The US Department of Transportation’s NTHSA division released an app yesterday that allows users to view recall information. The very concise text from the DOT on the app page is some of the most descriptive yet succinct and to the point app write-ups we’ve seen to date.
No marketing hype. No attempt to go viral. Nothing showy at all about this app, just simple lists of the latest recalls initiated by the US DOT.
This app allows you to check on the most current published recalls from the Department of Transportation’s NTHSA division. It includes information on:
- Vehicle Recalls
- Tire Recalls
- Child Restraint Recalls
It also includes helpful news from the Department of Transportation regarding industry news and consumer notices.
Rather than a flashy display, the app focuses on content. Each recall listing is an excerpt of a more comprehensive recall notice covering everything from car seats to vehicles to tires. To view the complete notice, a couple of clicks has the app retrieve the full information from the safercar.gov site. Kudos to the developer, as the full version of the notice opens in the app, keeping the user within the app and enabling easy navigation between notices and other functionality. So many apps take the easy way out and simply launch Safari, exiting them from the app. We also liked the ability to share a notice via Twitter, Facebook, and email, since this information is meant to be passed along. One area of the app even provides a feed of DOT news, covering airline traffic data, vehicle change proposals, and more.
As with most apps, a few things could be polished to make this app deliver a better user experience:
- The “View in Browser” really isn’t needed. Include a recall “Detail” button and, when clicked, just display the information within the app (in a UIWebview for the techies out there) and be done with it. There’s certainly no need to make the user figure out what viewing it in a browser really means.
- Search really is needed. Browsing through all these, sorted as they are by date, really is an exercise in futility. Searching for things you know, like the model of your car, would be super-helpful.
- Short of browsing this information on a regular basis, finding something that may be applicable is next to impossible. Therefore, push notifications could really make this shine. Simply register for notifications for a car seat brand (if you have a baby), a car model, or the tires you have on your car (at least a brand of tire). When a new recall is posted that matches your registration, you’re sent a push notification with a small blurb of the recall notice. Simple as that, and a terrific way to spread the information much more quickly.
- Given that the current batch of car recalls includes motorcycles, RVs, etc. this should probably be called vehicle recalls.
- A little proofreading would go a long way. It’s not “carseat;” it’s “car seat.”
- Drop the advertising. Aren’t our tax dollars paying for this already, or is this merely someone re-purposing content that is freely available? How many people are really going to use this and madly click on the ads generating thousands of dollars of income for the DOT? We predicate exactly 5…
Suggestions for feedback aside, we applaud the DOT for working to put this important information in the hands of more people and leveraging new technologies to share information across a larger population. In our opinion, this demonstrates respect for the consumer, without reliance on media outlets to pick up a story and sensationalize it for the benefit of ratings. Way to go, DOT!