Review of the year – Apps

This year museums, galleries and in particular book publishers, started to realise the potential in linking the virtual to the physical, turning to designers to create expressions of exhibitions, tours and books by extrapolating content and using it to encourage on- and off-line interaction.

Eyewitness travel guide to Venice by Cogapp
Eyewitness travel guide to Venice by Cogapp

Book publisher Dorling Kindersley embraced app development, turning to Cogapp for a series of 12 apps, having made its first foray into the market in December of last year.

Now DK Eyewitness travel guides with 3D walking maps and cross-sections of buildings have been rolled out, designed to be used within the destination cities. 

Tom Ang Photography app by Cogapp
Tom Ang Photography app by Cogapp

Just last week the publisher launched a Tom Ang Photography app based on the book of the same name, again to be used in the field, as a guide offering  search features and settings.

iPadington by Bold Creative
iPadington by Bold Creative

Also in the book category is the brilliantly titled iPadington designed by Bold Creative and developed with license-holder Harper Collins Children’s Books. It features animations of the  RW Alley illustrations and allows users to create videos of themsleves reading the story. 

Magazine apps are still trying to iron out design floors. At the beginning of the year art director and magazine purveyor Jeremy Leslie noted stuttering sales, despite a huge take-up of iPads. Magazines were not at the time, and are still not categorised in the app store, and there have been problems with navigation and even downloading large magazine files. In February Lelslie offered that ‘I am optimistic about this new form – but it will not be the quick fix desired by publishers.’

Museums and galleries are now informing rich touring experiences within and outside museums by commissioning app development.

Guided tour apps are taking off and are starting to find favor over exhibition catalogues and clunky headphone audio guides. Enter the Victoria & Albert Museum which set its in-house team to work with New York-based Toura, developing an audio guide for its Cult of Beauty exhibition. As a smartphone app it can be used at the exhibition or as a walking tour of the surrounding area and as an ipad app from home. 

Dickens Dark London app by Brothers and Sisters
Dickens Dark London app by Brothers and Sisters

  

Following from the success of its geo-location based Street Museum app, The Museum of London looked again to Brothers and Sisters to generate interest in its new Dickens and London exhibition and was delivered a graphic novel app, combining reportage and narration with the work of celebrated illustrator David Foldvari, who has interpreted Dickens’ Sketches by Boz short stories.   Geo-location mapping encourages reader exploration of Dickens’ London.

Dickens Dark London app by Brothers and Sisters
Dickens Dark London app by Brothers and Sisters

Aston Martin Experience app by Zip Design
Aston Martin Experience app by Zip Design

In the luxury market, efforts were being made to synthesize the sensation of products. This Aston Martin Experience app developed by Zip Design looked to show users practical in car capabilities in stead of being information focussed; like a rev-ometer which stimulates the engine rev of six Aston Martin models.

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