Thus starts a new feature on MattjWaller.com, the App of the Week. Every week I’ll review a new iOS app that I think deserves more attention in the app store. My plan is to migrate these reviews into video form in the near future but while I get that sorted I’ll stick to plain text.
This week’s app is CheckMyTour. It promises that I’ll discover interesting tours, spots and people. I was quite worried when reading this description as interesting spots are a sure sign of some form of Herpes… However, I have pressed on with downloading the free application and set up an account. I was permitted to sign up for an account inside the app which, I must mention, is a luxury in the case of low budget applications.
So here’s my observations from using CheckMyTour:
The app itself has a sound user process for creating tours. After the “Start” button is pressed a selection of transport methods can be selected to advise other users how to carry out the tour. Also, there is a setting which indicates whether the user would like to be tracked through the GPS signal which may not be preferable for the privacy conscious out there.
Another plus for the app is that it uses the clean Google maps API for it’s visual tour representation. This is far preferable to a homebrew or another open source alternative as most users are already comfortable with the Google Maps aesthetics and with Google you know what you’re getting. Google is widely assumed to be the most accurate, freely available, cartographic API.
The crashes. This app has to be one of the worst I have ever seen for instability. I would have to guesstimate that approximately 50% of the time I try and go back through the menus I get thrown back to the iPhone homepage. This hardly makes for a relaxing experience and in a way makes the development of the app seem unproffesional.
Additionally the graphics, especially the buttons, seem to be rather blurred which could be a side effect of the app not being optimised for the retina display. The main logo itself looks like it could have been done in Microsoft Paint, with ease.
Finally, one of the main selling points of CheckMyTour is that it is a social networking application and you can share tours etc. with the community and friends. However the actual community part of the app jumps you over into Safari which I feel kind of defeats the purpose of the entire process.
To summarise, CheckMyTour is only really an application you’re going to need if you’re desperate for en masse (n.b. there are currently no user reviews for check my tours so “en masse” may be an overstatement) sightseeing advice or if you want to show a route you’ve driven/walked to a friend in real time. However I’m sure that in both cases there are more specialised and polished apps which perform the job to a better standard.
The sad thing is that this is quite a promising idea if they’d managed to put a bit more effort in and get all the promised features sorted.