Seesaw is a simple mobile-social network designed to help people make decisions or solicit opinions. The basic concept is that users may take one or more photographs and then invite friends, followers and/or the community at large to pick between several options. At the time of writing, examples included people asking which one of several outfits was the “cutest,” whether people liked a photograph, whether people were aware of specific brands, and which sport they should take up as a means of stress relief.
Signing up for Seesaw requires that users hand over their phone number and tap on a link sent to them via SMS message, after which they must create a username and provide their email address. There is no alternative means of signing up or logging in via a social network, and Seesaw’s justification is that using phone numbers makes it easier to find friends. While this may be true, some users may have privacy concerns and prefer the option to sign in via other means — it would probably be to Seesaw’s benefit to provide such an option.
Once in, the app is split into five main sections, each accessible via a toolbar across the bottom of the screen. The display defaults to the “Explore” view, in which users can see recent public posts from the community as a whole, answer the questions and comment on them. It’s also possible for users to tap through and view the results of an individual post’s poll — including who voted for what — without having to vote themselves. Voting on a poll, meanwhile, replaces the checkmark buttons with percentages showing what proportion of voters answered with each choice. In this way, the user can see if their opinion conforms with other users.
The other four parts of the app include a home screen, which shows a feed of posts from all followed users; an Invitations page, where users can review posts they have been specifically invited to; a profile page, where users may review their past posts, votes, followers and followees, and finally the opportunity to create a new post.
Creating a new post requires the user to add between one and four images from their device’s camera, photo library or a Google Images search, and then add some text asking the question or explaining what the choice is. Tapping on the individual photographs also allows users to set a title for each one, which will help to make other users’ answers clearer. The question may then be made either public or private, and shared with specific friends from the device’s contact list. Once the post has been made, it can be promoted using Twitter or Facebook or sent directly to other friends. The app also provides the option for users to copy the link to their question or open it in Safari. The Web-based version of the question allows those without the app to vote and comment, and when viewed on an iOS device it is able to detect whether or not the Seesaw app is installed and provide a link to either the App Store or to open the app accordingly.
Seesaw is a simple idea that is well-implemented, and the fact it works as both a native iOS app and on the open Web will help it to reach a relatively wide audience. Comparisons will naturally be drawn to Thumb, with which Seesaw shares a considerable amount of conceptual DNA, but each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Thumb limits itself to yes/no answers with a single image, for example, but allows users to target their questions at a specific demographic. Seesaw, meanwhile, has no such control over the target of each question (except for sending it to specific contacts), but does allow more flexbility in composing the question by allowing multiple-choice answers rather than yes/no responses.
Ultimately, Seesaw is a fun social diversion for those who enjoy giving and soliciting opinions, but as a tool for taking more complex, structured feedback it’s somewhat wanting. It’s questionable as to whether it’s particularly “useful” as such, but the app is well-designed, seems stable and performs the functions it says it will, making it at least worth a look for users who enjoy that sort of thing.
You can follow Seesaw’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.