Sometimes you want to present a visual that has different ‘layers’ to it. While your main visual conveys on overall sense of understanding, there may be more nuanced details within the frame that you’d like to expand on. But, it can get confusing to continually switch between multiple frames to tell your story concisely.
What you’d like is to be able to “zoom in” to your frame, to show your audience the details necessary to fully state your case.
You can do just that with the app DESCRIPIX, from the French developer Vmotion. It’s a free app (with a paid “Pro” version, of course) that lets you annotate a visual (photo, graphic, etc) with text, web links, and even other photos. The key difference here is that the annotations are displayed pop-up style; hidden with different colored markers. Only by touching a marker does it bring up the full annotation. This means that you can have several annotations as-needed on a single image, without making the main visual overly busy and complicated.
A great example is the server rack in the video above. To add all the text, links, and other stuff onto this single image would be nearly impossible. But the small markers retain the usability of the main image, while offering a plethora of ancillary information at the viewer’s fingertips.
You can download the DESCRIPIX app for free from the Play Store. Once downloaded, you’re presented with a pretty simple menu. Each main image is called a “project”. You can open existing projects, or start a new one. New projects can be either an image on your device, or you can take a new photo on the fly and start building from there.
You simply tap on a spot in your main image, and choose whether you want to add text, a web link, or a pop-up image. Once your drop your marker, you can move it more precisely with the help of a magnifier (see below), and also rotate the marker itself, to maximize its usefulness in your main image (also below).
Creating these markers and annotations was pretty intuitive and pain-free. In fact it’s so easy you can get carried away pretty easily; in messing with different projects I had to teach myself to scale it back. That said, you can get pretty dense with the markers before it gets visually distracting.
The main app menu is equally minimal, with space to manage projects and individual files, share the app, and upgrade to the “Pro” version. These last two points are key, as after you create your annotated masterpiece, you need your audience to also have the app installed to actually utilize the pop-up functionality…..so sharing the app with your audience members is vital to getting what you want out of the app (obviously).
There is a ‘save to .pdf’ function, but when doing this you get what I call a ‘notes’ version of your image (very similar to a Powerpoint presenter view, with all the behind-the-scenes notation), in lieu of a polished annotated image.
The free app will only let you send fully editable versions of your projects. If you don’t others able to mess with your presentation, you may also want to upgrade to the Pro version ($5.49), which allows the sending of read-only projects.
In the app you can directly share your project, but it goes out as a proprietary .vsaf file, so again, your recipient/audience needs to have DESCRIPIX installed for it to be of any use.
Overall DESCRIPIX is a fun app that could be very useful. It’s obviously main limiting factor is that the interactive files are proprietary to the app itself, so you need a good install base within your target audience for your projects to be very useful. But if you need to share multi-layered visual information to a consistent group of people, DESCRIPIX could be just the tool for the job.