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iPhone App: Intro, Clean-Up, Kudos

Roadside America for iPhone.It’s been a speedy week since we released Roadside America for iPhone in the iTunes App Store.

Watch Trunkations for a series of posts on amusing and practical things you can do with our first mobile application, and road trip mobile device use in general. For those of you on other phone platforms (Blackberry, Android, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile) and who won’t touch an iPod touch, we hope this isn’t too annoying. We had to pick somewhere to start!

One substantial benefit for all users — web or mobile — is that we have spent the last year carefully cleaning up our attraction data with bristly toilet brushes. We mapped a ton of locations, updated directions, chased down duplicate listings, retired places long gone, etc.  More to do, but it’s never been this sparkly and skid-free!

Roadside America for iPhone was a big project. Instead of rushing out a simple app in a month — like the smart opportunists — we’d been conceiving, developing, and testing throughout 2009.

We designed a solid tool for the long term, not a one-poot novelty app.

We worked closely with Joe D’Andrea (AKA Liquid Joe) — a multi-talented developer who has performed other miracles for over the years. Joe did the app software design/programming, and collaborated on the interface design. Whenever we tried to veer too far off the Apple HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) Highway, Liquid Joe elbowed us to get back between the lines!

Ken Smith and Susan Kirby were essential parts of the core Team that molded the editorial content —  writing, editing, categorizing, and debating attraction ratings, or topics such as the admission distinction between “Free” and “Donation.”

Hanford scram caution.Jay Kirby patiently wrangled the mighty database to accommodate some of the mobile bits. Even though he knows how it all works, he set up neat ways for us to see what lurks within the darkest recesses.

Without giving away too much about the app special features, a big thanks goes out to songwriters Mitch Friedman and Mark Sarto; also Craig Thom and Rob Nord for their sonic contributions.

We had an awesome group of beta testers who provided thoughtful and honest critiques and suggestions — many of which we acted on to improve the app.

It’s also been an immense help that tipsters continue to pelt us with a steady barrage of reports and photos on new places and favorites, and send notes of encouragement. It motivates us to keep evolving this bizarre body of work — now in a form that was unimaginable (and we have pretty good imaginations) when we started our original roadside odyssey. 

[Post by Doug Kirby]

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