Monday, 30 July 2012

Bird Ticker App - Review

Apart from the first hints of the annual wader passage, July has progressed in the same vain as June - quiet! With regards to birds August really can't come too soon! Therefore, I have another birding app review to fill the column inches with for now.

As you will gather from the title, the Bird Ticker app from Purple Spectrum is based purely on ticking and listing. Most birders love to keep a list whether this be a garden, county or plain old life list. That said, I must be one of the few exceptions as listing has never really been at the core of my birding experience but even I like to know the number of birds I've seen from the garden - 62 if anyone is interested!

The opening page of the app is a bold green background with gold lettering, which I'm not really sure works, unless of course the developer has an Australian background... This may seem a bit petty but I'm a firm believer in choosing a softer palette of colour tones, which are easier on the eye for the end user and thus giving a more professional finish - colours and correct choice of fonts are key to any new brand.

The creation of lists on the app is simple and endless in terms of the number of lists you wish to keep, I created several popular choices amongst birders with ease. The app contains 626 names of birds - enough to keep most big 'UK' listers happy but for anyone who keeps Western Paleartic or World lists they would need to use the 'add a new bird' function, manually typing in the name of any new bird.

Create a list - simple!

The order of names is alphabetical which makes sense in a listing app - but where is my Latin name, this could have been easily added below the main name? The search function is useful - no one wants to keep scrolling through 626 names - I think having the birds grouped into families with a drop down menu might have added another dimension, if just to make searching and adding a new entry a little bit quicker.

Search function and alphabetical order of names - but no Latin name!

The drop pin mapping is there and this covers most of the planet, as is the automatic date recording functionality, with the ability to adjust the date if you are amending or adding historic sightings - no gripes with any of this.

Alpine Swift ticked on my County and Patch list - if only!

I was slightly concerned that there is no back-up function available and no option to export the data to another format or device - although I have been informed by the designers that as part of the continued development of the app these options will be available soon.

Conclusion: There's no bells or whistles with this app - as the man from the Ronseal advert said "It does exactly what it says on the tin". If you are a fan of keeping lists and having an instant database of your ticks to hand, then this is good tool to have in your back pocket. It's worth remembering that the purpose of the app is much less about recording any bird counts or daily sightings for which there are other apps available.

Overview: At £1.49 this app is not going to break the bank, although I do feel it would have been better placed in the 69p category, this may then appeal to a wider audience which could be the key to its success or failure, as the market for this app fits in more with the serious lister than the greater garden bird feeding public.

The Cowboy Birder rating of 3 out of 5 Chili's.

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