Anitello: Animated How-to Videos for Life's Little Problems

This app is not currently available in the App Store.

anitello-iphone-appAnitello is an app designed to provide "clarifying animations" to "entertain and assist." The animations cover basic tasks such as jumpstarting a battery or cooking a steak — simple stuff that people frequently have questions about. Sounds pretty good so far.

Each silent video lasts about a minute and can be viewed with captions in seven different languages. The best feature though, is the zoom option which offers a second animation with more detailed instructions for specific steps.

Regular AppCraver readers will know that I'm a big fan of paid apps. I believe that developers deserve to get paid for their hard work and good ideas. And, I think it's shameful that most users are willing to tip their barista more than they pay app developers. However, in this case, I think that Anitello is overpriced. How-to videos are a good idea, but this app is too raw to charge full price. Anitello should be a $0.99 app. Here's why.

Anitello starts off with 6 animations — 7 if you count the animated "help" video. The Anitello website says more videos are on the way, and are asking for feedback from users about what type of how to videos they'd like to see. If you like getting in on the ground floor, now is the time. In fact, it doesn't get much more ground floor than this.

Although you can pause the app at anytime — and even zoom in for more detailed instructions — there is no way to rewind. This may seem minor, but if you're jumpstarting a car, you may have to start again from the beginning when told to "remove jumper cables in the reverse order in which you attached them."

I applaud the people who can take complex problems and then break down solutions into a few easy steps that laymen can understand. It's a very special skill. However, in some cases Anitello's "instructions" are overly simplistic. Trying to find safety in a thunderstorm? "A building is also a good shelter." Hmmm... If you don't know enough to come in from the rain then I doubt an iPhone app is going to be much help.

Another issue with Anitello is that it requires an Internet connection to watch the animations. Once again, it's a design choice that defies logic. "Wherever you are, you usually have a mobile phone at hand," say the developers. "Anitello and the animations are always within reach."

Well, if you need instructions for tasting wine then you better hope that the wine bar has WiFi because downloading video without is enough to drive you to drink. On the other hand if you're still on the Edge network, your wine will have plenty of time to breathe.

I admit, it's a pain to download a 440MB app filled with video animations. (We did it recently with Italian Video Recipes.) But, I think most users would rather spend a little extra time installing the app than be unable to make a paper airplane while in airplane mode. Other apps have solved this problem by downloading videos as they're requested but thereafter keeping the video on the device, but even this is a lackluster solution in my opinion.

Anitello could end up being a great resource. The animations are quality and the graphics are polished, but the app just isn't "there" yet. Buy now and you can send in your suggestions to help make the app better. Or you can wait for an update or two and see if the features improve. Personally, I'll keep the app around. The videos are entertaining and I'm curious to see where this goes next.

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This app is not currently available in the App Store.

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