Name That App: Fotopedia Heritage

**As published in digiday:DAILY** Publisher: Fotonauts, Inc. Price: free Platform: iOS Advertising: None Functionality: C Fun Factor: B- Overall: B- Roaming the world to visit each of the more than 900 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage sites would be quite the feat. Most people would consider themselves lucky to see just one of these majestic, awesome and inspiring places – ranging from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada, to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument in Africa.

On the other hand, you may have visited a site and never even known it, and the Fotopedia Heritage app helps get travelers out of that guessing game. The app bundles 20,000 photos, 3,000 points of interest and a brief description and background on each of the more than 900 sites. Fotopedia, which makes the app, describes itself as a community-based photo encyclopedia. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed navigating my way around the world and discovering new places through all the curated content, I was more often annoyed by the general experience of the app. The content, which is culled from thousands of photographers and hundreds of curators, is great. The problem lies in finding the data or World Heritage site that you’re after. The opening screen of the app is a essentially a splash page, which acts more like an immediate roadmap that gives users the option to sign up for Fotopedia and contribute to the Heritage project, contact the company and share via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. The arrow that leads users into the actual app looks more like an embedded video play button, which also seemed a bit out of place. Nonetheless, inside the app is where the confusion really begins. First, an automatically selected site is displayed along with a navigation panel that takes far too much time to figure out. A small globe icon in the upper-right corner is the only thing that leads users out into a world view, with pins that are meant to designate the location of each site. For some reason, I was never able to zoom in on that map and see pins identifying every site within a country. I could only click on a pin for each country and then scroll through photos of each of the sites within that country. There is nothing intuitive about the user experience that was developed for this app. And because of that, I generally felt like I was missing out on way too many great photos and sites. In the end, the content and ever-expanding pool of photos that Fotopedia is pulling together for this app will be a great resource for a long while. But unless the publisher and its development team go back to the drawing board and improve the way users can discover that content, far too much of it will remain unlocked and undiscovered.

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