The Branches iPhone and iPad app helps us understand the US government and issues of governing authority. The Branches (by Inventacy) is an Education app that provides a very simple and basic knowledge about the three branches representing our United States governing powers (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial). The Branches app also includes the member representatives, major historical laws, Presidential Documents, and Supreme Court decisions as well.
The Branches is a great quick reference tool and/or supplemental learning tool. This app consists of an ultra clean, very structured, and easy-to-use user interface for easy learning. I can’t think of another app right now that is easier to get around in than this one. The application opens up to a dark blue page with 3 separate bookmark graphics representing the 3 US governing branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. On these bookmarks you’ll see the name of the building that each branch resides in, a short bulleted list of facts like: which Article of the Constitution established each specific branch, what components the branch consists of, and what major issues each branch has authority over.
You’ll need to dig a little deeper than this to get more value out of the initial bookmark graphics by going to the “View Branch” tab in order to pull up another screen with 4 (tiered) tabbed file folder graphics to get a more thorough, but simple layman explanation for each branch. When I say simple I mean simple because this app cuts straight to the bare bones of the information without bogging you down with a bunch of unnecessary wording (usually 1-2 sentences only to cover the explanation). Personally, I like that, especially when covering dry topics like US Government. The Branches app also provides a bottom navigation tool bar for even more information to explore under these three branch categories. For example, under the Legislative Branch you’ll find a tab to explore: Speakers, Acts (also containing the 27 Amendments), and a Timeline tab. In the Executive Branch section you will find: Presidents, Documents, and a Timeline tab. The Judicial Branch section, has tabs for information on: Justices, Cases, and a Timeline.
One nice thing about the lower navigation tool bar is that there is an area (for each branch) where you can discover a little more about the past and present people who make up each governing branch with the inclusion of simple facts like the representative’s name, political party, state and term, along with a portrait of each member representative. These can be filtered alphabetically or by year number sequence — and the information pops up in a cool flip up screen. Within this app there is a search function (found in the magnifying glass icon in the upper right) that allows you to search names, documents and materials — but appears to search only the given information from within the app. This definitely limits the scope of useful information provided.
Although I love the simplicity that this iPhone and iPad app gives, I can see why the developers state that it is meant to be used as a “supplemental” learning tool since it only provides very basic (but still useful) information. I do like the fact that all the current app information is provided from within the application and that there’s no need for internet connection, however, I think some additional external web resource references would greatly expand the information value of this app and would give it even more depth and validity. And, since it is referred to as a supplemental learning too, I think a fun addition would be a trivia type game or multiple choice questions for points. But, as far as being a simple, quick and easy fact resource for just about everyone (American adults and students, as well as anyone else studying American Government) — I think it’s a fairly good choice. Be sure to check out all our iPhone app reviews. Mrs. Crazy Mike