scroll feature. This makes screenshots or precisely sized images look distorted. See below for images for an example of the weaknesses described.

A photo from our class Mixby, partially covered by the app buttons and cropped

User Motivations and Intentions

Mixby’s target audience is groups comprised of 5 to 50,000 people. They hope to give events a space to share photos and create a “Micro Social Network”. This audience will expect a seamless, aesthetically pleasing experience on the app so that it doesn’t take away from the beauty of their photos. Currently, the app needs a little polishing in order to achieve this. People love photo sharing platforms like Instagram because they are eye-catching, beneficial for business, and its simplicity.

In regards to business, Mixby plans to provide local businesses with a highly-targeting advertising experience by allowing them to advertise to people at an event near their location. They can promote a special deal or a new menu item to people at a conference down the street in hopes of drawing traffic towards their business.

Visual Recommendations: In order to be competitive with other social media platforms, Mixby has a bit of work to do. The photos of their proposed interface that they provide on their website are promising. I think that if the app looks like this in the future, it will be a lot easier to navigate. For me, the clunkiness was a huge distraction. Specifically, the buttons displayed on top of the images should be smaller, more transparent, and consistent with color and font. Also, the images should not be cropped. Lastly, the display list of previous Mixby experiences should be in the same font as the main menu on the top of the screen.

General Recommendations: Given the broad target audience, Mixby must balance a lot of factors. The app cannot have every feature that a tech savvy young adult would enjoy because those less familiar with technology would get lost. Likewise, it cannot be too simple as this would bore the technologically literate users. Narrowing this audience (just a bit) might be beneficial because Mixby could be better tailored to a specific market.

Conclusion: Mixby is an app that could provide users with an incredible storytelling tool. Attendees can create an event’s narrative, while businesses can use the location of this event to bring in customers. This service could benefit large communities once it is graphically polished and a few specific communities are identified. I am so excited to flush out an entire experience based in Mixby to really see how audiences can interact with the app. I would love to continue making recommendations to the brand and also help out with some of the design specifics!

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Texas Immersive Institute’s mission imagines the unknown into existence and helps our community live at the intersection of culture and commerce where consumers engage through digital, physical and voice environments. FMI: immersive.moody.utexas.edu

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Caroline Cox

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