Touchgram Information

Touchgram is a platform for messages which respond to touch.

The first product runs within Apple's iMessage and is available on the App Store.
It lets the user create messages with multiple pages, responding to a range of gestures they specify. It's a bit like a PowerPoint with more advanced gesture recognition and a lot more fun!

​Roadmap for Upcoming Releases

Major releases are often alternated with minor release providing bug fixes & small improvements. Releases are themed around a user story. These milestones represent a plan to get us to the Asset Store as fast as possible so the arts community can benefit from Touchgram. Milestones which introduce a paid feature are marked ($). Read more about the monetisation strategies on the Investors page.

v1.4 Visual Editor and iOS15 or higher cut-off

Will phase in our visual editor allowing you to edit on top of a background, more like SnapChat. Also cuts off iOS12 through to 14 support partly due to Apple's bugs with backward compatibility. The v1.3 release included our new core engine so people on older versions will still be able to play messages composed with later versions, for at least another couple of years.

Gif showing raindrops trickling down a window, captured from a graphics shader

v1.4.5 Animations and particle Effects Editing

Full editing for graphics shaders and particles to provide the range of visual effects you are used to seeing in mobile games. Lets you take shaders from sites like ShaderToy and use them as backgrounds or small elements on your pages.

v1.5 Pro Tools ($)

Pro tools for creators such as artists making full greeting cards to resell on the store. Persistent properties added so the state of a page can be remembered and vary when you return to it.

Sensors on property change and actions to modify properties mean you will be able to build game-like logic into a Touchgram.

v2 Touchgram Store ($)

Store added where you can buy and sell Touchgram assets such as sounds, artwork, or completed Touchgrams, using our own digital currency.
Artists can choose to set their prices or release some works for free, with full attribution carried through so even people playing a message can find the original artist.

v2.2 Masked Messaging ($)

Messages can also be time and date-aware including expirations

v2.5 Data Control Subscriptions ($)

We don't know who you are but you can choose your data centre and rules for retaining messages in-flight. 

This version introduces a paid subscription for users with particular privacy concerns, who don't want their data going through our default US data centre or who want to limit how long an unread message may stay in the cloud.

v2.6 Bundling and Downloads

Touchgram files will become a document type you can independently send and save.

Enables downloading entire Touchgrams from the web.

​v2.7 Accessibilit​y

​Adding transcripts as an audio alternatlve. Other accessibility support possibly depending on community feedback . See design document.

v2.8 Feedback Options

Extends the choice of feedback as you match a touch.

Adds rhythm detection - are you touching with the right timing?

v2.9 Improved Editing

Saves work in progress in a more granular manner. Currently automatic save is as you close an editor, eg: for a background. This version will save as you go through so it's almost impossible to lose any changes. Lots of little usability improvements.

Introduces Undo into the editor.

v3.0 Family version with Android support

As discussed on the Family page, extends Touchgram away from the world of Apple iMessage to include Android and a dedicated young kids version.

Invention Timeline

  • Written from the perspective of Andy Dent, founder of Touchgram. For a longer narrative form see the articles Touchgram Origins — Personal and Touchgram Origins — Technical
    • 2003-11 Wrote MusicDudl on the PalmPilot to generate different tones depending on where you touched the screen (on Bali holiday).
    • 2004-06 Started recording ideas on ScribbleD diagram editor for Palm handhelds
    • 2011-01 Earliest design thoughts recorded on "t4t" as app for couples (“Touch for Two”)
    • 2012-11 First (diary) mention of a “touchgram” as a sendable item as solution to problem of Apple not liking “primarily erotic” apps.
    • 2014-01 Founder Institute held a "Startup Ideation" workshop including a "speed pitch" session at which got very positive feedback. First public mention of “Touchgram”. Within two weeks, someone was squatting on the name on Twitter and a (since-vanished) sloppy app was on the store, from China.
    • 2014-04 Recruited friend, experienced company directory & entrepreneur, as CEO and co-founder
    • 2014-05 Started Founder Institute
    • 2014-08 Graduated from the Founder Institute with core idea validated and some early technical feasibility tests working but far from demoable product
    • 2015-04 Early playback engine runs with some “canned” pre-created documents. Co-founder quit so due to spousal agreement I had to get a job.
    • 2015-06 Started with Realm (VC-backed mobile database engine) having secured a remote job with their Copenhagen team. 
    • 2017-07 Resumed work on Touchgram, including investigating ways to make it work inside other messenger products
    • 2017-09 Started  translation to Apple’s Swift language to work inside iMessage after a mentor urged get it working inside Apple Messages or Facebook Messenger
    • 2018-02 Attended Social Media Marketing World & further meetings in LA with public demo of the Swift port of the product, to run the idea past a different kind of audience & discuss technology licensing and advertising opportunities
    • 2019-09 First version on the app store, living up to the ship something you will be embarrassed by motto of startups. 
    • 2020-04 Version 1.1 finally lives up to the early examples, able to create messages with the full gamut of gestures including tickle and swipe as special cases beyond arbitrary tracing your touches. Major gesture rewrites & improvements in core product based on early user feedback.
    • 2020-04 Version 1.2 making it easy to transfer sounds and images from other apps and Macs into Touchgram for use in your messages
    • 2021-12 Version 1.3 with the new core engine added elements laid out on pages, animations, logic and more visual effects. 

Founder Bio

 Andy is Founder & CEO of Touchgram, a messaging platform for adding more delight into your digital relationships. He's a life-long Chinese martial artist & programmer for the same 40+ years. 

As a technical dev in a mining town, he's worked on international products ranging from CAD to 3D stereo movies. 

He's often been a (very) remote team member from home in Perth, Western Australia. This includes a fun 2 years for Realm mobile database's Danish Xamarin team. 

Naturally a toolsmith, inspired by the Montessori motto "help me to do it for myself", his first startup was C++ dev tools in the 90's (the OOFILE family including a full-blown report-writer, OODBMS & forms interfaces). 

He's now focused on creativity tools for a wider audience, starting with iMessage & with a broad ambition to help connect scattered families.