Photo books that talk with the help of AR

May 2019 • View App

Imagine if you could play audio and video stories from the photos that sit in albums or on walls around your house. With the Anecdotal app, you can capture stories of what's happening in each photo, as told by those who tell them best.


Our mission was to transform photo books from forgotten and dust-collecting to an experience you'd never forget. Our hope was that we could give photo books new life by connecting a voice to a photo.

My Role

With just four of us in our company, I worked on the user experience with our Head of Product, Scott and our CTO, Neil to make this app a reality. I was also able to help out in Xcode toward the end of the project.

Mocks from the Anecdotal app

Early on

We created a marketing/landing page that showed a demo of the app (which was fake) to see what kind of response our target users would have. It tested well and definitely had a "wow" factor.


The users we targeted are the historians of the family. These are the people who take pictures and share on social networks. They make photo books and give them out as gifts.


Scott, our Head of Product, and I worked together to figure out the phases of the work. We had our MVP phase, then several more after that. Each phase had its own set of user stories, which are helpful to keep everyone focused on what's most important. The chunks or phases of work are helpful so that we can release and learn as often as possible.

A big part of this project was giving our CTO, Neil, the experience to program an augmented reality iOS app. We hadn't been through this experience as a team, and the timing was right, though time-boxed.

User stories from the Anecdotal app
Sketches from the Anecdotal app

User flows

I sketched out a flow for Neil and Scott to poke holes in. We iterated and solidified it to where it felt good. Neil was actively working on the app before the design was complete.


My first walkthrough of the app, I realistically took a first-timers lens to it and wrote down all the questions I had. I played as dumb as possible, which helped surface usability issues. Some were issues we could tackle, others we decided were ok especially for the first round. It's important to know which issues are worth blocking a project for, and which ones are worth figuring out.


I worked on some color schemes and various text styles for the app. I wanted something brighter after working on Kinecho, and chose a purple/green color scheme that I kept getting inspired by.

Working with Xcode

Neil and I went back and forth updating how the app worked. I was able to get into Xcode and add color and styles myself, which was the first time I had ever done this. I LOVED this experience.

Mocks from the Anecdotal app


We learned a ton about developing an app for the App Store. From all the information that Neil read up on in order to develop it, to tweaking properties in Xcode, to screenshot requirements by Apple. It set us up well to develop our next app, Cactus.

Go to the app store

"Katie is perhaps the best UX leader I've ever known. She is insightful, inspirational, and deeply passionate about her craft."

Matthew Boeckman