App review: Postagram doesn’t do postcards justice

06/30/2014 12:00 AM

06/28/2014 10:22 AM

I love real books, print newspapers, snail mail. To me, travel photos shared online, while wonderful, don’t deliver the same thrill as a handwritten postcard mailed from a faraway destination. And besides, I never quite manage to get any digital images out of my computer and onto a refrigerator.

Postagram tries to help.

Here’s the idea: Take a digital photograph while on vacation. Upload it to Postagram, fill in a brief (140-character max) message and an address, fork over 99 cents, and off it goes to be delivered as a glossy printed image. “Send real postcards from any device,” the app promises.

If my experience is any indication, however, you will return home before your postcard gets to its destination, which takes a bit of the fun out of it. Both times I ordered cards, they arrived more than a week later, despite the message I received from Postagram promising delivery in three to five business days.

And one time, either my card wasn’t sent at all, or I missed it. Which brings me to my second disappointment with the app.

Recipients could easily mistake the Postagram for an advertisement. It’s a 4.5-by-6-inch card with only a 3-by-3-inch image. (The photo is perforated so you can – with difficulty – punch it out.)

The image appears on one side of the card, along with your message and a QR Code that allows recipients to save the photo digitally. The code, which mostly serves to make the product look more like an ad, only works with the Postagram app, however. On the other side is the address of the recipients and the message again, this time with your name.

Given the small image, short message and ad-like look of the product, Postagram seems better suited for purposes other than sending travel postcards; the site says people use the app for invitations, thank-you notes and marketing.

My suggestions would be to make the image larger, allow space for a longer message and ditch the QR code. Or at least offer different layouts so that users can customize the cards.

This summer, I’d like to be able to send this postcard: On the front, it would have a full-size image of a beautiful beach bathed in that only-in-Cape Cod light. Or maybe a pile of lobsters. Or a cedar-shingled cottage surrounded by flowers.

On the back, it would have a wish-you-were-here message.

And it would get to where it was going before we returned.

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