As an American living in Ireland, I’m constantly converting numbers: euro to dollar, Celsius to Fahrenheit, kilogram to pound. You wouldn’t think life would be so complicated, but I live on the northern border, which means road signs switch from kilometers to miles. The ultimate goal is not to be constantly looking for an app to tell me the answer, but to develop an understanding of the conversions so I can begin to think it through myself. The Converted by Ideon claims to be a “radical new way to convert.” Rather than answer my questions, the app forced me to dive into the numbers and find my own answers. I’ve always struggled with numbers, so I was skeptical about being converted.
Is The Converted a highly evolved app of the future? Did I join The Collective? Keep reading to find out.
A Whole New World
Ideon introduces The Converted as something fresh and new, unlike any app you’ve come across before. The cool blue sky color and play on words, “Converted already?” make it feel as if you’re about to join The Borg Collective. I mean this in a positive, highly evolved way and not an evil, destructive way. Launching the app is like traveling to the future of apps, and it’s a very exciting place to be. I decided to become a convert and jump straight into The Guide.
The Guide is a brief but effective tutorial on how to navigate the app. The Converted doesn’t just spit out data like other conversion apps, instead it immerses you in the data so you gain understanding of how units relate. The app is beautifully designed in an abstract way, with navigation that is learned by dealing with simple symbols. As someone who has always struggled with math, my artistic brain was highly stimulated by this approach. Have these guys done the impossible and made math fun?
The tone of The Guide is quirky, and I like the app’s sense of humor, “When you are thoroughly converted and reliably unreliant you may hide this guide in the iOS Settings.” I also like how the app is all about functionality, and app settings are stored outside for a clean interface dedicated solely to the task of converting.
After I finished The Guide I landed on a currency conversion table displaying the Euro and Japanese Yen. I remembered that the app is supposed to be “location aware,” featuring common currencies based on my time zone, and wondered — why the Japanese Yen? Just to be sure I popped over to iOS settings and found my Location Aware button was turned on.
Once back in the app I swiped the screen to see what other currencies I could find, and was greeted by an animated guide coming together on the screen. I appreciated the smooth, flowing design — unlike other apps it seems every single detail was painstakingly created, which shows a lot of dedication and care. The tutorials can be a bit overwhelming with details of multiple steps that I couldn’t possibly remember all in one go, but it’s nice to know that the related guide is always available immediately by tapping the screen.
Once on the currency list I could see that Japanese Yen is a very popular currency here in Ireland, with my desired United States Dollar second on the list. Already the wheels in my brain were turning, my mind taking in new information. Searching through the 165 currencies was fast and easy. It’s nice that the text entry box is reactive to codes and longhand currency names.
The immersive nature of this app makes for an intuitive experience, despite the navigational learning curve. The dots under Currency indicate a menu of options, and by swiping I discovered Length, Weight, Volume, Temperature, Speed, Area and Pressure. For each category the list can be expanded from most common measurements in your location to a wider variety of options.
The conversion table morphs its appearance to suit the units selected, for example the Currency displays smaller numbers in increments of 0.5, while the Temperature displays larger numbers in increments of 500. I quickly learned that tapping the = button zeroes in on a conversion and I could select my numbers by sliding the bar up and down. At first it was be a bit frustrating finding the right number. It took me a while to figure out how to zoom in on smaller increments (Temperature), but I finally figured out double tapping the screen did the job.
Some may find drilling down through the data slow and frustrating, but to me it indicates this app was built to be used everywhere, from the science lab to the casual traveler. I also found that navigating through the numbers gave me a better understanding of the information. I wasn’t just asking the app a question and moving on, I was learning from the app.
As I became more acquainted with the app I learned how to do things faster. For example, the pyramid-shaped button on the bottom right of the screen brought up a table of numbers I could select to zoom in, for example, I could look at temperatures in the 10 degrees mark or 150 degrees or 50,000 degrees. I found the key to this app is taking time to discover all its functions. They seem to have thought of everything, but the functionality isn’t always immediately obvious to users.
I’ve officially been converted. As a creative who struggles with math and numbers, I love the design of this app. It has helped me better understand the relationship of units and I thoroughly enjoy using the app. The user experience won’t be for everyone, especially those who just want answers now. It takes some time to learn how to navigate the app, but the initial time investment pays off with a very efficient and enjoyable user experience in the long term.
The app has a good range of measurement categories for everyday use. Since its launch this summer there have been five updates, which shows a commitment to addressing feedback from users. The Converted by Ideon is now my go-to app, and I look forward to seeing this app from the future evolve beyond what I can imagine.