Posts Tagged valueAdd

Value Add

Reflection of the value added nature of the project.

1.Web App

WTT has been quite a journey, one of the most significant aspects of the project that has a value added quality is the webapp. I started with an aspiration to make an iPhone app - largely because i’d done this before and seen the benefits of releasing something through the App Store and getting lots of users! However this was always going to be a problem for an app that relies on licensed  EDINA maps that only HE’s could see!

Peter was cool though and saw the bigger picture - he was always for a web app, cross platform and flexible for updating.

Having gone through the project now its astonishing what the team have achieved with the a web app and its clear that it was never an option to pursue an Iphone app.

Pros are:

1. Obviously any cross platform route has got to be good, and its refreshing to offer people access on a bunch of media.

2. The iterative development cycle using a web app meant that it was much easier to role out and update as we (petra and peter) went along - the consequences of ad hoc distribution are slow and tedious, so this was so fast and so nippy.

3. There is some faith in the future of a simple web app rather than the laborious nature of the App stores that prevent agile production and lock down apps.

Cons.

1. No access to an App store so you can’t reach a wide audience, mind you this was never possible due to the limitations of the EDINA license. But if we had the license sorted out it would be great to reach anyone who was browsing their App Store - many people use this as a convenient filter to safe apps.

2. The app may have been faster if native. In the end it works very well on iPhone 3GS but less well on an 3G.

2. A less technical reflection is on the experience of using the app. Its an exciting concept and one that when turned in to reality offers some stunning thoughts. I’ve always believed that the blue dot on my Google Map was me. So when i find myself (the dot) walking across an old map something funny is going on. Something dramatic.

2.Walking Through Time

Maps were always on walls or table for me, i was never in them, so to find myself inside them is strange and exciting - its a sci-fi moment and something that Dr.Who or Marty McFly wouldn’t be without. Users are starting to communicate this - not just the logical expression of appreciation for using old maps but the cognitive excitement for walking landscapes using a different time frame.

It makes you wonder what time frames people are walking cities in - are a couple who have lived in an old place walking through it with the same eyes as a young couple? Do the memories of old places overwhelm the idea of the new? If this is even slightly true then a contemporary google map may not be the only one that should be used for navigation.

3. Releasing the EDINA maps

Working with James has been great - they are so quick and flexible its amazing. An extraordinary outcome seems to be the potential for releasing public access to the app that allows them to use the maps and develop a love for them. Obviously we can’t release to the public but you can see from HE testers that the maps take on a value that would normally be restricted to historical use only. The app seems to invigorate the maps with a powerful sense of memory and value because they become compared with the contemporary space.

We presenting the app to Landmark on Thursday to try and spark enthusiasm for its commercialisation, and you would hope that they would at least like to trial it with users.

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Thoughts and reflections

Ok so a list to begin with of things that need attention. Then the next post might be the order, but lets get them down first…

1. speed (i know, i know, but its the big one)

2. feedback on buttons, because its slow, the temptation is to push a button more than once because you’re unsure if a service is on or off. If its a matter of graphics - tell me i can make some on/off versions very quickly. Key buttons are…

a) footprint

b) explore - somehow a way of knowing that ‘markers’ are on. Many times you will be in an area and there will be no markers, but you’re unsure if markers is on or off. So a way of telling the user that the markers are definitely on would be good.

c) Same for Route, although obviously you’re taken to their start point, but if you move away from the start point then you may forget that the routes are on and are obscuring other ways of seeing markers (for example).

3. I know this may be impossible to resolve, but its irresistible not to want to zoom into further than the maps allow. The 2 zoom levels are great, but can we have more? even if the bitmap just gets bigger? Plus you can get lost when you are too far out - you never know how many levels you have to click thru before you find yourself in an olf map again.

4. On my iphone there is a white bar at the bottom under the menu bar. Is that due to platforms standards? screen size? can we put anything in there?

5. Do we need a link anywhere to a project website? sounds like more buttons, but i wonder if people would need access to a help page.

6. Follow me is slow - i know this is a speed thing but to get the audience ‘really’ into the map then the follow me should be very responsive indeed. On my google map app, the blue dot feels like me cos it moves reasonably quickly after i do. This may be very hard to do on a web app.

7. Really picky - the balloon graphic top right on the screen could be cleaner (really picky! sorry)

8. When you click on a marker, some seem to be truncated - scott monument for example

9. Marker filling is great - fast and simple. Only the amount of text that is displayed is a problem - the page could be cooler i guess.

10. At some point we might want to develop a product site and a brand (probably my job) but like for comob, it would involve buying a URL and developing a micro site to ‘push’ the product. (www.comob.org.uk).

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