I just wanted to take a quick look at some of the more interesting trends I am seeing in the data obtained from birders rating the importance of certain app features. These are just some of my thoughts, so please weigh in with your thoughts as you look at the responses. If you haven't taken the survey yet, please do!
|side-by-side comparison on Sibley eGuide|
It is apparent that app users want to be able to keep records of their sightings within the app. I was indifferent to this as I keep track of everything on eBird, but there are loads of people who for years keep track of sightings in the margins of their paper field guides, so why not in their digital field guides too?
74% of respondents would like to see BOTH photos AND illustrations of the birds within a single app. I agree. Digital field guides can bring an end to the debate about which is better, photos or illustrations, simply pleasing everyone by providing both. Now I'd like to see the photos improve from just "pretty" photos to those that portray effectively the identifiable characteristics, like the Stokes, Kaufman, and Crossley field guides.
On a side note, how are these apps affecting BirdJam? Are they coming out with new products like digital apps themselves to compete? They were so innovative, but expensive compared to app prices today. Are they going to develop apps? (Update on BirdJam apps)
Connecting to social networking sights to share your bird sightings is another feature that is not "extremely important" to anyone. I thought it would be, at least to a few people. It seems like Tweeting a bird you just saw, especially a rare species, might be fun.
Finally, it appears that birders want it all when it comes to birding apps. They generally do want all-inclusive, comprehensive bird information. Not just identification info, but even the details down to the color of the eggs. Personally, I find myself in the middle, or leaning toward just having the basic identification information knowing I can find it online or in books. But with the ease of convenience of apps, why not have it all in one place?! I guess at some point the app becomes to big, memory-wise, for our devices and perhaps too expensive as it takes a lot of work to create. One-button taps linking you to third-party information sources online through the app could make providing loads of bird info easier to manage and develop. iBird kind of does this already with Birdpedia. I'd like to see Cornell's AllAboutBird.org tied into a birding app, and maybe eventually Birds of North America.
If you disagree with what everyone else seems to be saying, please take the survey and let your voice be heard! I'd also love to read everyone's opinions and observations in the comments.