Reference covers a broad range of subjects, but all of them have to do with information. Dictionaries, phone books, encyclopedias, facts, and trivia all fall under the heading “Reference”. In this category you’ll find apps for the silly such as a texting encyclopedia as well as the seriously authoritative documents like the Constitution of the United States as well as other countries. There are even highly specialized apps geared toward gaining U.S. citizenship, monitoring earthquake information and various legal references. While Reference apps aren’t the rock stars of the App Store, they are steady, reliable workhorses that provide critical information at the tap of your finger.
Consider these points when searching for a Reference iPhone app. We looked at several apps and evaluated them on these points.
iPhone Reference apps include features as varied as the topics they represent; however, most apps in this category should include a depth of information in its area of expertise. By its very nature, a Reference app should provide reliable, correct information organized in an understandable system.
Interacting with a Reference app should be simple to understand. You shouldn’t need and instruction manual to figure out how to use the app. If the interface utilizes the unique features of the iPhone such as the accelerometers for landscape views making reading easier or the location-aware capabilities to personalize information, so much the better.
The graphics of an iPhone Reference app are important in communicating complex information in an understandable manner. Apps that take advantage of the iPhone’s beautiful display and provide clear, well-executed icons and buttons make using the program easier and more visually appealing.
App stability is critical for any iPhone app, simply because it affects whether you will actually want to use the program. If it crashes, freezes up or loads slowly, you won’t use the program out of sheer frustration.
How much memory a Reference app requires varies depending on the complexity of the program. Some iPhone apps require a few MB of space, some much more. The memory required for Reference apps depends on the images included and whether the information is obtained through an internet connection or if it’s included in the program.
Most iPhone apps come with very little support, however it’s helpful if the developer offers some online documentation, a FAQs page and a contact email address for specific problems or requests.
iPhone Reference apps are designed to provide information on a variety of topics. If you’ve found these programs useful, you may also want to look at some of the other iPhone apps or our Dictionary and Encyclopedia Software reviews.