New update for the Sibley iPhone app

Drew WeberApps, General News and Info, Reviews3 Comments

I was excited to see a few weeks ago that there was an update on my iPhone for one of my favorite apps- the Sibley eGuide to Birds of North America. It wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped however, because it did not include the newest content from Sibley’s updated 2nd edition. It was instead a very overdue update to the user interface. Back in 2013, Apple released iOS 7, which brought in a whole new design language, focusing on a flatter design, translucent panels and more white space to put the focus on the content. Apps that have not incorporated these changes have looked increasingly out of date as the years go by.

The old look

The old interface had been the same since the app was first released, and was looking quite dated with the gradient in the blue navigation bar that stands in stark contrast with the flat design that is currently in vogue. Everything was cluttered on one screen, with buttons somewhat randomly placed, and some areas of the content touchable to zoom. All in all, it felt like a mishmash of a design.

The new look

The Sibley Guide now appears much cleaner and updated with 4 main buttons at the bottom that are always available to move you between different content for the bird. Gone is trying to compress everything in one page, which was messy, and the default view is now larger, full screen views of the illustrations, a change that is a huge improvement in my mind. The slightly larger images don’t work as well in the ‘Compare’ feature, where you can see that both birds don’t quite fit in the screen at one time.

So what do you think? Happy about the new look? Bummed that the new content isn’t included? Let us know in the comments!

  • Remember when the new Sibley app was going to launch with the book? I wonder if we’ll get it before the 3rd edition of the book goes to press..

  • Holly Merker

    One thing that I wish I could change in the updated app is in the audio section. When I hit the sound button, automatically the first song for the species starts playing without my prompting.
    In the earlier version, you could select which song, or call, you wanted to play by manually pushing that selection.
    The default play is disruptive, and problematic, if you are in the field and start playing the song accidentally. Especially during the breeding window.
    Even if you are not in the field, it’s good to keep in mind this will auto-play, if you are conscientious of making noises in whatever setting you are using it (I accidentally launched it in a waiting room filled with patients last week!)
    Perhaps there is a way to stop this default play?
    Thanks for any tips.

  • Kim Steininger

    I agree with Holly!