The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) app appears to be relatively plain and simple. However, once you navigate through it, you discover that, with few exceptions, it has many of the same functions and features that the NCGA website has to offer. Then, as you explore even further, you find that the website is much better equipped for researching due to greater efficiency, functionality and overall resourcefulness.
NCGA App Functionality
When you visit the home page of the app, as seen below, you encounter the following sections – Audio, Committee, Calendars, Bills, Members and Statutes.
At first glance, the app appears to not have many of the same options that the website has. However, once you click on the app’s Audio section, you notice that it offers the same options as the NCGA website’s Audio page (i.e. House Chamber, Senate Chamber, and Finance Committee Room). Also, when you click on the “more…” link, you recognize other options similar to those on the website. However, the app does not offer many of the dropdown options that the website offers. Additionally, the app’s audio link doesn’t offer an option for help with audio problems, whereas the website does, as seen in Picture B.
The NCGA App Compared to the NCGA main website
The one big drawback of the app is that there is no full text search when searching for Bills – you must search by bill number (i.e. S23).
The website, on the other hand, offers the options “full site search” and “search bill text.”
The app is also missing the following links that provide very helpful information: About NCGA, Redistricting, Who Represent’s Me?, and the Citizen’s Guide. In each of these sections on the website, there are multiple links that are available, which are also not available on the app.
On another note, it is more efficient to use the NCGA website than to use the app. The smart phone’s screen is limited in size (about 3 inches wide), so it is difficult to read all of the information without having to constantly adjust the screen up/down or left/right to capture everything. This essentially makes the app more time consuming to use. The larger laptop screen (about 15 inches avg.) makes it easier to read the information; hence, making your research easier and faster.
One positive takeaway about the app is that it is constantly being maintained and updated.
The NCGA website is far better to use than the app, as the website provides more information, is easier to use, has better options for searching, and is more efficient. It’s a no go on the app.
~Jonathan Jones, Class of 2013~