As mentioned previously, PhotoVoice is the brainchild of Dan O'Day, a Los Angeles-based radio advertising and marketing consultant, comedy writer and talent coach, who's been working in various capacities in broadcasting since the early 1970s. Perhaps his signature contribution in radio is popularizing the lengthy, elaborate skits performed by morning DJs across the country, which O'Day wrote and marketed to subscribers though his two gag services, OBITS and O'LINERS [source: Danoday.com].
By his own account, O'Day created PhotoVoice pretty much on a lark, just to see if he could do it. "I'm not a techie," he readily admits in his blog. "I can't write a lick of computer programming code, not even the most basic HTML." Nevertheless, one day in late 2011, O'Day got an inspiration: What if there were a simple iPhone app that allowed users to attach their voices to photos? He then found a professional apps designer to help him create PhotoVoice [source: O'Day].
The idea of annotating digital still photos with sound actually has been around for awhile. Desktop and laptop computer users have been doing it for years, using programs like Windows Movie Maker or the Mac OS program iMovie. Both of those programs allow a user to drag and drop still photos onto the program's story board, record a sound track and then save it as a video file. There's also a program specifically for that purpose, Fotobabble, which has been around since at least 2010 as both a web-based PC and Mac app and as an iPhone app. Fotobabble, which is designed with corporate social marketers in mind, offers a variety of more complicated features than PhotoVoice, including the ability to create slideshows and galleries and embed them on Web sites and in blogs, in addition to sharing them on Facebook and Twitter [sources: O'Dell, Fotobabble.com]. There's also an entertainment-oriented iPhone app, Tap2Cap, which allows users to alter photos with various filters and add sounds to them that viewers can play by clicking the image [source: Tap2Cap.com].
PhotoVoice, in contrast, mostly seems to be an app designed for ordinary iPhone users who just want to have a little more fun with their pictures. One of its big selling points is the ease of use; there are only a few simple functions to figure out. But like the iPhone itself, that simplicity also makes it possible for a user with a little imagination to come up with new ways to use the app.