Desktop: JPEG Autorotate photo rotating app

“Ever had the problem of pictures taken in portrait showing up in landscape in emails, on your blog or on your mobile device? JPEG Autorotate is the solution. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s free.” -Raquel

JPEG autorotate website & download

Published around 2005, still has 5-10K downloads per year in 2017. This solved an itch lots of people had, with an extremely simple UI.

Commercialized in 2019 using Qt, this was a fascinating challenge of howbto onboard users to a freemium model gradually. Offering generous documentation and suppor to users, the app and service model has fulfilled the goal of providing a moderate side income.

In terms of UX/UI design, the new commercial version was a fascinating challenge. The earlier versions’ GUI simply consisted of a command line output window that showed rotating progress. I originally dreamed taking the app towards a more visual direction like a competing app JPEG Lossless rotator. However, I realized this might alienate my current user base: The command line output window provided a sense of control to users.

So eventually I decided to keep the textual output and simply create a richer GUI application around it. Keeping the textual output also meant that I could add messaging about the limitations of the free version when users hit them and provide a frictionless route to purchasing the full version. This seems to have worked really well: effectively the app educates users about the advantages of the paid version, in order to motivate them to purchase.

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