Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5.0 Feature of the Day: Extreme Feedback

Often, one of the ways to optimize an application is to restrict the availability of certain feeds depending on the altitude of your map view ("zoom-level", "scale", whatever). Nothing new there.  But when you do that, how do you communicate that to a user who might otherwise think the feed is broken or empty?  Obnoxiously.

Here's what we do...
1) Feeds that are out of range get their row dimmed.
2) When you hover over the feed row, a message says "check altitude"...
3) and a big Eat At Joe's style sign flies in and points out on the zoom-level slider where the feed is available.
4) The range within the zoom-level slider where the feed is available lights up and flickers.  You can't miss it.

This feature touches on two broader topics:
  • A visual explanation for why you are not seeing something and where to find it (just like the Timeline Indicator).
  • Performance optimization (methods for streamlining the transmission of data to the app and how best to render it when it gets there).

I'll talk about a new performance optimizing feature tomorrow...Sub-Pixel Node Nuking!

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