Pretty-looking prints, but...
I've just received one of 'those' press releases. One where everything seems so promising until you reach a key detail that makes you raise your palm to your forehead and start muttering 'Why?'
Metroprint, a British-based print provider has just unveiled its Instagram print service. It's online or you can walk in to its London store, prints are 35p a pop, and you have a choice of matt or gloss finish. So far, so good. Until you reach the all-important point where you upload your images to their servers. This vital stage in the production of your photos, photos taken on your Intergoogle-enabled smartphone, has to be done from your desktop. There's no mobile app and if you try to upload from your iPhone (as I did) you're told 'Very sorry no-can-do, because we rather need Flash.'
Really, Metroprint? You've set up a print service for a mobileography phenomenon that can't be accessed directly from a smartphone? And isn't ever likely to be accessible from a smartphone as HTML5 has won the war, leaving Flash to slink away and lick its wounds. Did you actually think this one through? Doesn't it strike you as maybe inefficient? Or perhaps counterintuitive? How about entirely contrary to the spirit of Instagram? What about really embarrassing?
If you were the only print service providing Instagram-specific photos, it might, possibly, swing in your favour. You'd be filling a gap in the market and people would probably be prepared to forgive your inconvenience because of your unique service. But you see, you're not. PostalPix is a free app, with reasonably priced paper prints and even aluminium prints. Printstagram isn't app based, but it's simple enough to upload your images straight from your phone or your desktop. It connects directly with your Instagram account, meaning there's no tiresome downloading and re-uploading, a key factor that you seem to have overlooked.
Like anything in life, people love Instagram for a heap of different reasons, but I'm certain that one of those is that it's simple to use and another is that it's verging on instantaneous. When you're setting up a print service for Instagram, no matter how high quality your prints, you have to mirror those attributes or you'll not appeal to your customer base. The workflow that you've implemented for your Instagram prints is clunky and unappealing, if I'm going to be polite about it. If I'm going to be brutally honest, by using obsolete technology for one of the hottest trends around you've made yourself look more out-of-touch than Miss Havisham stepping foot into a Soho club.
I suggest that you re-think this one, Metroprint.
As for the Metroprint Instagram service, it's available here.
Update! Metroprint got in touch with me to inform me that there is Flash-free upload option that functions from both Android and iOS devices. At the time of the press launch it was down, however. I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt that they had covered this option, but I'm far from impressed that functionality hadn't been assured when the news was announced.