Biennale iPhone app reviewed: maps useful, but functionality misses a trick
The Venice Architecture Biennale iPhone app has been launched to ease the journey from one pavilion to another, help visitors manage the hectic schedule of events, and find and book restaurants.
Three main tabs, Pavilions, Events and Restaurants, provide listing and location information, linking to the iPhone maps app to provide routes based on your current location.
The screen is divided between a map and a scalable information panel you can expand and minimise. If you click on the Pavilions tab and select one from the list, a title-marker appears on the map.
App creator Theresa Simon says she designed the app from firsthand experience. “You have to walk everywhere, you get lost because it’s a complete maze it’s a logistical nightmare.
“Your time there is at a premium, so we’ve condensed all the information you need so you don¹t waste any time.”
Simon has plans to include a Twitter feed to the next version so people can post their “critical opinion”, adding to the idea of being more economical with time by visiting recommended pavilions.
The Biennale app was launched by Theresa Simon & Partners and Flint PR and is available to download for free from iTunes.
The Google maps-styled blue arrow on this marker doesn’t have any functionality attached to it unless you use the various country flags on the map to select a pavilion, in which case it changes the content in the information panel. Using exactly the same visual design as the iPhone maps app but slightly changing the functionality is a little confusing.
All the pavilions include a “Find route” button. This opens the iPhone maps app and by default routes you from your current location to the selected pavilion. This will be great for on-the-fly navigation or if you are lost, however it limits the ability to anticipate how you might get from one pavilion to another ahead of time.
Event details and locations are listed by day, without the ability to find a route. However you can find and book restaurants using toptable.
The “bookmarked locations” tab includes some useful pre-saved areas such as the Arsenale or the Stazione di Venezia. You can also save your hotel, but essentially all this does is bookmark your current location without giving you the opportunity to enter the details manually.
Considering the timely release of Facebook’s location service, Places, this week, and the increasing popularity of location sharing social networking apps such as Foursquare, it does feel like they have missed a trick by not including the ability to be able to tell your contacts where you are, or to add a rating to a pavilion.