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Crazy Weather Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on January 6th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Crazy Weather is an interactive storybook for iPad app told in rhyme about the dangers of global warming and of the crazy counter-intuitive weather that can result. Designed to read to oneself, there is an option to make a recording of this book as well. An iPhone version is also available.

The first thing I noticed about this app is how delightful it is to look at. All the pages are decorated with bright and bold objects, sounds and interactions in a multimedia and collage fashion, with objects including recycled paper with tactile grains, bits of materials like satins and silk with great shine to them, animals knitted from colorful yarns with interesting textures, as well as many pieces of natural materials such as leaves and straw as well as wires and pieces of metal. Each page has interesting interactions to find, and I give the developers great credit for telling the reader exactly what interactions they are looking for - page by page - in the help area of the settings, something I wish every developer of an interactive app did. Pleasant music accompanies one as the story is read. Recently, three holiday and ecology themes postcards have been added that one can email or Facebook as well.

The story itself is about how more and more often, the seasons seem confused, with snow in summer, leaves and plants beginning to bloom in fall, and other crazy, confusing weather anomalies. The story is told in a rhyming tone which is pleasant to read, and I agree that the weather changes one may experience now are alarming - to say the least. As an adult, I find the message of this poetic book to be very clear, but I don’t have a keen understanding of how to translate these concerns to my son, almost three years old in a way that he can comprehend past a lovely rhyming story. I would encourage these developers to write a parents' section on how to talk to their children in a way that they can understand, specifically how taking care of the planet will keep these crazy weather occurrences from happening and why something as simple as warm weather in winter or cold weather in summer can be in reality ominous signs for the future. My son does enjoy the bright colors and all the interactions, but without help explaining the story, I worry that he may be missing the bigger picture.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 3rd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

“Your Pregnancy Week By Week” is an application designed to give both basic info and to aid in keeping others informed about your pregnancy. I did like the fact that once you add your dates, this app will keep count of what week you are in and give you some info week to week about the changes your baby is undergoing, and there is a calendar function that could be useful. There is also a blog which allows you to social network and a "Baby Alert" feature that lets you notify a list of contacts when you enter the hospital.

I did have some problems with the information section of this app. The info section is divided into topics. Each topic is illustrated by a photograph, and there are times that the text, (which is white) scrolls over a light section of the image, making it hard to read. The topics were both oddly arranged and chosen, and I also found myself saying “yeah...but” while reading much of the information, sometimes being confused, and sometimes disagreeing with what I was reading. The interface of this app in general was less than intuitive.

Ladies who are very invested in keeping friends and family up-to-date in their pregnancy may enjoy this app. I also like the fact that this app is pro-breast feeding.