Trendabl is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and is presently featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page.
Trendabl is a mobile-social network designed to allow lovers of fashion to connect with one another. At its heart, it is a close copy of Instagram, allowing users to take photographs (or import from their device’s photo library), apply visual filters to them and then post them online, optionally sharing to other services in the process.
The app is split into five main components, accessible once the user has signed up for an account using Facebook, Twitter or what the app calls “the old-fashioned way.” There was a bit of a glitch during signup for me — I signed in with Facebook, picked a username and the app then dropped the Internet connection, causing signup to fail. When attempting to re-register my username, the app informed me that my username was already taken, but quitting out and attempting to re-register using Facebook fixed the issue.
The five components are a feed of content from the user’s friends, a feed of popular content, a feed which can be filtered by category of clothing, and the user’s profile page. The user may also search for specific content from both the “friends” feed and the category browser.
Viewing a post shows the user the image along with any additional information the poster added. Hashtags are automatically converted into tappable hyperlinks, allowing the user to view related content with a single tap. Beneath the image are buttons allowing users to like, comment, share and flag the post. These buttons are much too small and difficult to press accurately on the small screen of the iPhone. Comments are not particularly engaging at present, with the vast majority of community members posting little more than “follow me!” style messages — and in many cases, attempting to get people to follow them on Instagram rather than Trendabl.
To submit a new post, the user must simply press the camera button at the bottom-middle of the screen, at which point the camera interface appears and a photograph may be taken or a photo imported from the device’s photo library. After taking or importing a photo, the user may apply an Instagram-esque visual filter (with or without a “frame,” just like Instagram) and then select up to three clothing categories to file the photo under. A flaw in the interface causes the “select up to 3 categories” instruction to appear while the user is selecting a visual filter, causing some confusion.
After finalizing the photo, the last step is to add additional information. Optionally, the user may add a caption to the picture, and may also add specific information including brand, color, price and the store in which it was purchased. The app is pre-populated with a wide variety of searchable information in all of these categories, allowing users to easily file their photos under the correct tags, though in all cases the user has the option to add a new tag if the one they are looking for is not present. Very few of the popular photos at the time of writing are making use of this comprehensive tagging facility, which is a shame, as it is the main distinguishing feature between Trendabl and other mobile-social photo sharing services.
Once the information has been added if desired, the photo may be posted to Trendabl and optionally to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. There is no facility to make a “private post,” unlike many other mobile-social networks. Other users may then like, comment, share and flag the user’s post, and the user will receive notifications of these events in the app.
Trendabl is a solidly-designed app — tiny, difficult-to-press buttons aside — but at present it doesn’t seem to be encouraging users to engage with it in the way in which it was intended. There is very little discussion going on in the comments for popular posts, and users just simply don’t seem to be making much use of the tagging facility. Given the apparent reluctance for users to enjoy this app’s most distinctive features, it becomes tough to recommend it in good conscience; it’s perhaps one to check back on in a few months after the initial influx of users has calmed down and the dedicated community starts to find its feet a bit. For now, sad to say, it’s little more than an Instagram wannabe.
You can follow Trendabl’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.