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Lifestyle App


Picstage is an internet time capsule. Users can purchase squares on the grid to take part in this collective project.

Front End: Swift
Back End: Node.js
Database: MySQL
Host Server: AWS

Picstage can be thought of as an internet time capsule, with contents curated by those of our generation. Participating is easy – download the app, find and tap on a blank square, upload an image, and confirm.”

That’s the vision from Van Druce, CEO of Zrim LLC.

Describing their concept to us, the company stated that they wanted to make the next “Million Dollar Homepage” in app form.

The original Million Dollar Homepage was a single-page website with 1 million pixels. Users could purchase a pixel for $1. Many companies purchased group of pixels so they could create a recognizable image for users to click.

Zrim wanted to sell space in Picstage to the company’s social media followers. These followers are not exactly corporations with budgets for lavish purchases. They’re young individuals, and the company expected that most users would purchase pixels to share pictures of themselves and their friends. The problem was, even a small 200 x 200 photo would cost $40,000 with the “Million Dollar App” model.

To address this challenge, Nexus recommended significantly increasing the size of the grid. Instead of a user buying a pixel for $1, we decided to allow users to buy 4,096 pixels for $1.

4,096 pixels may sound like a lot, but it actually allows the user to upload a tiny photo – just 64 x 64. We decided on this increment since it was just enough for people to see the subject of each photo.

To boost revenue, and to allow users to buy bigger spaces on the grid, we also decided to sell:

  • 4 squares (128 x 128) for $3.99 (16,384 pixels)
  • 9 squares (192 x 192) for $8.99 (36,864 pixels)

Dramatically expanding the number of pixels in each image presented a development challenge: How could we load a grid that shows hundreds of thousands of images at once without crashing a phone?

We decided to combine all uploaded images into one image, and program a system that would manually update and stitch together this image on a recurring basis.

To do this, we needed to correctly place users’ images in the correct square that each user purchased. To solve this, we used a Python package called Pillow that was compatible with our Django back end.

Zrim wanted to focus on the iOS market, so we built the app in Swift for optimal performance on iPhones and iPads.

Additionally, Zrim needed a system that would allow a virtual assistant to quickly review and approve user submissions. For this, we created a custom admin panel with a Tinder-like UI. In our panel, the admin can simply swipe left on a photo they don’t approve and swipe right on every photo they approve.

Zrim hoped to offer users a special, public space where they could commemorate and memorialize special events. We’re proud to have brought this vision to life.

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