Joel Reyes (Charlotte, NC) —
As I do every month, I present five of my favorite apps. This month, I’ve curated apps which are meant for your average consumer or citizen, but better connect them to information of a public / civic sector nature. We start with information about the entire world, and end with an app that connects you with information about one specific person.
United Nations Foundation: People often ask “How can I get involved?” in the world. The new UN Foundation mobile application allows citizens worldwide to learn more about areas where they want to add their voices, advocate and help support the UN. It makes it easy, fun, and informative to engage every day with the UN. Stay informed with instant access to UN Foundation information, get connected to mobilize friends in your social networks, and make a difference by doing things like sending a message to thank a peacekeeper, or sharing facts about girls’ lives in the developing world with your peers.
USA – Culture Smart!: Culture Smart! provides essential information on people’s attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. With this app you can learn what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with locals. Culture Smart! also offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. One might imagine that this is the kind of information that State Department officials would get before deploying to a foreign country to work – now it’s an app in the palm of your hand.
Recollect: As an app that lets you hone your observational powers, Recollect is all about the gamification of memory. When you have time to kill and want to test your alertness and memory, this is the app for you. Running through a simple routine of “Observe, Recollect, and Score” lets you earn points for speed and accuracy, and you can also compare your skills to a worldwide leaderboard. In an era of infinitely increasing information, sometimes a search engine like Bing is not always available to help you find it for some reason. Memory and recollection skills are still important!
ColorVisionTest: Color vision deficiency (AKA color blindness) is quite common in the general population, about 5% believe it or not. The ColorVisionTesst app identifies specific kinds of color vision deficiencies using computer-generated colors based on the same tests used by optometrists. Although you should always consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a final diagnosis, this app is a approximation to get you started. One can imagine not only “home” applications, but also uses for, say, teachers in underprivileged neighborhoods or for people in the Peace Corps.
Graci’s World: The Graci’s World app brings you the story and life trials and accomplishments of a little girl named Graci who has Down Syndrome. This app serves as a resource for parents that know they are going to have a child with DS and parents that already are blessed with a special needs child. This app has reached so many people and gives reasurance that having a child with DS is a blessing.
Whether connecting citizens with a world of information about the UN’s work or local cultural practices in dozens of countries, or much more singular information in the form of preliminary medical tests and stories, public sector-related apps are increasingly being developed with consumers in mind.
Joel Reyes is a senior developer evangelist for Microsoft public sector. Follow him on Twitter at @joelcitizen.
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People often ask “How can I get involved?” The UN Foundation mobile application allows citizens worldwide to learn more about areas where they want to add their voices, advocate and help support the UN. It makes it easy, fun, and informative to engage every day with the UN.