I’m awful with birthdays, so awful that I have considered, numerous times, getting a tattoo on my forearm that reads off whose birthday it is on any given date. Despite never going through with this — I’m delicate (or at least that’s what I’ve been told) — the birthday issue is one that I’ve been trying to solve for a long time.
Is a “Happy Birthday!” message on Facebook good enough for everyone? What if I don’t have a family member on Facebook, or my Luddite mother insists on me calling her, despite this being the 21st century? I’ve struggled to find the answer, and while GiftDish can’t help me when it comes to communicating with my mother — this isn’t a mark against the service, as my therapist hasn’t cracked that issue yet, either — it does help with the rest of the people that I love.
The first thing that struck me about GiftDish was how incredibly well designed the entire package is. While it’s a little heavy in the graphics department, I found that it fit with the overall theme and didn’t affect how long it took to load the page. GiftDish was built to make online gifting and congratulations easy, whether it’s for birthdays or weddings or anything in between.
I’ll admit, I was worried, when I saw that GiftDish required a Facebook login. I’ve grown wary of apps that tie in to the social network, as a majority of them have decided to spam my friends and family with items that they have zero interest in. With this I can see the point, though; GiftDish automatically filled out my friends’ birthdays and upcoming events based off of their Facebook information, giving me a pre-filled datebook and presenting me with some information instead of a blank page.
While it’s possible to send little congratulatory notes, photos, and videos, one of the main draws of GiftDish is the ability to send e-Gift Cards with just a few taps. You can select a company that you’d like to give the person a card to, the design, and then the amount that you’d like to send. Charlie White, the developer behind the app, sent me a gift card for Groupon (which was immediately returned, because I am un-bribe-able), and “unwrapping” the card was a nice little touch.
When White first reached out to me to talk about GiftDish, I immediately wondered how the company was going to differentiate itself from Wantful, the other gorgeous gifting app that deals in physical goods. Through my limited tests with both applications, I came away with two conclusions:
First, GiftDish is designed to be as smooth and frictionless as possible. All of the animations on the page are done properly, and I never felt like I was waiting for the software to catch up to me. Everything is available with just a few clicks, instead of Wantful’s model that required much waiting and poking around the interface.
Second, GiftDish isn’t in the physical gifts game (yet), instead focusing on sending messages and electronic gifts, allowing for instant gratification.
I asked White about the company getting into the physical gifts game, as it would be nice to at least have the option of sending my fiancee a real, tangible gift for her birthday, and he said that the company hasn’t ruled anything out. The “beta” label on the service is there for just that reason; the team is still working out the best way to please their customers, and that’s going to take some time.
All-in-all, I’m happy with GiftDish. The birthday issue is one that I’ve considered often, and knowing that there’s a well-designed, functional application that can fill 95% of my needs means that birthdays just got a lot easier.
Next I just need to find a service that will make me call my mom.