Real Simple Gift Guide iPhone app makes generosity easy

Nov 28, 2011
Shine

If you made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday without finishing (or perhaps starting) your holiday shopping, app Real Simple Gift Guide, for iPhone and iPod Touch, could aid you in crossing things off your “to buy” list. Real Simple Gift Guide includes 13 gift categories, including items for men, women, kids, pets, tech […]

If you made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday without finishing (or perhaps starting) your holiday shopping, app Real Simple Gift Guide, for iPhone and iPod Touch, could aid you in crossing things off your “to buy” list.

Real Simple Gift Guide includes 13 gift categories, including items for men, women, kids, pets, tech lovers and foodies, among others. The number of items included in each section isn’t vast, but they do appear mostly well-thought-out, albeit a tad bland for my tastes.

The app is ad-supported, which doesn’t bother me outright, but the banner placement is terrible. As you scroll down the list of items in a category, the ad continually pops in and out from the side of the screen, which not only makes viewing the items a challenge, it’s extremely annoying. Never thought I’d request a static ad in an app, but developers should put this change at the top of the to-do list.

Users can swipe fluidly through all of the gifts of the category after tapping into an individual item, so I definitely recommend this method, as you’ll be able to see a close-up image of the product, item detail and price, all while avoiding ads. There’s a buy it button at the top of each item that will launch the retailers website inline. I don’t know if I would make purchases through the app this way, but I did mark a few things with the heart option to add to my favorites list for later reference. The load time varies between items, and I did find that photos or text were missing in a few instances. Gifts can be shared via email or Facebook, but use sparingly since you wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil the surprise.

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Beyond the gift guide, the app only offers a portal to RealSimple.com. I suppose this is nice for brand development, but the site is not mobile-optimized (Real Simple doesn’t seem to offer a mobile site, period), so navigation isn’t user-friendly, and I doubt users will flock to this tab.

The upside to Real Simple Gift Guide is that the app promises to add new items throughout the holiday season. I hope when this happens the app will clearly indicate the updates.

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