There are also numbers that change a lot more often, such as the statistic that a baby is born in the USA every eight seconds (Google’s results bring up different answers. This seems to be the most common). As we often use our devices to find information, one that can give us real time stats makes sense and can be a nice tool during conversations. That’s where World Counter comes in.
World Counter is an app that gives you updates on statistical information of what the developers describe as world problems, in real time. The app is quite interesting and has a few features worth talking about.
First of all, we have a screen with the following stats: people who’ve died of hunger; species that have gone extinct; number of landmine victims; forest loss; CO2 emissions; desertification; population growth; average temperature increase; electricity consumption; people newly infected with HIV; and oil, coal, and gas consumption, with each fuel source’s remaining reserves. These are all displayed on a screen with an accompanying image.
Home Screen + Options
Each statistic is updated in real time based on the number to the right of the image, under the heading. This is the number per year of whatever stat we’re looking at. Every time the number on the left changes, it’s counting up to the number on the right based on how often per second a particular stat happens. They also provide where they got the data from (though there is no link to the actual data, just the orgnaization that provides it). Finally, any stat that can be is accompanied by a donation link for an organization fighting for that particular cause. From what I can see, there are no mobile sites linked.
By default, you’re looking at these stats per year. If you press the menu button on your device, you’ll see two more timeframes: “Today” and “From the app start.” Pressing “Today” will give you the numbers from the day; it’s unclear what the start time for “Today” is as there are no settings for a timezone, but doing some quick math on some of the stats leads me to believe it counts from midnight in your device’s timezone.
There is also a way to see stats “from the app start.” This will give you the numbers based on the time you started the app, so if you started the app five minutes ago you’ll see how the numbers have accumulated over those five minutes. I thought that was a pretty interesting feature which could make for some hard-hitting facts depending on the venue. I could see a speaker starting this app, giving his speech about World Hunger, then citing the app at the end of the speech to tell his audience how many people died of hunger while he was giving the speech. That is some powerful stuff.
Stats 'From App Start'
This is a very focused app with a few cool ways to display the stats, which I like. However, I did run into some problems with the app. The first is that the app doesn’t maintain any kind of state. That is, if the screen turns off or you go to a different app, World Counter will restart. This can get annoying if you’re trying to switch between apps, or if you’re trying to see the stats over a particular period of time. You’ll have to keep only that app open, and turn off the your screen’s timeout function. You’ll also have to hope that you don’t get a phone call or other notification that will take you out of the app, which would reset the timer.
The design of the app also leaves a lot to be desired. The pictures take up about half the box, with the other information being left to the other half. If I were to design it, I’d either make the image a thinner, full width header with the info under it, or a more transparent background image, so you could focus more on the important stuff: the data. Right now, everything is scrunched to one side.
Finally, I’d like to see a more customizable stats screen, or at least more stats. It would be nice to be able to pick a few causes you support and add them, while removing the ones that don’t hold your interest as much. Linking to the actual source data wouldn’t hurt either.
World Counter is an interesting app that will give you real time statistics on world issues. I really like that they added a few different views for the stats, and think the stats “from the app start” could be incredibly interesting when brought up in the right conversations. That being said, I do think the app needs some refining, starting with letting it maintain state. Having to restart the app every time you do something else on your device is incredibly frustrating and impractical – plus, if you want to really harness the power of seeing stats from the app’s start, you need to make some changes on your phone in order to do it, which isn’t good software design.
I’m interested to see future iterations of this app, because it could really be used as a great conversation piece in a group setting with friends or otherwise.