Yesterday, the White House released its own iPhone app to complement WhiteHouse.gov, promoting live streaming video as one of the key features ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address.
I decided to give it a try. I’m watching live streaming video of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. And the quality isn’t too bad considering the fact AT&T doesn’t have a 3G network around here.
The app provides 5 tabs across the bottom: Blog, video, photos, newsroom, and live.
The newsroom and blog tabs are very similar. The newsroom tab includes more official releases and the text of speeches. The blog covers a wider range of topics and is a little less formal, but there seems to be a lot of overlap between the two sections.
The video section is playback of a variety of speeches, press conferences and public appearances, while the live tab includes a list of live and upcoming events. This is probably my one request for an improvement. There are currently four events under the live tab and they are not in order of start times. An event for Friday is at the top, two events for today in the middle and the President’s State of the Union is listed last. Also, if you click on an upcoming event, it actually loads video of a White House live graphic. I think it would be much better if it showed details of the upcoming event or even allowed you to sign up for some type of reminder.
The images under the photo tab include captions and can be sent in e-mails. They mostly feature key officials at events and public appearances, but there was a picturesque photo of the West Wing under a blanket of snow.
Overall, the design is simple if you’re looking to browse, but if you’re looking for something specific, I’d use a search engine.
It’s interesting watching the government work to catch up with technology. The White House also announced plans to unveil a WAP site, mobile.whitehouse.gov. And despite claiming more than 3 million followers on his own account, President Obama sent his first tweet ever from Haiti this week using @RedCross – “President Obama and the First Lady are here visiting our disaster operation center right now. ”
I might try out the app during the State of the Union next week and see how it holds up. Of course – you can also watch the President’s speech on KWWL.com! (Couldn’t resist slipping that in there.)
Posted under Apple, Politics, Web/Tech
This post was written by jjarvis on January 20, 2010