Imagery has always been important, but it would seem that our obsession with it is growing by the minute. Pinterest is so hot right now, and I honestly don’t even need to talk about Instagram, or that Facebook bought the $0-revenue producing app for a hefty $1 billion. And, of course, Draw Something by OMGPOP enjoyed similar success.
So it’s really no surprise that entrepreneurs are trying to cash in on our obsession with pretty pictures, which is exactly what a new app called Doodle.ly is doing. The app soft-launched back in July to get a round of public beta users on the platform, with an official iPad app launch in February. But the app still wasn’t quite ready to go big or go home until now, thanks to the addition of a few key social features to keep users coming back for more.
But before I get ahead of myself, I should probably explain what Doodle.ly is all about. The app is essentially a drawing pad, but far and away one of the most full-featured and usable drawing pad apps I’ve ever seen. There are a wide range of color options, and you can use anything from a marker to a pencil to a pen to a highlighter. Plus, the app registers the speed at which you make a mark (either with your finger or a stylus) and creates a thicker line the faster you draw. This is about as close as you can get to pressure sensitivity on the iPad without running out and buying an S-Pen-toting Galaxy Note.
Today, Doodle.ly is adding a new social layer that should help the app grow past the seedling phase. Thus far, the app has seen over 20,000 downloads and Doodle.ly is currently a few clicks away from hitting the 300,000 mark in site visits. It’s important to remember that these numbers were earned without any advertising or social functionality whatsoever. Yet, that’s about to change.
Doodle.ly is now offering the ability to “like” drawings, along with push notifications for when other users “like” your work. There will also be a new “Popular” tab to see the very best doodles on the platform. For any community app to be successful, a popular category and a like function are basically must-have, so I’m glad to see these social features trickle into the app.
I asked co-founder Darren Paul whether or not commenting would ever come into play, and he said it’s a difficult line to walk. “I don’t want anyone to work hard on a drawing and be met with negativity, so we need to really think about it,” said Paul. “We’re also considering drawn comments, rather than text comments.”
Of course, traction relies on more than just numbers — quite a bit rides on who (and not how many) are using the app. Luckily for the company, Doodle.ly has a fan in Twitter co-founder Evan Williams who doodled this impressive self-portrait a few days ago.
Unfortunately, this makes the company no money, which will eventually be a problem. The good news, however, is that Doodle.ly could turn out to be an awesome way to connect brands with consumers. In fact, Doodle.ly tested out this theory with the New Jersey Devils hockey team by asking sports fans to draw out their best Devils doodle. The winner had her drawing on every towel in the stadium, but what’s really great is that over 600 people submitted their drawings within the app, and approximately 20,500 votes were tallied. It’s a win-win.
You can download the iPad app for free now from the Apple App Store.