Review: MyNature Tree Guide iPhone app

MyNature

Rating 4.5 out of 5

I recently tested MyNature Tree Guide, the second iOS app from MyNature Inc. Version 1.0 of the Tree Guide was released in June and is overall a great first version with room for refinement.

The Tree Guide is a very useful app with a wealth of information about North American trees. The app provides information about 200 trees in the continental United States and Canada. Data for the app is stored locally on the mobile device and does not require a mobile connection to access the information.

The key feature of the the app is a wizard that steps the user through identifying a tree. The wizard works quite well and in testing with a few trees in my yard it seemed pretty accurate. The wizard has two main methods to determining the tree in question: by answering a few questions about the leaf/needle of the tree or by answering a more detailed 15-step questionnaire. The shorter wizard was far more user-friendly but not as accurate as the longer 15-question wizard.

The main issues I found with the MyNature Tree Guide centered around the user interface. For instance, buttons were cut off along the top of the profile for a specific tree and required scrolling to access the additional buttons. The fact that the buttons even scrolled was not readily apparent at first.

The overall visual design could stand a little more refinement. Some of the screen displays reminded me of a school handout - informative, but not necessarily an example of leading-edge mobile design. I would anticipate that MyNature will make improvements to the interface in subsequent versions of the app.

Design issues aside, the MyNature Tree Guide is a highly useful and informative app. I recommend it for anyone interested in identifying and learning more about the trees around them.