Mobile App Spotlight: Atlas Obscura

May 03, 2023

Three mobile phones are placed on a light purple background, displaying different screens from the Atlas Obscura app.

In the left screenshot, the path with trees looks like a magical spot, and the

Exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. It’s always exciting to stumble upon unique spots that few others know about. Recently, I found the Atlas Obscura app, and I was very excited. This mobile app is available for both iOS and Android, and it’s an excellent tool for exploring unique destinations around the world.

One of the most interesting features of this cross-platform app is the interactive map, which plots all of the unique places in the Atlas Obscura database, making it easy to find hidden gems nearby or plan your next adventure. The mobile app development team has done an excellent job of designing a user-friendly interface that allows you to navigate the app with ease. Each location has detailed information, photos, and tips from the community, allowing you to get a better understanding of what makes each place so special.

As someone who loves to plan ahead, I love that the Atlas Obscura app lets you create custom lists to organize your itinerary or bucket list. You can also use a “Been There” feature to track your progress as you explore places around you.

The Atlas Obscura app also lets you contribute your own discoveries, sharing new places you have found with other travelers in the Atlas Obscura community. If you’re someone who loves to explore unique destinations, then the Atlas Obscura app is a must-download.

Idle Gaming: Bluehouse Group’s Top Picks for Entertaining Inactivity

May 02, 2023

Progress Quest, released in 2002, is widely considered the first idle game and was created by Eric Fredricksen as a parody of EverQuest and other MMOs. Currently, Bluehouse Group is hooked on the idle game Universal Paperclips, playing the game has sparked some interest in creating our own idle game; here is a list of some of the team’s favorite idle games.

Progress Quest is a satirical idle game that parodies the genre of RPGs by automating character progression and gameplay.

A Dark Room is a text-based adventure game that immerses players in a post-apocalyptic world and challenges them to survive and rebuild.

Cookie Clicker is a free online game where players click on a giant cookie to earn cookies, which can then be used to purchase upgrades and buildings to increase cookie production.

Kittens Game is a text-based incremental game where players manage a civilization of kittens, gathering resources, researching technologies, and building structures to progress through different eras.

Egg, Inc. is a clicker game where players manage a virtual egg farm, purchasing upgrades and vehicles to increase their production and profitability.

Universal Paperclips is an incremental game where players manage a paperclip-making AI that gradually becomes more intelligent and resourceful, eventually expanding to take over the entire universe.

Mobile App Spotlight: feeeed

May 01, 2023

The image contains three screenshots of the feeeed mobile app, all of the screenshots are in front of a green background and bottom navigation items labeled

I recently stumbled upon a mobile app called feeeed and it’s been a game-changer for me when it comes to digesting content. As someone who can easily get lost scrolling through various social media platforms, I was happy to find an app that gives me more control over what I see.

The app’s user experience is incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate. I had fun building my own news feed based on all of my preferences. As someone who consumes a lot of different content, like blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, and Newsletters, it’s nice to have them all in one place.

One of the coolest things about this app is that it allows you to create your own custom reminders, which I found to be a really neat touch. Plus, if you’re trying to stay active, you can even link the app to your health app to see your step count for the day on your feed.

What sets feeeed apart from similar apps is the respect for your privacy. Your data stays on your device, giving you total control over your information. Another feature I love is that it has a built-in reader mode, which is always nice to have.

Overall, feeeed has quickly become one of my favorite apps of the year.

Mobile App Spotlight: Blyss

April 28, 2023

Three screenshots of a mobile productivity app called Blyss, presented against a light blue background. The top of each screenshot displays the month

I’ve never really felt the need for a productivity app. I used to believe that tracking my productivity wasn’t essential, and with so many apps available in the market, it was intimidating to find the right one. That is until I stumbled upon Blyss.

What I immediately fell in love with was the app’s minimalist approach to productivity tracking. The sleek look and feel of the app coupled with its sophisticated features really make it standout. The app is highly intuitive and customizable, allowing you to choose what activities you want to track, be it chores, meals, sleep, or hobbies. Every evening, the app prompts you to mark your mood, how well you slept the previous night, what meals you had that day, what hobbies you engaged in, what chores you completed, and much more.

One of my favorite features is the monthly “mood flow” chart that displays your highs and lows for the month. Another great feature is the ability to create your own activity groups. For instance, I created a “Pets” group where I added activities like “Playing with my dog” and “Giving my dog a bath”.

One minor issue I faced was that although you can set emojis for everything you’re tracking and even change the default emojis, the app doesn’t allow you to search the emoji library. You have to manually find the emojis by scrolling and filtering them by category.

While the app is available for free on Apple Store, it’s currently not available for Android users.

Designing User-Friendly Interfaces: The Importance of Hick’s Law

April 27, 2023

Have you ever wondered why it takes so long to make a decision when there are too many options presented to you? That’s where Hick’s Law comes in. It’s a fancy way of saying that the more choices we have, the longer it takes for us to decide. This principle is crucial in the world of web design and development, where we want to make sure that our users have a seamless experience.

It’s not as easy as just limiting the number of options though. We want to strike a balance between simplicity and complexity. We don’t want our website or mobile app to be so simple that users get confused, but we also don’t want to overload them with too many buttons and options either. Navigation menus and forms can be particularly tricky to get right.

That’s why Hick’s Law is so important. By keeping it in mind while designing, you can reduce the cognitive load on our users and create a user-friendly interface that keeps them engaged and happy.

Are Newsletter Popups Worth It?

April 25, 2023

Imagine this: you stumble upon an intriguing article on a website you’ve never visited before. You eagerly begin reading, but suddenly, a popup appears inviting you to subscribe to that company’s newsletter. What do you do? Do you subscribe and continue reading? Do you decline the invitation? Or do you exit the site altogether?

As someone who works in marketing, I can certainly appreciate the desire to increase newsletter subscriptions, but is an in-your-face approach really the best way to go about it?

Newsletter popups can be an effective marketing tactic, but I believe they’re a double-edged sword. They’re intrusive and disrupt the user’s experience, potentially leading users to leave and never return to your website again.

Personally, I would suggest placing the newsletter signup option in a less obtrusive location on the website. Additionally, taking the time and effort to create a newsletter that is truly valuable, entertaining, and enjoyable to read could lead to a healthier growth of the newsletter and a more engaged audience.

Is An AI Librarian Actually Helpful?

April 14, 2023

A screenshot of the website 'Librarian AI'. The headline text reads

As the weather warms up, I always find myself turning to books more frequently. Recently, I was excited to come across an AI-powered book recommendation website that piqued my interest. The concept is straightforward: input three books that you enjoy, and the AI generates a list of recommendations based on your selections.

However, I noticed that the site’s suggestions were a bit too predictable. Rather than recommending more obscure, lesser-known titles, the AI recommended books that I was already familiar with. I even had my girlfriend give the site a try, and it suggested a few books that she already owned but had not yet read, though maybe this is a sign that the AI is maybe too good.

While there are plenty of book recommendation sites driven by human touches, such as Shepherd and Goodreads, I had never seen one powered by AI before. It was fascinating to see this technology in action and a truly cool experience overall. My only complaint is that I wish the AI was capable of going deeper and maybe asking the user more questions about their preferences so that I could uncover even more unique book recommendations beyond the initial results. It will be fun to watch this website develop and improve its feature sets, and if that happens I will definitely use it more.