I met Tarikh of Uncommon Projects a couple of weeks ago and got a preview of Steps, a cool new project designed to help users publish instructions or directions from their iPhone to the web. Uncommon Projects, based in Brooklyn, is a hardware and software design firm that has done projects like a cool series of photo bikes for Yahoo. One of the sample Steps they’ve put together online is a great introduction to the service’s potential.
At the moment, creating Steps requires the Steps iPhone application. Users start projects and add steps, with a wide variety of different types of information to include. Images and text are the two most important, but Steps also gives users the opportunity to add directional arrows that translucently sit on top of the photos. Location can also be added via GPS and seen on an included map. This allows for breadcrumb navigation using just a map in case pictures or text aren’t necessary.
The application also allows you to preview the steps before uploading them to the web. Once shared, the app can send the steps out in a tweet or an email.
The Steps app makes it incredibly simple to create instructions and the web app that Uncommon Projects has created is a perfect companion. The iPhone view feels just like the application itself, allowing users to look at maps or see the text and pictures along with every step. Viewing the Steps site from a desktop provides an equally informative view.
A Lesson in Simplicity
Steps is just the kind of application I love. It’s easy to use, simple, and beautifully designed. When the app is released, it’ll make it easier for everyone, be they chefs sharing recipes or relatives giving directions to their homes, to make easy to understand walkthroughs.