The Post’s new mobile Going Out Guide

While the ombudsman isn’t typically in the business of reviewing technology, I think The Post’s new and improved Going Out Guide app for iPhone users, a year in the making, is worth checking out.

 Complete with all the Going Out Guide staples from The Post’s Web site, this app is a portable, condensed version that is useful not only for locals but also for weekend visitors or anyone seeking help getting around the area or finding worthwhile restaurants and events.

The first thing you’ll see after opening the app (aside from tips on how to use it) is the “What’s On Deck” feature, which uses playing-card graphics to highlight a variety of hand-picked items by the editors. From art shows to restaurant reviews to performances, you can shuffle through the cards quickly and tap on the card you like for more information. Current highlights include a guide to Oktoberfest celebrations, a critique of the new ShopHouse Southeast Asia Kitchen by food critic Tom Sietsema and a review of Brad Pitt’s recently released flick “Moneyball.” These playing cards are swapped out regularly and appeal to a wide array of tastes and inclinations.

The most helpful feature, I thought, is the guide to the Metro subway system. You can quickly find the closest station to your current location, the next departing train, the full system map and any alerts or advisories for lines and individual stations that may affect travel. This is similar to the DCRider app put out by Express, though without a trip planner and fare information.

The other sections of the app — restaurants, events, movies and bars and clubs — allow you to browse by “Best Of” lists and editors’ picks, or by typing in the name of where you want to go in the search feature. You then can view the results in list form or by viewing a map that pinpoints the results in relation to your current location.

And in case you want to provide feedback, there is a built-in comment form under the “More” section that goes directly to the mobile team.

A slight downside, however, is that this app is available only for iPhone users and is not being developed for any other platform, such as Android, though this could change depending on demand.

One of The Post’s pillars in its long-range business strategy is to be “the indispensable guide to Washington.” This app gets it closer to the goal.

If you have comments on the new app, you can send them to goingoutguide@washingtonpost.com.

 

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