Scalado – ImageZoom 1.2 review

interactive images for Web catalogues
Photo of Scalado – ImageZoom 1.2
£699 + VAT

It’s not immediately clear from this product’s strapline – “Create and publish interactive content on your website” – what it does. In fact, it’s a means of making Web images and photographs of a particular object more interactive, so that the viewer can rotate and zoom in on a particular product that they find interesting.

The way ImageZoom does this is by means of an editor and a viewer. The editor is the part that the Web developer uses to create the interactive images in the first place, while the viewer is a 50KB Java applet that is downloaded from the Web site by the user’s browser. This is done quietly in the background, so there’s no annoyance to the user, although those with Java disabled won’t see the interactive image.

The editor looks just like any other Windows image editor, except that you don’t actually edit the images themselves. Instead, you might start with several different pictures of a product; one of the back, one of the side and one of the front, for example. By placing these in the appropriate navigation slot, you can then get the program to create a transition between them. It’s not exactly 3D, but it does look fairly good. You can also set up a series of zoom boxes, which will dynamically take the user further into the product picture. This works well and is good for showing small detail in large products.

Once you’re happy with the various transitions – and there are several different modes and options from which to choose – you then click ‘publish’ and the whole lot is prepared for you as an HTML file, the Java viewer and all the necessary support files. You can then FTP these directly to your site, or incorporate the code into your pages wherever you want the image to be displayed. Site visitors can then zoom into your product image and rotate it to get a better idea of what they might be buying.

You can merge background and foreground images together to create a more appealing design, and the whole bundle can be placed into a database. Here there’s a limitation, though; you have a maximum of 50 images that can be stored in the database. An additional licence must be bought if you want to store more, which will be a bit of an irritation for larger organisations with a lot of products in their catalogue.

Company: Scalado

Contact: 020 8733 7128


Verdict
This is a clever example of what can be done with a relatively small Java plug-in. It makes product images more interesting, although inevitably there will be more photography costs involved for those who want to convert their inventory. The two main drawbacks are the increased download size of product photos and the 50-image limitation of the standard licence, for which you pay a hefty price. But if you can live with those, and are willing to invest the time in manipulating your existing product images, it could add enough to your site to encourage more visitors to buy.