Creating an iPhone app for the social lives of things




View the Site

Itizen, a start-up that gets people to track the social stories of non-human things, were just up-and-running with a website – but they wanted an iPhone app to truly launch their business, and they needed it fast for a tradeshow that loomed large on their calendar.

People have stories, and many of them happen to be about things that somehow just mean something to them. Itizen personifies these…noncitizens, and shares the stories of gifts, works of art, hand-me-downs and keepsakes through their owners, creators, recipients, and all who come to know Itizen, and use it.

Itizen makes “Trackit tags” with QR (quick response) codes that can be scanned by a smart phone, or, entered manually using the corresponding numeric code – after which life goes on indefinitely for tagged items. Through Itizen, as secondhand items are passed along, their longer shelf lives are lived-out and further shared online.

With less than a month to work toward Itizen’s committed public unveiling, we integrated layout, artwork, and styles into the application’s screens, controls, and icons. To make it work on iPhones, we ported a C library to work within iOS – and figured out how to use the iPhone’s video camera to capture QR codes. Design integration included high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 retina display capabilities.

Shortly after the iPhone app launched, buyers and collectors continued telling stories started by artists who created posters for ArtCrank.

As Dori Graff, one of Itizen’s three cofounders, said to The New York Times: “Our big superlofty goal would be to influence a shift in how people view their possessions.”


86 projects in project archives, showing 38 of 86.