A mere ten days ago, I was scrolling down the photo stream in Instagram, when one of my favorite Instagramer mentioned having just posted a photo story in a new (to me) App called Steller. A photo story? How would that work? I was intrigued, so I had a look. It was love at first sight!
I just had to share about this visually stunning and fun App with you.
Above from left: 1. my Steller home page, where photo stories by people I follow are featured as well as extra ones; 2. the Steller Explore page, where they feature stories they particularly enjoy and divide them into categories – three of mine have already been featured 🙂 3. A sample page from one of my stories.
Below from left: 1. my Steller profile page; 2. scrolling down my Steller profile page; 3. my full Steller profile, which can be ‘hidden’ using the tiny little up and down arrow next to my handle @lifeoutofbounds.
I am assuming that Steller is for S (story) + teller. Structured (in appearance) similarly to Instagram, Steller allows you to expand from it, creating multi-page stories with images, video and text that can be viewed as e-books. And it works as a social media, where you can like stories, choose to follow a particular story teller you like, create collections, share stories through other social media…. You can even republish a story you particularly enjoyed by another teller into one of your own collections without copyright infringement. Republishing will not affect the file at all, which will remain as is, and provide the original teller’s information. Of course, this works the same way when another teller republished one of your stories. Isn’t that brilliant?
Above from left are sample pages from a few of my stories: 1. a story cover; 2. a sample text page; 3. a sample photo page.
Below from left are also sample pages from my own profile: 1. the next-to-last page of one of my stories, where information is provided and hashtags are added; 2. the last page, which is automatically created at the end of every story, showing the profile of the story teller, with actionable options as well as further suggested stories by the same teller and others; 3. my ‘Collections’ page with a few of my collections.
One of the great things about Steller that Instagram is missing is the possibility to add clickable links, so readers who wish to see more and know more can do so without leaving the App. The links open within the App, and you also have the possibility to share such open link however you wish (unlike Facebook which tries to hoard everything). When you close the link, you are back in Steller, without having to flip around on your iPhone for it.
Creating and publishing a story is really easy, and you are offered easy-to-follow prompts and options at every step, without things becoming overwhelming. You get to choose among several themes, which are offered in different styles and have further page style options within themselves. Photo pages and text pages also offer various lay out styles. You can create e-books that have as many pages as you like, though I can tell you from experience that, unless your story is particularly stunning and captivating, going longer than, say, thirty or forty pages is pushing the reader’s patience. I have also seen 1 or 2-page stories, and those are more annoying than anything. It is a matter of balance.
Above from left: 1. the selectable themes – if you hold your finger on one, you get to preview the theme; 2. a preview of the ‘Hyde’ theme; 3. a preview of the ‘Classic’ theme.
Below from left, creating a new story: 1. the cover of the new story I am creating; 2. a text page within that same new story; 3. I had to pause, so I saved the draft, which goes into the draft page on my profile.
The spectrum of stories shared is quite wide, from a day’s hike to the local lake, to someone’s new kittens, to a professional photographer’s stunning shots with technical details and tips, to recipes, video-stories of motorcycle rides, someone’s week…. You will not be bored.
Below from the left are three of my favorite stories by tellers I am currently following:
1. Waterfall Way, by @nwimages, exploring gorgeous waterfalls in New South Wales.
2. Greased Lightning, by @spectatia_, featuring stunning American cars from the 1950’s.
3. Kuisine 2014, part II, by @kuisine, a newly discovered food blogger from Switzerland who does stunning photography
There are more, of course, and I discover new ones every day. The Steller community, which is growing larger by the day, is similar to the Instagram one: people who love photography, travel, food etc. and enjoy sharing their stories and looking at yours. So far all the comments I have seen have all been positive and, for now at least, there is a refreshing lack of spam.
Like on Instagram, your account can be public or private, as you wish.
One thing I would like to see automatically embedded is a publishing date. Sometimes I am looking at a story that says “This week we attended this event…..” and I have no idea when “this week” was. Sometimes it does not matter, and sometimes it does. Also, it would be helpful to people like me who need to keep track of what is posted and when on several different platforms.
The Steller App – created by Mombo Labs – can be downloaded from the iTunes store for free, though it is currently only available to iPhone users. I hope that soon an Android version will be developed so even more people will be able to enjoy it.
Are you on Steller? Let me know and I can check out your stories! As you can tell from the images above, my profile is @lifeoutofbounds, so easy to find.
Are you using any other story-telling App for iPhone/Android and/or iPad/tablet? What is your experience? Any one App you are particularly loving? I would love to know, so please share about it in the comments.