My favorite thing about the 37signals office are the 4 team rooms. Team rooms are where people can work together uninterrupted without disturbing anyone else. These team rooms are equipped with big chalkboards. You can sketch something quickly, erase it, and draw in more detail. Sketching on a chalkboard isn’t just a solo effort either. It’s collaborative. Anyone can add to your sketch to enhance your idea.
We love the interior design details of chalkboard and cork in our team rooms. Could we simulate the team room experience on the iPad? Luckily Sam Stephenson and I had some spare time between projects — an hour here, a few hours there — 3 days later we came up with Chalk. We’re really pleased with the results, and we want to share it with you.
One of the coolest things about Chalk is it’s a website. There’s no app store approval process we had to endure. We used technologies we’re already familiar with. To use Chalk just go to chalk.37signals.com on your iPad.
Instead of making a full-fledged sharing feature for Chalk, we decided to just use the iPad’s Photos app. You can save or copy your drawing by using the “tap and hold” gesture. This puts the drawing into the Photos app where you can attach it to an email.
The Chalk web-app feels even more like a native app when you add it to your Home screen. Sam got Chalk to work even if you don’t have internet access. As long as it has been bookmarked already or on the Home screen it’ll work anywhere. Here’s a quick 1-minute demo movie if you want to see it in action.
It’s cool to work for a company that doesn’t frown on experiments like this. I had fun making the team room in Photoshop (yes we do use it on occasion). Sam had fun making it all work. We hope you have fun using it!
We’d love to see what you make with Chalk. Please send us your drawings: firstname.lastname@example.org. We might even publish a few of them here on SvN.
You may be wondering how this relates to Draft, our native iPad app for quick sketches. It doesn’t, really. Draft is a different product for different needs. Chalk was a fun experiment that lets you draw something quick in a browser.