New: Mobile Web Apps for your Visitors!

leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
edited July 10, 2016 in SmugMug Product News
I'm pleased to announce that you can now offer Mobile/Tablet Web "Apps" for your visitors to download onto their mobile phones and tablets! Visitors can download an app of your entire site, of a specific folder, or a specific gallery.

Examples include:
- An "Aaron M Photography App"
- An app of "Jack and Jill's Wedding Galleries" (a folder of multiple galleries)
- An app of "Jack and Jill's Easter Weekend" Gallery

Just add "?mobile" to any URL and send that link to your visitors. They'll be presented with installation instructions on how to save the page to their Home Screen. Once saved to the home screen, your website will be loaded without the address bar and navigation buttons bars.

i-6HZ48CT-M.pngi-DMsk64S-M.png

The app will then be shown on the home screen:
i-VtzvvL8-M.pngi-vNGrXKs-M.png

Additionally, the Share Panel has been updated to include the "Mobile App Link" when in the "Gallery" tab, for sharing a gallery as an app.
i-wkCSj3k-M.png

For more information, visit the help page at: http://help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/93254#app
dGrin Afficionado
Former SmugMug Product Team
aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations

Comments

  • photoclickphotoclick Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins
    edited May 10, 2016
    Very good addition. Just a small suggestion. This shortcut will work only on native browser -Safari. At least on iOS. Don't know much about android. So, it would be a user friendly experience if in case the link is opened in any other than native browser- you display a message advising to open the link in Safari, for instance.
  • pilotdavepilotdave Major grins CTRegistered Users Posts: 785 Major grins
    edited May 10, 2016
    photoclick wrote: »
    Very good addition. Just a small suggestion. This shortcut will work only on native browser -Safari. At least on iOS. Don't know much about android. So, it would be a user friendly experience if in case the link is opened in any other than native browser- you display a message advising to open the link in Safari, for instance.

    Yeah, this didn't work in the Android browser I use. I did get it to work in the default browser (galaxy s6), but the instructions aren't correct for that browser. It doesn't seem possible that smugmug can get the correct instructions for every Android phone, even just the default browsers.

    Actually, I should add that it doesn't work quite right on my phone... The homescreen link opens the ?mobile page, so it includes the blue bar at the top with the instructions that are now impossible to follow since that browser has no menus.

    I guess I just don't really get it. I'm sure this will be useful to some people but even when it works, it just opens your site in a browser with no address bar. Not exactly groundbreaking. Considering the list of feature requests, this seems like an odd one to be spending time on. But that's just me.

    Dave
  • photoclickphotoclick Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins
    edited May 10, 2016
    Dave - it's a marketing toy for a photographer. "You get blah-blah... AND your own iPhone App with the pictures!! How cool is that!" ... something like that. Competition does it.. so Smugmug naturally reacts.
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited May 11, 2016
    Dave, this has been something a number of customers have been asking for and has some very useful and really awesome impacts ("Download the Aaron M Photography 'App' today!") for a lot of photographers. Obviously some features won't be for everyone but this was something that was relatively easy to do and can have a very large impact for SmugMuggers.

    It should work in the phones native browser when it's a browser that SmugMug supports (Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android) -- the problem is that some non-native browsers (like Chrome for iOS) aren't actually a different browser, they're just the native browser with some other wrappers on it. For example, Chrome for iOS is just Safari with a different bookmarks bar. Chrome for iOS appears to us as if it's Safari. I'll look into other options for detecting that it's "Chrome" and alter the instructions to mention opening in Safari.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • JillLangJillLang Big grins North CarolinaRegistered Users Posts: 42 Big grins
    edited May 20, 2016
    Doesn't work on my android phone. bummer.
    Jill

    My SmugMug Site

    My African Grey Video
  • jemostromjemostrom Chief Master of Weirdness Umeå, SwedenRegistered Users Posts: 136 Major grins
    edited May 21, 2016
    Stupid question: is the end result anything different than manually saving a web page as a "bookmark on the 'home screen'"
    Jan Erik Moström
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited May 21, 2016
    JillLang wrote: »
    Doesn't work on my android phone. bummer.
    What Android device are you using? We can look into what's going on. Are you using Chrome?
    jemostrom wrote: »
    Stupid question: is the end result anything different than manually saving a web page as a "bookmark on the 'home screen'"
    Not a stupid question at all! Yes and no - the ?mobile link gives your visitors instructions on how to save it to their home screen, which many visitors aren't aware of. It also detects if the site has been loaded from the home screen and determines whether or not to display the instructions. If launched from the home screen, it also ensures the address bar and navigation bars (top and bottom of your web browser) stay hidden so it appears to look like an app and not your web browser.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • jemostromjemostrom Chief Master of Weirdness Umeå, SwedenRegistered Users Posts: 136 Major grins
    edited May 21, 2016
    Thanks, I saw the Google announcement the same day I saw Smugmugs so I started to wonder if they were related.
    Jan Erik Moström
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited May 22, 2016
    Have you considered providing hooks into the normal mobile app (which includes offline viewing features) so that one could "subscribe" to a branded site, effectively the mobile app underneath the covers but branded as this is?

