By Fiona Passantino
Apps for Living Abroad (for grownups)
The Almost-Spring Edition
What is one of the best things about living in Holland? The ability to leave the country quickly and easily with Europe at your feet! Here is an edition for the grown-ups. For all of us living far from home, a few un-missable apps; great for weekend or business travel.
By Jibbigo LLC
We have all (give or take) used a translation website or app at one point or another that also has a voice option. They are often cumbersome and difficult and cannot be used offline. This one is better. Not perfect. But better than many I have seen and used before. You can use it online or offline, translate speech or text into 20-plus languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Korean, Thai, Filipino, Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian, Danish, Hebrew, Greek, Portuguese, Catalan, Esperanto. Esperanto, really? Yes.
Price: $ 1.99
Finally, a truly useful app. IMetro offers subway maps in 90 cities around the world. In Europe find Rome, Milan, Catania, Perugia, Turin, Athens, Paris, Rennes, Rouen and beyond. Can be used offline and online, the best part (because I always have my data roaming “off” when I leave the country). Maps are simple and pinch-zoom scalable. Not rocket science here. Just handy.
UNESCO World Heritage
By HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Price: $ 2.99
This app is an example of a great concept with lousy UX design. As an app designer, it pains me to see great material presented in a less than great way. The UNESCO World Heritage app shows the location of each and a short description from Machu Picchu to the Acropolis. Sites are searchable and browsable. They can be “favorited” and checked off once you have seen them (my favorite feature: someday!). You can also call up the sites near your current location. Great information, good functionality but the interface looks like a first-generation website devoid of color, charm and fun.
Fiona Passantino is the founder of The App Train (www.theapptrain.com), a small, app design and development company with a dual focus: building commercial apps, iPad magazines, folios and mobile content for clients and building learning apps for children as an independent micropublisher for Apple and Android. Fiona lives in The Hague with her husband and two small but highly competent app testers-and-debuggers aged five and ten.