A couple of months back I did a review of an excellent app called The 911 Memorial: Past, Present, and Future. The app is an iPad exclusive, created by Steve Rosenbaum – an emmy-award winning writer and producer who has been documenting the events of 9/11 since the day they occurred.
Rosenbaum refers to the app as an AppBook (a great term I think) and calls it ‘history in your hands’. Here’s a slice of my thoughts on it from my review:
Anyone with even mild interest in the events of 9/11, the history of the Twin Towers, or the present and future vision of the 9/11 memorial will want to spend a lot of time with this app. Because the app’s creator has been closely involved in documenting 9/11 for ten years, the range of content is excellent. … I could easily see this app ending up in US classrooms, as part of the materials to be used when covering 9/11 in history classes.
Today Version 2.0 of the app has been released. It’s a major update with lots of new content, much of it in response to reader reactions and requests – as Rosenbaum believes it is important to listen to readers and ‘make an AppBook dynamic’. That strikes me as a great approach to iPad books.
Many reviews of the AppBook showed how well received it was, like this one:
"I feel like I have been given such a gift. It is gorgeously presented and in prefect taste." Tikatikaeq2 / September 14th, 2011
But there were some criticisms for the app as well. The response from Rosenbaum to those criticisms is impressive and has been a key factor in this 2.0 update:
When I got a few criticisms, my first response was that they hadn’t read the description of the App, which was very much what I experienced and about New York. But then as a few more arrived, I saw a theme. They wanted a 9/11 app to address all of the victims. As I thought about it, I realized that the Memorial itself has the name of the victims from Shanksville and the Pentagon, and I had left that part of the story out. So, were the critics right? Certainly they had strong feelings, and I had the ability to address them and make the app stronger and more emotionally engaging for part of my audience. Frankly, in the end – I found their arguments compelling… and I simply couldn’t ignore them.
And the result is a whole lot of excellent new content, specifically these new sections:
– Shanksville, PA & The Pentagon (with video and photos).
– "How To Tour" section for people planning to visit the Memorial.
– Explore The Memorial – The Names Parapet (with video and photos).
– Gallery: Opening Day at the 911 Memorial.
This was already an excellent AppBook. This update adds content covering some of the core parts of the story and also some great new content covering the memorial opening. I love some of the images and video clips from the opening day.
I’d love to see more iPad ‘AppBooks’ be handled as this one has been – being viewed as dynamic and responding to reader reaction when it merits it.
Here’s an App Store link for The 911 Memorial: Past, Present, and Future; it’s priced at $0.99.