So last weekend, REI’s biggest sale of the year, the Anniversary Sale, came to an end after a week and a half of absolute mayhem. During these big sales, I hardly have time to eat, much less remember to bring a lunch to work, so naturally, I’m always on the prowl for decent, quick, and cheap food, in close proximity to REI. Even though the neighborhood is rife with expansion and construction, this can still prove to be a challenge in the South Lake Union area… unless you have an app that tells you where to eat!
The other day at work I was ringing up a customer, and when I asked for his membership card, he pulled out his iPhone, opened an app and I was able to scan a barcode on his phone to gather his member details. Naturally, being an MCDMer, I had to ask him 20 questions about his cool “shopping” app.
Awww, I know, I’m so sweet… but so is this app! At least for the most part (but please, don’t use it with your mom). While discussing the numerous disadvantages of being in a long-distance relationship with a colleague of mine in a similar situation, I was recommended Pair: the app for couples in long-distance relationships. The unfortunate thing is my girlfriend and I had this idea. About three months ago. Needless to say we were a little late to the party, but the idea was ours, damnit!
I’ve had my head down all week, so I apologize for the lack of substance this time around, but hopefully I can make up for it with awesomeness! I wanted to share this app, with an extremely long name, with everyone, because I found the design and user-experience to be absolutely wonderful, and it’s one of the few apps I’ve found recently where I “oooh’d and ahhh’d” during my experience. The National Geographic National Parks app (then separately named “Park Guides” under the app icon… why?), despite it’s name, is extremely clean, intuitive, and beautiful, using high-definition photography of 20 of the United States 58 National Parks.
In my apparent quest to scan every 2-D code in Seattle, last week while shopping at the local QFC I came across the most interesting location for a code I’ve seen yet: a bunch of bananas. Of course, I had to buy THAT particular bunch of bananas in order to investigate what Dole really wanted me to see (or at least I felt obligated to). The sticker on the side of the banana, next to the regular Dole sticker, was large and colorful, garnished with a very small QR code at the top.
It should come as no surprise that the industry has once again managed to poorly implement a useful technology. Everyone knows the outdoor industry as a whole has no presence in the mobile market, and the few companies who do (The North Face, REI, etc.) their apps are just about limited to snow reports and shopping. Although many companies mobile sites, campaigns, and shopping apps are getting better with every iteration, there are still plenty of blunders out there.
I don’t fly very often, or happen to spend much time in airports, but this weekend I had a chance to do both, much to my dismay. After, oh say, twelve years old, the magic of flying in an airplane had completely lost its appeal to me, and I was often more concerned with how long I had to wait before I could play Jurassic Park on my GameBoy, or if they were going to be serving chicken parmesan or spaghetti with “meatballs” for the in-flight meal. Since then, not much has changed, other than I have become increasing good at tying my shoelaces in record time. And that’s the problem. Not much has changed.