By Adrienne Clairmont
There’s a difference between a good photo and a great photo, although the subtleties are often difficult to appreciate in our current mobile environment.
Photo-sharing apps can go so far as to force a user to crop and compromise the integrity of their image so that it will fit within some pre-designated box.
MUROL is a new Minneapolis based startup founded by entrepreneur Henry Amoloja that offers an entirely new photo-sharing experience by presenting full-screen images to the user in landscape mode.
His approach, while relatively simple in theory, turns the photo-sharing world on its head.
Traditional platforms like Instagram and Flickr lock images in what photographers would call “portrait mode”, or the vertical orientation that aligns with how we typically hold our screens.
It’s an element that lends itself well to the social aspects of the app, but does little to highlight the image itself.
MUROL, on the other hand, gives the user an immersive, intimate experience, allowing access to the image with their entire screen. Its very interface differentiates itself from other photo-sharing platforms by forcing the image creators to present content with depth, an element which has been embraced by the apps primary users in the photography and graphic design community.
As Amoloja explains it, “MUROL isn’t Snapchat, it’s not take a selfie on a Friday night, it’s an app where there needs to be quality behind the content you produce.”
Offering a simple, clean and intuitive user experience, MUROL eschews the traditional social element of other image-sharing experiences, removing all icons, tabs, comments, and general distractions, leaving the user only the images on the screen.
As you scroll vertically, the photo blankets the screen, focusing on the aesthetic and the quality of the image. To date, it is the only photo-sharing platform available that locks the image in landscape mode.
Inspiration for the application struck when a photographer friend of Amoloja’s shared a gorgeous panoramic view of a Vietnamese mountain on Instagram. The wide-angle photo was restricted by Instagram’s interface, preventing viewers from appreciating the entire image. To see more of the photo, Amoloja was forced to screenshot the image and look at it within his own photo library.
The experience planted the idea that something different, something better, was not only possible — but needed.
MUROL, which is Amoloja’s first app, officially launched in the App Store on June 21st after months of beta testing within the photography community. The team has planned a strong social marketing push to follow the launch as they hope to reach 10,000 downloads as a next step.