Digit Geek
Digit Geek > Recent Articles > Science > NASA really does not know how to make a selfie app

NASA really does not know how to make a selfie app

To celebrate 15 years of the launch of the Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA has released two new apps. One is a VR experience of the Trappist-1 system, and the other is a selfie app, leaves much to be desired.  

Once you fire up the app, you will know instantly what is wrong. The UI is not intuitive, it is bare bones, and clumsy. You have to take a selfie in the landscape mode! There is no reason why it should be this way because the same functionality can be offered in the portrait mode as well. It is really awkward to take a selfie in the landscape mode because you don’t really know where to aim your eyes at. Additionally, it is very possible that your finger is going to be over the camera just when you are about to take a photo! The icons and UI look like they were made by kindergarten kids, 15 years ago.

Once your face is pasted into a space suit, there is an option to change the background. Now this could just be implemented as a series of swipes. Instead, you have to fire up a menu, and then use a scroll option to get the background you want from a long list. There is no realtime preview of the backgrounds while you are doing this. Even a transparent menu could have solved this problem.

Instead, you have to scroll, select an option, decide it looks like trash, then select another option, and repeat the process. The random option is some mercy though. Seriously though, any kid could do a better job with Photoshop.

Then there is the sharing functionality which has much to be desired. This is not really that complicated, you need to share to Facebook, Twitter, maybe Instagram. Instead, you are offered options such as email, message and notes. Even WhatsApp is a swipe away. Even if you save to the camera roll, there is no clear on screen indication that the image has been saved. Although the image does get saved, a prompt to share appears instead. It is unclear to the user what happens if you cancel this prompt, till you go to the photo gallery and check. 

All of these silly problems take away from the breathtaking images that the Spitzer telescope has captured, as well as the science behind these images. The idea, at heart is very sound, but NASA can definitely make a better selfie app. Come on, it is not like it is rocket science! 

Aditya Madanapalle

Aditya Madanapalle

An avid reader of the magazine, who ended up working at Digit after studying journalism, game design and ancient runes. When not egging on arguments in the Digit forum, can be found playing with LEGO sets meant for 9 to 14-year-olds.