December 22, 2013

My thoughts on the Narrative Clip

About a week ago I received my Narrative Clip KickStarter purchase! I wore daily for four days and below are some first quick thoughts. I've commented about its Out of Box Experience (wonderful packaging, lack of useful information in manual, requires connection BEFORE using) on my Twitter feed.

People don't like the concept of me constantly taking pictures of them

Almost everyone I interacted with noticed the Clip and asked me what it was. When I explained it was an automatic camera, the initial reaction was often negative. They immediately wanted to know if it had or would take a picture of them, and when did it take pictures? My telling them that the Narrative Clip was doing it automatically and that I had no control over when the camera took a photo made their reaction even less positive.

No one stopped me from wearing the camera with them around, but people were definitely wary about the device. My friends are as technology friendly as they come, but there is a limit to the acceptance of technology that changes their definition of personal space.

I think it is interesting that we are constantly photographed via security cameras but people don't complain. But when I wear a personal camera, people notice and react negatively. I wonder if this guarded reaction will too wear off if and when it becomes commonplace? I also wonder if people are reacting to the concept of not controlling the quality or situation they are photographed in?

I got many pictures of the ceiling and mundane tasks

After uploading a few days of photos, I realized I had roughly a hundred photos of various ceilings and a huge number of photos of my steering wheel while driving. An automatic camera automatically takes plenty of pictures of boring things. And because the camera is hanging on a shirt pocket or collar, it moves around a lot and gets perspectives (angles) that aren't flattering or useful.

It takes a lot of photos

There is an option in the Narrative desktop uploader to save all of the photos it has taken to the PC. Narrative doesn't recommend this and I agree. I overruled the default and saved everything. Every time the Clip uploaded via USB, it burned almost 1GB of my precious disk space, primarily for photos of steering wheels, ceilings, and random empty spaces. There are only a few photos out of the hundreds it takes daily that are worth saving. The trick for Narrative over time will be to find and highlight those valuable photos. Needle in the haystack problem.

Narrative's mobile software is really nice

Beautiful, intuitive user experience. I like how they use a movie metaphor with time blocks that the camera has captured to show you what has been captured. If you get the chance, ask someone who has a Clip to show you the mobile software (iOS and Android, I'm discussing based on the Android version)

Next steps

I'm planning on wearing it around CES 2014 and we'll see how valuable that experience is in terms of catching and documenting all the things I see there that I want to follow up on. I'm also interested to see what happens when business people from all different demographics and psychographics interact with me wearing the Clip! I'm undecided if the Clip will join the permanent ranks of technology I use daily. CES will be a big part of the decision process.

I should end by saying I'm glad that Narrative made this product. I've seen prototypes of this concept for >10 years in research labs, and there have been plenty of cheap, wearable cameras made without a well thought-out end-to-end user experience. I'm happy that the Narrative folks jumped into the crucible with the Clip, and can't wait to see how the greater public reacts to this product. I don't think the concept of personal cameras and life-blogging will fail, but I think it might take time before the social and product constructs surrounding the product category come into focus. Narrative will get to help define that!

Post a Comment