I work for an app strategy and development company, so it’s fair to say I’m a bit of an app snob. If an app performs poorly or has a bad user experience, it won’t last long on my phone or iPad. Below are 7 apps I’ve been enjoying and think you might like, too. I tried to avoid the usual suspects like Instagram and Twitter. In no particular order…
1. Dark Sky
My husband and I have been going on walks in the morning before work lately. The last month or so has been so rainy in our area. It’s easy to use the weather as an excuse not to go for a walk, but Dark Sky sucks the wind right out of the sails of our excuses by telling us exactly when the rain is going to start and end. So I know we have 40 minutes before the rain starts even though the sky looks like it’s going to open up any minute. It’s remarkably accurate.
This app is relatively new to me, but I think it will be a keeper! The Blinkist website describes the app like this, “Key insights from 2,000+ bestselling nonfiction books, transformed into powerful packs you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes.” I’ve been testing it, getting one free pre-selected book summary to listen to/read per day. I enjoy learning new things and depending on how the next few weeks of using it goes, would consider upgrading to the paid version. It starts at about $50/year.
3. Hobby Lobby
This is your standard shopping app and is nothing spectacular from a usability perspective. I’m pretty sure it’s a web app and the experience can be choppy. However, all usability shortcomings are forgiven because there is always a 40% off coupon waiting in the app. Crafters rejoice! Those supplies can be pricey.
The coupon is quick to get to when I’m in the check out line and really the only reason I ever open the app. I would never try navigating the app to buy something though. It just isn’t a smooth enough experience.
This app has been around for a couple years, but is new to me. Pillow gives me thorough reports on the quantity and quality of my sleep. It also has a feature that can record sounds while you sleep. I used that feature during the free trial period and with a husband who sleep talks a lot, it was a great source of entertainment.
If your friends and family are busy and schedules are hard to coordinate for gatherings, this app is for you. It allows you to take surveys of when your prospective event invitees are available to help pick the date that works best for everyone. I used it recently for scheduling a brunch with some ladies in our family and it worked much faster/easier than sending a ton of emails back and forth about who is free, when.
This app has been around for a while, but I just learned about it in a bar in Hawaii. Using your location, you can find pubs, wineries, and restaurants in your area that have certain beverages available. I’m not in the habit of planning where I eat around what beer is on tap/wine is available, but it’s fun to be able to check this. There is also an events tab that shares things like trivia nights, beer and wine tastings, and local bands playing in your area.
Charge is one of the apps I’ve downloaded most recently. Full disclosure — I haven’t used it beyond exploring the interface yet, but I like the concept so much that I had to include it on this list.
Charge allows you to sign up to do live runs with a trainer and a group of people from all around the world. For example, I can register to do a run of “30 minute light intervals with upbeat hits” on Wednesday morning at 6AM with a particular trainer. Then at 6AM on Wednesday, we all log into the app and do the run “together” virtually. If you’re anything like me, having an appointment helps keep you accountable. I’m hopeful about how this app will help motivate me to make my workouts.
What are some of your favorite apps?