Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest-Blogger App Designer Julia Sussner on 5 Fabulous Apps To Explore for Yourself

My amiga Julia Sussner is a never-ending inspiration to me. Fresh out of grad school (Cambridge University) with a degree in narrative architecture, she set up her own Palo Alto, California-based company, Parsing Place, and started producing wonderfully original apps and ebooks, among them, the series of Impressionist Paris Walking Tours and, with Katarina Sussner, the children's book Chubby Puggy -- if you've been following this blog, you know anything with pugs rocks my world! (She also did my first book trailer, for my novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. I still have no idea how she got that butterly to fly...)

In her own words, Sussner "approaches the digital realm as an inhabitable space – one which requires design, clarity and comfort in use." I can attest to that: her Paris walking tours are a wonder, utilizing GPS to allow the user to stroll to the exact spot a painting was made and to instantly compare paintings to contemporary photographs (and insert one's own). The apps also include recommended shops and cafes en route (and Julia's recommendations are the best). Parsing Place has just released a Movie Lover’s Paris app for the recent Woody Allen charmfest of a film, "Midnight in Paris." By overlapping the fictional world onto the map of Paris, the narrative from the movie provides a unique portal through which to explore the city.
Don't go to Paris, whether by airplane or armchair, without it!

Top 5 iPhone Apps to Explore for Yourself
By Julia Sussner

Versailles Garden App
With little to no interest in developing the city of Paris, Louis XIV improved the gardens of Versailles as if they were an urban complex. The landscaped alleys and avenues lend themselves well to an interactive application. The maze was not a garden motif for nothing…

Terminus Interactive Science Fiction App
There was a period when interactive narrative meant ‘choose your own adventure’ books – while the concept remains timeless, it’s refreshing to see this mode of storytelling reappear.

Star Walk – Astronomy Guide
The sky is not the limit, it’s just the beginning with this app. The celestial landscape is reconfigured according to your place and time. Exploring billion-year-old formations with an iPhone is oddly beautiful.

Our Choice Interactive Book
(Watch the Ted Talk video) This digital version takes the physicality of a book and evolves the components into objects with functions. The reader is now an interactor.

Camera +
Having a camera in your phone means you can capture and save moments as a visual archive. Image processing apps, such as Camera +, let you take better pictures and enhance them – giving a handcrafted edge to the images. But most important are the chemical-free darkroom thrills, right at your fingertips.

--Julia Sussner

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--->For the complete archive of Madam Mayo guest blog posts, click here.
--->Recent guest-bloggers include Eva Schweitzer on the Berlin Wall, Sam Quinones on true tales, and Eric D. Goodman on train stories and, way back when, Nancy Levine on pugs.