App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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“Climate change threatens each and every one of us, and grows more and more dangerous every day,” says former Vice President Al Gore, as he greets readers of the interactive iOS version of his book, Our Choice.
The universal book-app is the latest of Gore’s efforts to bring global awareness to the issue of climate change, and is a benchmark in digital publishing. It is also the winner of a 2011 Apple Design Award, and is both an iOS and mainstream media darling.
The app contains an abridged version of the print book by the same title along with a host of interactive features. It starts with an up close and personal introduction from Al Gore and is jam-packed with high-resolution photos, interactive maps, "infographics," animations, documentary videos, and audio commentary by the former VP.
The writing is fluid and informative, but if one is simply looking for competent prose on the subject, the print book would suffice.
This app, powered by Push Pop Press, brings something new to the digital publishing world that is worth discussing apart from the written content.
There are incredible book-apps that were designed as apps first, but this is the best rendition of an existing title ported and digitized for iOS to-date.
The attention to providing a rich user-experience is evident right from the interactive “cover,” a 3d rendering of Earth, which will pinpoint a reader’s location and exhibit how climate change will effect that spot on Earth.
Much thought, clearly, went into creating an interactive experience that would not just compliment, but genuinely enhance both the reading experience and the message. The features feel organic.
The app has an intuitive, user-friendly navigation system - each topic can be scrolled through and specific topics of interest can be explored without following a prescribed order.
Unusual too for this type of app fare, Our Choice shines brightest on iPad, but is actually universal and looks sharp on the iPhone too.
There are going to be haters - this is (unfortunately) a controversial subject in some quarters, especially in parts of the US. Climate change deniers are not going to enjoy this app, no matter how stellar the iOS rendition, on principal. And, to be fair, Mr. Gore’s political biases are not exactly subtle.
Looking at this as an app, however, critics and users agree, it sets a new bar in digital publishing.
Climate change is real, folks, and as Our Choice illuminates, the future looks grim, especially if pervasive indifference, diversionary discourse, malaise and a sense of hopelessness persist.
But, neither is the future etched in stone. This book’s title is not accidental; it is a matter of choice.
This app will not only inform, but also help readers become proactive in the fight to save Earth. Eco-warriors, tech junkies, and readers alike should celebrate Our Choice, it’s interactive reading as never before seen on iOS.