The Brighton Official Visitor City Guide is the essential visitor guide to Brighton & Hove, England.
Developed by VisitBrighton, the city’s official tourism department, the app contains all the essential information you need to make the most of a trip to the city; it’s like having a mini-guidebook in your phone.
With sections covering Things to See & Do, Food & Drink, What’s On, Where to Stay and Shopping the app contains listings for hundreds of businesses, which each include an image, full description, opening times, admission prices, location and complete contact details including email and web links where appropriate.
The Brighton Official Visitor City Guide also contains information on the “city villages” that make up Brighton & Hove and suggested itineraries covering different themes, giving you the opportunity to explore areas that most visitors don’t know about.
The app also includes a ‘Favourites’ functionality enabling you to build up your own personalised itinerary of places to visit, restaurants to dine at and things to do during your trip.
Cutting straight to the chase of how to enjoy Brighton, begs the question of how to swiftly find what’s happening, where and when, with some costings thrown in or a map of how to get to or away your home for the night. This app seeks to serve all that up in one handy tool. Commercial sponsorship of the town’s economy. Note, town, not the city Brighton & Hove now is. Opened the app presents the Android owner with a pointless tap-through screen. Thereafter, there is the basic menu: Food & Drink, What’s On, See & Do, Where To Stay, Shopping, City Villages, Essentials, Itineraries. Each one of these categories (a whole page) loads a submenu. Each submenu has type and location filters type and location to narrow searches. Each listing has detailed information about its official address, hours, prices, whatevers, including phone numbers, email and links to its website, a nice little photograph and a heart sign.
The heart sign notes your interest in some place and stores it on the last main menu item, the neatly named Itineraries. Its filter doesn’t go by place and price, but by thematic times to be had: by the name ‘Ideas’ ~ My Itinerary, 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, Family, Gay & Lesbian, Green, as if they follow in sequence with your own rough ideas to start with, then the suggestion that you might spend an entire 24 hours in town. From 24, to 48 and then, wahey, make a weekend of it. It’s a sales strategy but also, perchance something more. The list continues to imply that instead of just visiting you have your family here. You live amongst us. Asylum seekers from London (a suburb of Brighton anyway, to be fair) constantly driving up houseprices or holding them up harder in hard times. Thanks for that. After living amongst us, what is the logical progression? That’s right, you will go queer. However after that you will be a committed Greenie, saving the planet and your conscience along the way.
All this is fine, assuming you need an app at all for it ~ I’ll come to this point later but it needs to be said here. It’s somewhat clunky. It’s all big pictures and extra screens to pop through, as if we read full screen pictures faster that icons and text. On my Samsung Galaxy S2, which loads every other app, instantaneously it spends a little while loading. Although everything is beautifully mapped, making use of Google’s mapping technology, you can’t switch through that to using your Google accounts directions tool or address book or whatever. The point being that it means you have to go another app in order to use this tool with the rest of your phone. In a worst case scenario you’re thrown back onto a paper map. Just imagine.
That said, I’m a fussy appreciator. Sorry about that. If your elderly rellies were coming to Brighton or you spend all day long on Facebook and don’t know how the actual internet really works or you’re an Iphone user (see below, as mentioned above) who popped down to the seaside for a day and now are getting loved up by our town, then this might be your rescue guide to the galaxy we’ve got lined up for you, most of which is, of course, not yet contained in this app anyway, I bet. Doubtless the content is kept up to date, so far as is humanely possible but it will change
- Food & Drink submenu: 75 venues
- What’s On: 13 listings
- See & Do, 60+ venues
- Where to stay 60+ venues
- Shopping: about 50 shops.
Essentials: in sequence, a variety of suggested itineraries, helpful links and numbers, parking information and the like, followed by seven podcasts. Oddly, even though I’m reviewing the Android version the podcasts can only be downloaded with Apple’s Itunes Store. Here’s an app to make Apple’s shop work on Google’s phone. Somewhere in here. I can’t be bothered to rummage for it. The whole thing is ridiculous. Why can’t we just download it from the council as a simple MP3? Frightened we’re going to nick it. Come off it.
City Villages: a neat way of summing up that Brighton & Hove (for that matter) is often called one big village but in fact it is a cluster of villages. This was, historically true as much as it is culturally now. The app calls them 13 in number.
They all have some justification as being worth visiting in themselves but one of them is impossible to photograph prettily. Regular readers will recall my video tutorial on how to walk directly across the quirky roundabout at the heart of Seven Dials. Truth is its a great area but impossible to photograph diplomatically without considerable effort. I’d have pitched for an aerial shot. The City Council’s app solved the problem by simply not bothering with a picture at all, leaving us with an ugly white space and the words “No Images Available”. Makes the app look unfinished. Perhaps these spaces (there are others) will be updated soon?
Size of listings. What’s On certainly underpopulated, as is Where To Stay and Shopping. In the legendary North Laine, there are over 300 shops. That’s just one part of town. Most unconventionally, See & Do advertises places away from Brighton. The very first item in the list is the Ashdown Forest Llama Park, well over 20 miles away.
Concept re Iphone & Android
Skip this paragraph if you can’t stand learning about phones and the internet. Basically, Apple make its customers use an app for all sorts of things which could just be mobile web pages. The problem began with the late Steve Jobs deciding that Flash, which was used to encode much of the video on the web, could not appear on iphones because it was a security risk. The perceived risk was that using Flash, which is capable of interactive programming as well as making graphics move, someone else could set up an alternative itunes shop and sell apps to you, instead of Apple. Mr Jobs couldn’t have that, which proves he was a control freak, a ruthless businessman and a coward of competition. Google’s Android phones have taken the opposite approach, by allowing Flash and allowing their users to accept apps which do not appear in their app shop, now confusingly called Play. Add to the mix the fact that Android was late to the party and the upshot is that people have become accustomed to use an app. This entire app, which simply must have introduced an extra layer of updating, could be binned in favour of surfing Brighton online.
Notwithstanding the fact that they should be sold in the Early Learning Centre rather than to adults as useful tools, Iphones are used by their owners in such a way that an app like this is necessary. The insistence that the podcasts are downloaded from an itunes account, reinforces this notion on Androiders. Weather app? Met office online. Rail times app? Rail times online. Find a hotel app? Any search engine, online. I could go on and on but that’s the point. Only one app is needed for hundreds of the most commonly uses for phones. A browser to surf the net properly. This is really an app for owners of Apple’s iphone. It’s best suited to our elderly relatives or friends who you don’t want to spend that with. You could recommend it to them and fuck off for the weekend.