Launching the Beta Program for our Remembering WWI App

Today we’re launching the public beta program for the Remembering WWI iPad app, which puts newly digitized primary source materials into the hands of teachers and museum professionals nationwide. The app is a product of a two-year collaboration among the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National WWI Museum, and others, all working toward the goal of connecting teachers, students and history enthusiasts to primary sources in interesting new ways.

I’ve written a few times about the moving and still images related to World War I and II that have been part of a large scale digitization effort at NARA over the last few years. In addition to the digitization of these rarely-seen photographs and moving images, this app is part of a long-term community engagement plan to connect with existing and new audiences for NARA. On our NARAtions blog, the team has shared how we’ve taken a user-centered design approach to one of our first cross-unit productions, and opened up our collections to free and creative reuse.

We welcome your participation and feedback in this beta program for the Remembering WWI app. The best way to get involved is to join the conversation on the History Hub, where you can learn about downloading the beta app, participate in user experience research, and share your feedback and ideas to help inform changes to the app before being promoted in schools and museums in February 2017.

WWI app screenshot 1

The app features a geographical interface that allows users to explore the archive, but also provides special resources for teachers and curators using the app.

WWI app screenshot 2

The geographical interface makes it easy to connect to content that is relevant to your own communities.

WWI app screenshot 3

WWI films have been broken into short segments based on theme and location, so that you can explore WWI moving images in an entirely new way. There are always links back to the catalog so you can view the film in its entirety.

WWI app screenshot 4

You can also view collections based on a number of diverse themes and locations, and also create your own collections from primary source materials based on subjects you may be studying or want to highlight.

9 thoughts on “Launching the Beta Program for our Remembering WWI App

  1. UPDATE: We are waiting for Apple approval for the app. In the meantime, the best way to get involved is to join the conversation on the History Hub.

  2. Congrats on your app, but I am always disappointed when an app is launched only for ios. I understand that this is only the beta version, but considering that android users outnumber iphone users in the U.S. and globally, wouldn’t you want more voices giving input? Is it that iphone users tend to have higher socioeconomic statuses and you imagine this is your main audience? Or is it simply that it was easier to design first in ios?

  3. Thanks so much for your requests regarding Android in addition to iOS. The short answer is yes, we eventually will add Android.

    We especially wanted users to engage with the source material in a dynamic and tactile way and tablets were the best platform to do that. The app is designed to make you feel like you are holding archival photos in your hands or that you have your own personal film viewer. The purpose of the beta launch is to expand the stakeholders providing feedback on the functionality and design of the app. During the stakeholder feedback sessions with educators and museums, we heard a preference for iOS which is one of the reasons we went that route first. We also felt that iOS for the beta launch would provide a large enough initial feedback for us to continue refining the design. As we complete the beta phase and make final enhancements based on user feedback, an Android version is planned for the final production launch of the app.

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