Monday, October 31, 2011

How Did You Get Here?

From time to time I'll look at the analytics data collected for this blog to see what sorts of ways people are discovering the enthralling wonderland of uxblog.  One of the more interesting things to see is the list of aggregated search terms folks used that dropped them here.  It's like an empirical tag set that I didn't have to make (or the blog equivalent of a clipshow).

Anyways, here are the top 7; a how you probably got here index...

iPad Map
This is a big one.  Turns out "iPad" is the name of an obscure tablet device made by some fruit company in California.  People have got to support this thing or it might not make it.  To do our part, we've been working away on a native iPad app for Visual Fusion to serve as a portable viewer of your good old enterprise applications.  You can get the viewer for free on iTunes and play with the pre-bundled set of demos.  And if you have a Visual Fusion license, your organization's apps can be added to the set.

HTML 5 Map
Lots of questions around this.  Remember when it was called DHTML and then AJAX?  We've waded into this from time to time over the years for clients but have opted to stick with plugins for the primary product interface for lots of awesome reasons.  But HTML 5 marks a promising set of improvements and capabilities, and tablets of various manufacture are more miserly when it comes to client platform options.
Canvas vs. SVG vs. bitmaps, Javascript vs. managed code, cross-browser variations and testing overhead... Sigh.
In any case, we're working on a version now for a client but in the meantime here's an HTML5 map application we made for the US DOT a short while back, with my pasty, jittery, finger as your guide...

Gerrymandering (and all sorts of gerrymandering-related variations, like benefits of, pros/cons, why is important, yada, yada...)
As a vehicle for the LATCH information architecture and the tandemization of various dataviz elements, we released a demo last year on the topic of Gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering is insanely interesting and has a direct impact on our way of life -plus it's a map nerd's dream example of the modifiable areal unit problem.

Chalk Board
The fun stuff!  We made a map series here called chalkboard maps, where we dropped interesting data and maps onto chalkboards.  Why chalkboards?  Because they look cool!  Actually, even our American Enclaves application was made to look like it was taped onto a chalkboard, and I don't regret it.  Here are our chalkboard maps...

more         more

I'm an advocate for this classification method in many cases -but, like most everything, it depends on your data and it's message.  One thing is for sure, it will tend to result in a visually varied and interesting looking map (for better or worse).  Read on if you are a geek.

Craigslist (with variations like ‘states’ or ‘maps’)
It was Ian Clemens' idea to see what a voronoi-based map of Craigslist cities would look like; a sort of United States of Craigslist swing at the ad-hoc economic zoning of the US from the perspective of Craigslist users.  You can download the shapes in a couple of geographic formats, or just look at the results...

Feature Creep
This was pretty much the first ever post on the uxblog when I was much more formal (read nervous) in my approach.  It even dates back to a deprecated blogging platform, but you can still get to it via it's proxy over on wordpress.  More recently I included it as one of my five user experience don'ts, which I violate from time to time, with great relish.
I used to really wring my hands over this.  Feature creep was the big enemy.  But with time my angst has mellowed and now I have a more welcoming attitude to new stuff -or at least a better plan.  It was probably more of a reaction to being a purely custom shop at the time, rather than a software product provider.  When the sky is the limit in envisioning sessions, it's a lot harder to pin down a manageable set of features.

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