    That might get around the browser issues while providing image caching and other features, notably a faster and more pleasant browsing experience (at least in my experience it is always better than web-on-a-phone)?
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited May 23, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    Have you considered providing hooks into the normal mobile app (which includes offline viewing features) so that one could "subscribe" to a branded site, effectively the mobile app underneath the covers but branded as this is?

    That might get around the browser issues while providing image caching and other features, notably a faster and more pleasant browsing experience (at least in my experience it is always better than web-on-a-phone)?

    I'm not quite sure I follow :( Is that any different than the "Following" feature we have today in the mobile apps?
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited May 24, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    I'm not quite sure I follow :( Is that any different than the "Following" feature we have today in the mobile apps?

    Perhaps not, I need to go try it. eek7.gif

    But I think this whole push is about branding. If it's just a "you can follow person X" then yes, that's different. What I am suggesting is that people (think companies) might like to offer "their" mobile app, that is downloaded and installed as a whole separate app and icon on their phone.

    But underneath the covers it's all the same app, with a shell around it to provide branding, and JUST their photos. (And if well designed, and you install 5 of these, it's just 5 icons with a bit of data around the same shared core).

    Heck - charge a few dollars for it, and put it on the play store for them.

    Caveat -- this is not something I'm terribly interested in for me. But to me the goal behind this was incredibly well aimed, and seemed targeted an audience I think you have neglected a bit of late, the higher end pro (in favor of the masses). But the result was ... less than high end. Not saying bad, but it's not an app if it's just a browser with a different window.

    Now a real, honest, app that is branded to look like it was from your customer - that would be something I would think they would value. thumb.gif
  • BedfordWeddingPhotographyBedfordWeddingPhotography Beginner grinner ukRegistered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited June 14, 2016
    I agree with Ferguson, it does look like a quick link saved on a phone's home screen rather than an actual app. I would love to see an offline option for my clients, where they can still access their gallery in low res when they are not connected to the internet.
  • AbigayleRayPhotographyAbigayleRayPhotography Big grins Registered Users Posts: 20 Big grins
    edited June 16, 2016
    Well, I actually spoke with the support hero's last night about this, and while I think this is something nice that we can offer our clients in addition to our regular products, it has nightmare written all over it and the support hero I dealt with agreed. And I too agree that offline viewing would be a major bonus with this.

    You state that the instructions are for the devices native internet browser, great, but that browser can vary by manufacturer and device, plus lets be honest, most people add in other browsers that they are either more comfortable in using or use because of bookmarks or any other number of reasons. The point as I made last night is that I can't come up with how to do this app for every phone for my clients, nor am I going to field phone calls for hours on end from technology illiterate clients who can barely figure out how to log into their email let alone this.

    To prove my point, I actually attempted to install on my phone using 4 browsers - Native Internet Browser (IE), Chrome, Firefox and Opera Mini. The instructions for my native browser failed miserably and with Firefox and Opera there were extra hoops to jump through to get it to place the icon. Chrome was the best as the instructions seemed written for it, but again, I can't tell my client's that if they want this that they must use Chrome.

    Below are the screenshots with installation instructions, just figured I'd throw them in as they might help someone else with this.

    5d17c32a-7f06-40ba-9fcb-13f4bbc13922_zpscylb6kcl.jpg

    0b0cafc6-b6e4-451f-a57d-786197f53582_zpsvcu9f46w.jpg

    70e3fe0e-3757-4b64-8151-ff62416525e2_zpso9uyzxko.jpg
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited June 16, 2016
    Hi Michael,
    As we developed this we ran into the same issues with getting the instructions to work on every single device and every browser combination as well. The technology behind mobile browsers is tricky and leads to some of the confusion with the instructions. We did our best to be as smart as possible about detecting which browser the visitor is using and provide accurate instructions, however, sometimes we're limited by what the browser tells us and we think it's one browser when in fact its a different. The best we can hope for there is that mobile browsers get better at telling us what browser they actually are (Chrome on iOS, for example, reports that it's Safari).

    The important factor here is whether or not your visitors are able to install the web app on their devices and we've found almost always they can, even if the instructions aren't exact. The strong majority of mobile browser traffic comes from either iOS Safari or Android Chrome - both of which have accurate instructions. Windows mobile traffic is extremely low (as to be expected with the decline in Windows phone). For non-native browsers, visitors are comfortable with their phones and have learned that the 3 dots means the "menu" button and also have found the "Add to Home" button easily. We also spent some time observing behaviors and testing this with customers, and they were almost always able to install the app to their home screen without incident. The one that worries me the most is Firefox, since it has an extra screen. I'll look into providing better instructions for FireFox.

    You can be rest assured that your clients will have no problem installing the web app on their devices and should feel confident sharing it with them.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • jerryrjerryr Smugmug Customization MichiganRegistered Users Posts: 595 Major grins
    edited July 10, 2016
    Very nice functionality - I created this for a wedding client and customized their galleries/home page with an unique look and feel!

    https://michiganweddings.smugmug.com/Vollick/Home?mobile

    - jerryr
Sign In or Register to comment.