Set it up once... Then just print & repeat.
Everyone and their mother can design photo books these days, and there’s many different software solutions out there that can help you do that. But that becomes hard when it’s not just your own family vacation album, but all of your clients’ vacation albums as well, and more! The challenge OneClickLayout is trying to solve is when you’re a content-heavy online platform, you have many clients, many photos, and too few interns to drag photos into layout programs all day. Yet you still want to provide high quality photo albums to your users. OneClickLayout facilitates this process by giving businesses a host of branding, layout and design options to create photo book templates that match its vision and design for their clients.
One of the hardest problems to tackle with OneClickLayout was finding a balance between offering full hand-tailored customisation and a standard template that looks the same for everyone.
We took a data-driven thinking approach to solving this challenge. We thought of a photo book in the same way as an urban planner thinks about cities. Slicing up each page to give as much possible space and flexibility - all while not knowing what the contents will be and maintaining a common aesthetic. We learned a lot from the conversations with our clients. They had strongly defined ideas on how they wanted their photo books to look. With this list of requirements and examples, we were able to design a system that allows for customisation.
We’ve built an API in Node.js that businesses can interact with and integrate with their tech stack, to allow automated generation of photo books based on their custom template. We’ve also developed a dashboard in React where businesses can login and manage their templates and layouts, see orders that have been made and manage their company information.
Cutting edge web technology is what made this level of customisation possible, heavily utilising the modern CSS grid property for pixel perfect layout, Microsofts Typescript for catching bugs before they appear, Google’s Puppeteer for browser automation and extensive code testing to enable seamless continuous integration and deployment.
Clients were more than happy to share their thoughts and contribute to the conversation on what this product was going to look like. What we learned was that engaging with clients early in the development process makes collaboration much easier and creates better outcomes for all parties.
We hope that by automating the tedious process of creating photo book layouts we can enable businesses to offer their clients an unforgettable experience by offering them beautiful printed photo books that captured the feeling of their first backpacking trip through Asia, their bohemian wedding, an exciting family trip in the mountains or whatever matters most to them.