Metro Vancouver has released a free iPad/iPhone app called iParks Explorer. As a Vancouverite, I wish I could like it, but it’s disappointing for three reasons.
First, it’s supposed to encourage visitors to visit regional parks, but is a tourist likely to know (or care) that Pacific Spirit is a regional park and is available on the app while Stanley Park is a City of Vancouver park and is not? If I were an iPad-equipped tourist, I would probably be looking for information on Stanley Park, Van Dusen Gardens, the Bloedel Floral Conservatory and the like with this app and feeling very frustrated because these attractions aren’t listed.
The problem: they’re all operated by the City of Vancouver, and this particular app was developed by the Metro Vancouver regional government, which has jurisdiction over parks such as Colony Farm, Pacific Spirit and Belcarra Regional Park. It would have been better if Metro could have coordinated with the Vancouver Park Board and other local municipalities to produce an app that features all area parks.
Second, the interface isn’t intuitive. If you select “Parks” on the menu, you’ll see a list of the regional parks, and a row of icons indicating hiking and biking trails, public transportation and so on. The user of the app expects (at least I did) that pressing one of these icons will bring up say, a map of hiking trails or information on how to get to the park by transit. But the icons are not interactive. Tap the map button as often as you like, a map of the park is not going to pop up.
Third, there are spelling errors Each park has a “Facilities/Activities” page, but it’s spelled “Facilites/Activites”. If the spelling is sloppy, you have to wonder what else in the app might be inaccurate.
iParks Explorer looks great on the iPad and it does have useful features, such as location sensing, park alerts, maps and events and it has the potential to be even better. Adding local municipal (and provincial) parks, making the icons interactive and carefully proofreading the app would make iParks Explorer a very useful app for tourists and locals alike.
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Posted under: Reviews