Cat-Nav: The developers’ view

We’ve recommended around 200 iStory titles since we first began putting together our stylish, elegant and free-to-download Cat-Nav discovery app at the end of last year.

Thousands of satisfied customers have now downloaded Cat-Nav and we continue to get great feedback about both our reviews and the app itself. We’re absolutely delighted that it is shaping up into an invaluable addition to the collection of any discerning lovers of interactive iStory apps.

So Cat-Nav is a big hit with our customers. But what do other developers and publishers – the companies whose work we critique week in, week out – think to the app?

We decided to ask them.

Joshua Douglas Walton gave Five Stop Story a very positive review on Cat-Nav earlier this year, rating it ten out of ten. Five Stop Story is the first app from the London-based company of the same name, and is essentially an anthology of short stories to read in five stops on a commute, for iPhone and iPad.

“As a new entrant to the publishing market we were very pleased to have come to the attention of the Cat-Nav review team,” says Ruth Heald, CEO of Five Stop Story. “We felt that the team at Cat-Nav had really engaged with the concept of the app and understood our vision for Five Stop Story.”

“The reviewer had taken the time to read our short stories and write a comprehensive review. Cat-Nav had helped us to raise our profile in a crowded marketplace.

“In the past few years there has been a proliferation of reading apps. It seems like every man and his dog has an app and in this crowded marketplace, it’s become more difficult for the discerning reader to discover high quality, new reading apps.

“This is where Cat-Nav comes in. Developed by the expert team at Persian Cat Press, Cat-Nav reviews reading apps and helps readers to find the best apps out there. This is a great resource for readers and app developers alike.”

Dave Windass, who also works as a playwright and theatre critic when he’s not reviewing apps for Cat-Nav, gave Luminary Digital Media’s Shakespeare’s The Tempest for iPad a glowing nine-star review a few weeks ago, describing it as “a magnificent way to get to grips with Shakespeare.”

“I am really impressed with Cat-Nav,” says Elliott Visconsi, Associate Professor of English & Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame and co-director of The Tempest project. “We are very grateful for the enthusiastic and professionally detailed review of The Tempest for iPad. The reviewer identified key features in the app and seemed to grasp the aims and ambitions of the project intuitively.

“In a moment when anyone can review software, the input and feedback from a true professional – who can identify both outstanding features and shortcomings – is especially valuable for developers.

“Cat-Nav is a great discovery tool. It curates and recommends apps elegantly and looks great in the process.”

Ink Robin is a storybook app company run by four friends in Toronto. Dave gave their picture book app Leonard an eight-star review.

“We were really pleased that you decided to review Leonard,” says Joanna Rivard of Inkrobin. “We were flattered! We felt that the review was just the right length and provided readers with enough info to give a good sense of the story and its style – hopefully enough to tempt people into having a look for themselves.

“We were really pleased that Dave appreciated the way the interactive elements are integral to the story, and enhance the reading experience rather than distracting from it – that’s something that’s very important to us. And of course we were thrilled that he liked the overall aesthetic of the book.

“We think your Cat-Nav app is a fabulous idea. Even though there are some incredible books/apps out there, it’s often impossible to find them in the App Store. So your app is a fantastic tool for people (including us) who want to find the best kids’ books quickly, and also to be able to read reviews before purchasing. It’s a very handy little tool.”

Both Joshua and Dave have reviewed iEnglish.com’s graphic novels for Cat-Nav, with the former considering Dapper John (“You’re in for a treat”) and the latter looking at Kickback (“a tremendous package of work”).

“It was great to be given a full-length review by a digital magazine that clearly knows its stuff,” says Russell Willis, Managing Director of the Tokyo-based boutique software developer. “Cat-Nav is a neat way of staying up-to-date with quality graphic novel apps and interactive story apps.”

At Persian Cat Press, we’re all big fans of Tabella Publishing’s graphic novels for iPad, our reviewer Josh in particular. He reviewed Hippy Jonny and the Banality of Life, Thomas Wogan is Dead, and Dreams and Everyday Life, saying about the latter: “It’s a spellbinding read.”

“We were really thrilled with the reviews you gave our books,” says Kevin Quinn of the Dorset-based Tabella. “Whilst the print editions have already been reviewed by the graphic novel/comic book press when new, it was fantastic to have the app versions reviewed by someone outside of that field. It was great to have them mentioned again having been in print for a while.“

“Also, because you’re outside of the traditional graphic novel world, and therefore to some extent ‘objective’, we felt that your reviews were extra important. Because apps/books as apps are still so new, it’s excellent to have a reliable source of information on what they’re like.

“There are a lot of app aggregator sites around, but they don’t really ‘do’ proper reviews, and because most people don’t leave reviews on iTunes, it’s great to have a resource like Cat-Nav.

“I think Cat-Nav itself is great. I love the design, the navigation and the general look of the app.”

Dave also reviewed Dave Morris’ new take on Frankenstein, in the shape of the well-received app from Profile Books, describing it as an “extraordinary retelling” of this classic tale.

“We were delighted with Frankenstein’s review on Cat-Nav,” says Joe Humfrey, Development Director for Inkle Studios, the Cambridge-based developer who put the Frankenstein app together. “It was well written and insightful, and of course, very complimentary about our app!”

“The Cat-Nav app is solidly built. The aesthetics of the menu screen are especially well designed.”

Our marketing & PR Manager, and occasional Cat-Nav reviewer Sean Smith last year gave a big thumbs up to Cozmo’s Day Off, an “adorable” picture book from Ayars Animation.

“We were truly touched to hear what you thought of our company your review of Cozmo’s Day Off,” says Cristina Grau of the California-based publisher. “We very much appreciated you taking the time to download Cozmo and tell us your thoughts.”

“We also found Cat-Nav to be very well designed. Our lead illustrator, Frank Grau Jr, personally thought the app to be very well laid out and the logo chosen to be of particular interest. Well done!”

You can get a free download of our Cat-Nav discovery app here.

1 thought on “Cat-Nav: The developers’ view

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