Mobile App Reviews: House & Senate Member Guide App

Reviewed by Frances Ba (June 2014)

The House and Senate Member Guide App is an app that is available through the Government Printing Office. This free app serves as a guide which provides information on every Member of the 113th Congress. This app allows any Congressional Member or individual who lives in any of the fifty states of the United States to search the profiles of their current States or any other States Representatives or Senators. The mobile app includes a picture on each member and information on their Party Affiliation, Hometown, Birth Date, Place of Birth, Bio, District, and Term Count. The app allows you to also search these member by their Names, State/Territory, Zip Codes, Counties/Parishes, Website, and Office Buildings. This app allows for a single point of access on information on each member of the 113th Congress from different official sources, such as a Pictorial Directory and the Congressional Directory. Each member’s profile page allows for a direct link to their website. Listed below is a screen shot of the app on the iPhone. 

This app was very easy to navigate and had straightforward applications. The main page of the app had four tabs titled, A-Z Last Name, State, Chamber, and Party listed at the center of the page in a nice bold blue color. Located at the bottom of the page was a search box to search the names of Congressional Members, a GO tab, and a link to view the full website. The A-Z tab lists the Senators and Representatives under each letter by their last names. When you click on the name you find their picture with their profile information listing them as either a Representative or Senator. The State tab lists all of the States in alphabetical order and contains a pictorial directory and profile of Senators and Representatives for that particular State. The Chamber tab has two tabs titled House which includes the profiles and pictures of all the States Representatives and Senate tab which includes the profiles and pictures of all of the Senators. The Party tab divides the Representatives and Senators by their party affiliation, Republican, Democrat, or Independent. The link at the bottom of the app allows you to view the full website of the 113th Congressional Member Guide. The tabs had simplified steps with just the right amount of information without being overloaded with too much information.

I found two barriers when trying to download or access this app through my iPhone. I could not locate the actual app through the app store on my iPhone. I had to type in the website address to access the mobile guide. When I did access the mobile guide, it was then that I was prompted to download the House and Senate Member Guide App. Once I followed the instructions to download it, the app downloaded very quickly and was ready to use once it was downloaded. The second barrier I found was on the listing on the Guide to the House and Senate Members website. Representative, Gary L. Ackerman of New York’s website page had a broken url link. Other than those two barriers, I found nothing else.  This app was a free download with no additional costs for the information. Any individual with a smart phone can download this app. 

There are only two recommendations that I would make concerning the House and Senate Member Guide app. Currently the app only has the listings for the 110th through the 113th Congressional Members. Perhaps, maybe adding more Congressional Member listings may prove beneficial for those who are doing research on previous Congressional Members, by having this type of information readily at their fingertips on their mobile devices.  The second recommendation would be updating the picture of the mobile app on the Government App Page from being titled, Member Guide for 112th Congress to reflect the current Member Guide for the 113th Congress. These two recommendations would make this already useful app more functional and viable for individuals to search information on the Representatives and Senators of the 110th - 113th Congress.   

Frances Ba is an MLS student at the University of Maryland iSchool enrolled in the eGovernment specialization. Frances is a recipient of a Laura Bush 21st Century scholarship funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.