Checkthis is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s an extension of the company’s Web-based “social posters” offering and shares many common design elements, but is its own distinct product specifically designed for smartphones. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store.
Checkthis’ core principle is to allow users to tell stories using a combination of text, images and polls. Essentially, it is a lightweight proprietary blogging platform with social hooks to other platforms. It’s designed specifically to be quick and easy to use on the go using a smartphone, and the “stories” it creates are also designed to look good on the small screen.
To use Checkthis, users must sign up either using their email address or Facebook. From here, they are prompted to add friends from Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram and follow some suggested users, though this step may be skipped if desired. Once all this is done, they are taken into the app proper.
Creating a new story is a simple matter of tapping the Create button in the top-right corner of the screen, at which point the user is taken to a blank page. From here, they may add a title and customize its font from one of 12 different presets, customize the background color of the page (though not the text — text will instead automatically change from the default black-on-light to white-on-dark if the background color selected is towards the darker end of the spectrum), add text, add images and add polls. Users may make stories as long or short as they please, and current users of the platform appear to be using it in a variety of ways. Some are sharing individual images much like other mobile-social networks like Instagram. Others are sharing sets of images from a particular event. Others still are writing longer blog post-style stories with a combination of text and images.
The development team are active users of their own service, and post regularly to keep users abreast of new updates and upcoming features. The built-in poll functionality also means they can use their posts as a means of soliciting feedback directly from the community without having to go via a third-party polling or feedback solution. The developers seem keen to engage with the community and make the ongoing development process of the app as transparent as possible, which is reassuring to users.
Once a post has been created, it can be saved to drafts for later review and editing, or posted onto the Checkthis network. At the same time, it may also be shared on Facebook and Twitter, allowing those who do not currently use Checkthis the opportunity to browse the user’s creation and interact with it. The main mobile Checkthis network allows for the usual likes and comments, but also tracks “reactions” such as stories being shared on Twitter, and the number of views each story has received. Those who enjoy the more competitive aspect of social media will doubtless enjoy the latter feature as they attempt to create the next viral sensation.
On the whole, Checkthis is a solid app that produces some good-looking content. It’s perhaps questionable as to its benefit over a dedicated blogging platform such as WordPress or the more mobile-friendly Tumblr, but it’s certainly a pretty flexible mobile-social network that offers something a little more than the usual Instagram clones do. It remains to be seen whether or not it will enjoy success in the long term, but it’s certainly off to a good start, offering prospective content creators a quick and easy means to publish their thoughts and photos on the go.
You can follow Checkthis’ progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.