Adobe Slate is a new app for iPad which allows you to mix photos with text and web links to create photo stories which you can share online. Although the iPad is where you create the story, you don’t need one to view one of the stories.
Slate creates a web link which you can view on any device or web browser, being responsive to whichever device it’s viewed on.
The app is available as a free download from the iOS store, for iPad only. You need an iPad 2 or later, and you need to be running iOS8.
Ease of Use
Adobe has designed this app specifically to be easy to use, allowing you to put together a story within just a few minutes - and for the most part that is true.
When you first load up the app, you’ll be prompted to sign in to get started. You can either sign up for a free Adobe ID, use an existing one (useful if you already have an Adobe Creative Cloud account), or alternatively, sign in with Facebook (useful if you have no interest in creating an Adobe account).
Once you’re signed into the app, you’ll see a number of example projects which have already been uploaded which you can browse through. It makes sense to take a look at these projects to give you inspiration and get a feel for how your own story will look.
At the top of the app you’ll see some large text which says “Create a New Story”. Once you have already created a project, you’ll be able to view them in the Projects section of the app. We’ll come back to that later.
Creating a new story is very simple. Once you've pressed the create option, you can add a title and subtitle to get started. To add a cover photo for your story, click on the photo icon underneath the title. Here you’ll see a number of useful options.
First up, you can search for photos online which have been licensed for Creative Commons usage - which basically gives you certain rights to use a photo depending on the licence which the uploader has agreed to. It can be helpful to use these kinds of photos if you’re putting together a project and need an image you haven’t managed to create yourself.
Of course, it’s more likely you’ll want to use your own photos and there are a number of different options available here. You can choose photos from your iPad, you can take a picture with your iPad, or, what is perhaps more likely if you’re wanting to create something from a special set of photos, is to add photos from your Creative Cloud Account, Lightroom or Dropbox.
Before you decide to start making a photo story, it makes sense to ready the photos you want to include either via CC, Lightroom or Dropbox, especially if your internet upload speed is a little slow. It’s also worth remembering that you can resize images for web on your computer to make them quicker to upload. Once you have selected a cover photo, you can choose the way it appears in a vertical position by pressing a target icon and moving the picture around the screen.
Once you’re happy with the way your cover looks, it’s time to start compiling your photo. Scroll down the page to start, and here you’ll see a + icon. Tap this to be presented with four different options: photo, text, link and photo grid.
These are all pretty self-explanatory, Tapping photo will once again allow you to choose a single photo from all of the previously mentioned locations. You can also add a caption to any photo you add. The text section allows you to add large swathes of text - if you have a lot to say, typing on an iPad can be a little annoying, so it’s useful if you have a keyboard accessory to use. Alternatively, you can also add larger text to act as a header or subheader. It would perhaps be nice to have a few more options for the way fonts look. You can add a link to to any webpage, and a button will be created in your page with the webpage link.
Adding a photo grid allows you to add a group of photos together. Tap photo grid, and then you can choose photos from the same places as before. It would be helpful if you could select more than one photo at a time when you’re choosing from Creative Cloud, but unfortunately, you have to select one at a time. It’s quicker if you’re adding photos from your iPad, so a workaround could be to send or save photos to your iPad when you want to create a story.
You can add as many single photos, text boxes, links or photo grids as you want, you just keep going until you’re satisfied with the way the story is laid out. You can slightly alter the look of photo grids by pressing arrows on each photo to change the order, or pressing the star icon to make a photo bigger within the grid. It would be nice if there were more grid layout options, though.
Once you have added as many photos / text sections you’re going to add, you may want to think about changing the Theme. You do this by tapping a wand icon in the top right hand corner of the screen. From here you’ll be able to see all the different options available, simply tap each one to see real time changes to your story. Any time you want to check how your story will look to somebody else, you can tap the triangle icon to be taken to a preview.
You can upload your completed story once you’ve finished by tapping the upload icon in the top right hand corner of the screen. You have a few options here, including where you can share it. You can share it on social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, or you can simply create the story and copy the link to your clipboard, allowing you to send it to somebody in a text message or email. It can take a little while for your story to be uploaded, depending on the speed of your internet connection.
Going back to the Home Screen, if you tap on the Projects page, you can see any of the Projects that you have created. Even those that have already been published, you can still open and edit. Yo will need to reupload your project if you want any edits you’ve made to take effect.
The Slate app is very simple and quick to use, and therein lies both its beauty and its drawbacks.
It’s a nice app to use when you want to create a story which you can share with friends, so it’s useful for creating holiday, wedding, event and so on photo albums. The ability to add text is a nice touch, but if you’re using an iPad only, it can be a little frustrating typing a lot on the iPad screen.
The finished product looks very sophisticated, and the fact that you can create something in mere minutes is very impressive. It’s ideal for those that don’t have any knowledge, or time, to create webpages from scratch.
Although the app is for iPad only, it’s great that you can send the link to anybody to view on any device - as the resulting story is responsive, it looks great on tablets, phones and web browsers.
However, because it’s so simple, those that want a little more control may get a little frustrated by the limited number of options available. As a free app though, it’s obviously extremely good value.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||5|