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App Review of NASA Visualization Explorer

Updated: Apr 16


Mobile Mayhem!

App Review of NASA Visualization Explorer

The name of the app I reviewed is called the NASA Visualization Explorer and it was developed and published by The NASA Science Mission Directorate. The app is available on any iOS device. The NASA Visualization Explorer is intended to provide the general public with direct information about space-based research NASA is currently working on. It is a direct connection to their fleet of research spacecraft, and disseminates information in a fun and engaging way. The visualizations of the data are beautiful and the space images are breathtaking. Each story is written by scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Functionality

When you open the app on an iPad, you see at the bottom left corner a menu. The menu opens up a story list and a search bar. This search bar is helpful if you want to only look at stories related to one planet or a specific spacecraft, for example. The most recent stories are Star Collision, Dropped into a Hurricane, and Building Blocks for Surviving Titan.

Impressions

My initial impression of the iPad version of NASA Visualization Explorer is that it has a clean and visually appealing look. The image is a little big and leaves little room for other items. I have to click a little arrow to open the description, but then there are great supplementary videos and images related to the main topic. Then when you click on the small videos they enlarge but then it’s difficult to get back to the description and title. I like that you can save favorite stories to a list, and it’s super easy to download and share stories instantly.

Usability

I found the NASA Visualization Explorer to be highly intuitive and mostly user-friendly. There are only a few things that would make this app more usable. First I think the descriptions should be on the screen right after you click on the story, not after you click the little arrow for expanding. The down arrow that allows you to read the description is also very small and hard to see. I think the user would be able to see it better if it were larger and thicker.

Educational Settings

This app could be used in multiple different educational settings. If students are doing independent research for a project, they could refer to this for a fun way to find groupings of similar stories. The search feature makes it easy for people to get exactly what they want out of the stories. The video explanations are interesting and well made. What makes this app nice for students is that they can access it from their phones and even download stories for offline viewing. That way, you can read on the bus without using data!

Recommendation

Yes, I would recommend this app to anyone interested in space science, policy, and technology. The app has something for everyone from professional or amateur geoscientists, chemists, cosmologists, even climatologists. You can share via email, text and via many platforms like Google+ or Flipboard. The app has new stories several times per month, so not too often and not too little. The updates are frequent so bugs are worked out fairly quickly. The reviews of the app are fairly positive, it has 4.3 out of 5 stars on the Apple App store.

#Review #App #Technology #Education #NASA

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