Our Climate iPhone app poorly organized

Aug 16, 2010
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I’ve run across all sorts of apps in my time owning a smart phone. From game apps to reference apps to music apps, I’ve probably tapped my iPhone screen onto more than 100 different apps. But up until Our Climate, I’d never seen an app that seems determined to antagonize so much of its potential […]

I’ve run across all sorts of apps in my time owning a smart phone. From game apps to reference apps to music apps, I’ve probably tapped my iPhone screen onto more than 100 different apps. But up until Our Climate, I’d never seen an app that seems determined to antagonize so much of its potential clientele.

Billing itself as a way to learn about both sides of the global warming debate, Our Climate actually doesn’t do a very good job of acknowledging the pro-global warming crowd side at all, except to say that it’s inconclusive at best.

That said, I’m attempting to review an app, not the politics of the app. It just warrants mentioning that, if you find yourself firmly in one corner or the other on this issue, you’ll either be immediately drawn to or repelled by Our Climate.

As to its actual use, the Our Climate app could use some streamlining. While there isn’t a tremendous amount of ground for a very specific weather-related app like this to cover, the idea to branch out the app’s information into two sections, Our Top 10 List and a more general Climate 101 page seems unnecessary.

Our Top 10 details 10 tips the developers of Our Climate think you need to know. These range from “Co2 is actually plant food!” to “We have not warmed in the past decade.”

Climate 101 is comparatively an avalanche of information, complete with various theories, “myths and conjectures” and climate trends and historical data. The theories are written as if you already have a serious background in climate science, which makes this section feel very unlike what I imagine a Climate 101 class would be like.

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It seems to me that a section that attempted to grab some of the information in Climate 101 and smooth it out – ala the Top 10 section, thereby combining the two while keeping things relatively simple – would better serve the purpose of this app to educate those looking for answers.

Aside from the two information sections, Our Climate also has a charts section, a quiz to test your knowledge and a poll where you can vote on your opinion of how serious a problem global warming is. All of these sections have their own merits, though you’ll find the slant in them readily apparent.

Oddly enough, it’s the news page that best finds both sides of the argument. Among the headlines on the page as I write this review: “Global warming myth,” sits side-by-side with “The crack in the roof of the world: Yes global warming is real – and deeply worrying.” If you were going to learn anything from this app, you might learn it right on its news feed.  Although, for my money, the best article in the news feed is the one that actually pokes fun at the Our Climate app. Not because of any particular political leaning, but rather because its pulled in by the very app it mocks.

If you read a description of Our Climate in the app store, you’d probably come to the conclusion that this was a weather app that was going to lay all the global warming facts on the table and let you, the user, sort it out. It does much less than that, which is certainly its right, though the enterprise feels hollow when it claims to do so much more.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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