If you’ve ever taken part in a collaborative brainstorming session, you know one thing: follow-through is everything. Without it, even the greatest ideas in the world can suffer death by premature fadeout. As we’ve come to learn, there’s an app for that. There are actually lots of apps for that, but one in particular claims to assure the survival of creative momentum better than others. It’s called Bounce by IdeaPaint.
Newly available for iOS (and promising an Android release soon), Bounce aims to be every iOS user’s go-to app for fostering continued collaboration long after the initial creative spark has dwindled and the caffeine high has worn off. It works by using your iPhone camera to capture images of things like whiteboards, flipcharts and notebooks so you can refer to them later and share them around as needed to keep projects going.
Launching the app gives you the option to snap a photo, import one from your gallery, or create a new project. If you’ve already created projects, these are populated on the app’s main screen and organized in descending order from the most recent.
Creating from scratch is done by snapping a photo, or by tapping the plus icon and following the prompts to add a title, a description, and the email addresses of your co-collaborators. Photos can be added at the start of the process or taken later on. The app includes a no-frills crop tool with basic functionality. There’s also an auto image cleanup tool that does a fairly decent job, but nothing miraculous. You can overlay handwritten text onto an image using a pencil tool that offers four colors – red, blue, green or black. There’s also an eraser tool present for backtracking.
Images can be tagged with annotations that show up as numbered circles on the image and appear as footnotes when a project is shared. To add annotation, just tap on the image and type your note. Sharing occurs via email, which sends a unique project-related URL to recipients (you can also incorporate projects with Google Drive and Dropbox).
Sharing a project will send push notifications to collaborators who have the app installed and notifications turned on. Although you’re required to create an account when installing Bounce, collaborators don’t have to do the same to receive project updates via email. They will have to have the app installed on their mobile device to contribute to the discussion, though, which is really the whole point.
By all indication, Bounce is a potentially powerful app but to this point it remains a work in progress. The interface is lean and uncluttered, and the layout of the main page is attractive – but the app itself is not as intuitive or straightforward as it may need to be for it to realize its potential with bigger audiences. Expect some of this to change as user feedback pours in.
Bounce by IdeaPaint is available now as a free download from iTunes and requires iOS 8.0 or later. It’s also compatible with iPad and iPod touch, but was optimized for iPhones 5 through 6 Plus.