iPhone app review: Birmingham Attractions


Birmingham-based Web development company Kinetic Communications developed the Birmingham, Alabama, Attractions iPhone app for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In this post, we review the free travel guide app.

Birmingham-based iPhone developers Josh Grenon and Brian Cauble served as our guest reviewers.

Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app

Birmingham (Alabama) Attractions iPhone app:
opening screen (left) and sample photo

What was your overall experience?

Josh: My experience was initially good, but then, every time I clicked a Web link, I would be taken out of the app making for a poor experience.

Brian: My overall experience was mixed, but mostly positive. The app was laid out well and easy to navigate, but it didn’t have enough content.

Do you get the sense that this is a custom app, or a “skinned” app for various sister outlets?

Josh: This custom app was created using a third-party library called Titanium. [Note from developer: The latest version was built as a native app in Objective-C.]

Brian: I believe this was a custom app.

Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app Birmingham Alabama Attractions iPhone app

Attractions list (left); details on McWane Science Center.

As a news consumer, what did you like? What would you add?

Josh: It contains a lot of valuable information for first-time visitors of Birmingham. I’d add videos to the Top 10 attractions to enhance the user experience.

Brian: I thought the photos were the best part of the app. Although I understand that it is a Top 10 app, I believe it should have more categories.

As an app developer, what did you like? How would you improve it?

Josh: I initially liked the app, but after using it for a while, I noticed that it is just a link app. A lot of the information has to be accessed outside of the application, and so my experience suffered. [Note: Latest version opens links within app. See additional note at end of review.] I’d improve this app by opening links within the app and by adding an e-mail contact tab for feedback. Another helpful feature would be a map that would allow users to see the locations of the top Birmingham attractions.

Brian: I liked the navigation of the app. However, I would add more categories such as restaurants, nightlife and family. I would also improve the look of the information screens. The look could be improved by using images and a custom background. [Note: Latest version has different color scheme and backgrounds.]

Since it’s a free app, would you pay money for it? How much? Why or why not?

Josh: I would not pay money for this app. It does not contain enough information.

Brian: No, I would not pay for the app. The main reason is that it doesn’t offer enough functionality.

Note: Reviewers used the previous version of this app. Updated version changed look of certain pages, but navigation and functionality remained the same. Screenshots are from the latest version.

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See more coverage and reviews of iPhone/iPad apps.

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Josh GrenonJosh Grenon (@joshgrenon) is a .Net developer by day and an iPhone developer by night. He started developing iPhone applications — such as Bham iCamp — in early 2009. Josh is also executive producer of Inspirageek, a casual yet informative video blog for geeks, and founder of user group Birmingham Mobile Tech.

brian caubleBrian Cauble (@briancauble) is the co-owner of Appsolute Genius, an iPhone application development company in Birmingham. His other interests include promoting local entrepreneurship through Birmingham Entrepreneur, participating in social media and a huge attachment to college football.

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