Monday, November 1, 2010

5.0 Feature of the Day: Favorites and Saved View

Favorites The Favorites feature of Visual Fusion 5.0 is a snappy time saver and handy collaboration tool.  Here are some of the quick hits on this feature:
  • Save the state of the map position and style, feed settings and filters, timeline extents, and label notes.
  • Copy favorites as links for adding to your browser's bookmarks, or email them directly to colleagues.
  • Edit and otherwise manage your favorites, and optionally see the favorites of the rest of your team.

Save important views of your app to save time, and benefit from the favorites of others in collaborative applications.

UX sidenote: Features that seem straightforward seldom are.  Favorites, that's easy enough, right?  You just save some settings.  Well the more we dug into the planning and implementation of this, the more mountainous our pile of user assumptions became.  For example, the Timeline.  When a user saves a favorite, do you snapshot the exact timeline begin and end time OR do you go with whenever "now" is regardless of when the user comes back to it?  We ended up doing both:  go with the relative "now" notion, but save the exact time extents if they are 10% or more different from "now" (which we safely assume as the user really wanting a specific fixed time range).  Crazy, right?  Nothing is ever as easy as it seems at the outset.

Saved View
Another feature similar to Favorites is the Saved View option.  This setting remembers what your Visual Fusion app looked like when you last closed it so you can pick up right where you left off the next time you visit.  It's a time saver and context maintainer.

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