WaPo Creates App for D.C. Tourists

Love them or hate them when they linger on the right hand side of the Metro escalator, tourists are a staple of Washington, D.C. And WaPo‘s trying to target them with a new, free iPhone app, Explore D.C. Of course, it’s for locals, too. It’s for everyone! It’s coupons, weird fun geeky facts and more. Says WaPo, it’s “pretty darn smart.”

See the internal memo…

To the Staff:

I am delighted to announce the release of Explore D.C., an iPhone app aimed at tourists, but with plenty for locals to enjoy too. Explore D.C. is a guidebook more engaging than any print or online product out there; it’s a deals app with coupons to the Newseum, the Phillips Collection and other A-list locations; it’s a mapping/navigation solution that’s pretty darn smart. Best of all, it’s free!

For every sight covered in the app, the team dug up forgotten facts about the city — many found in the Post’s archives — to wow visitors. For example: Did you know there’s a cave under the Lincoln Memorial, with walls covered in graffiti mocking the notoriously obese former president William Howard Taft? So already we’ve got Fodor’s beat. We think people will want to explore Explore D.C. because it’s fun and not just because it saves them money and keeps them from getting lost. Explore DC will help acquaint readers from outside the city with Washington and The Washington Post brand while bringing locals closer to the city in which they live and work.

Explore D.C. was created by a very small team, in an effort to see if a lean-mean-app-making machine could produce this thing fast and well. I’m happy to say that they did both. Explore D.C. took only about four months from start to finish. I should note that with the exception of the developers, these guys had little or no experience in app development.

Many thanks go out to Scott McCarthy, who designed the look and created the user experience; to Holly J. Morris, who edited all of and wrote much of the app’s fun, occasionally hilarious, editorial content; to lead developer Vidya Viswa, who worked magic to transform the team’s ideas into a beautifully functioning app. Molly Urciolo, Tim Condon and The Capitol Deals team pounded the pavement for months rounding up restaurant and attraction deals. Our backend developer, Konstantin Zhirov, wrote a robust infrastructure that will serve the app well in years to come. Express’ Editor Dan Caccavaro supervised the project and kept everyone in line.

Please congratulate the team and enjoy Explore D.C.: http://bit.ly/Q1GfQJ