It’s a big call, but I think this is possible my favourite Google Maps mashup to date.
Platial allows you to create your own maps using the Google Map interface, as well as add to other people’s maps. You can map *anything* you like. So, because it’s about people making meaning with maps/places, you end up with some really interesting content.
Some of the maps are very personal – trips that people have taken, places they frequent regularly, places they’ve had car accidents. Others are useful community tools – Stereo shops that don’t suck, restaurants, commuter public transportation, band tour maps. Here’s a little sample:
Previously I wrote about how taking a little time to write a good error message can turn what is potentially a catastrophic user experience into one that actually endears you to your customers.
Here’s another great example from WordPress that turned a potentially frustrating experience (not being able to reach someone’s blog when I wanted to), into an experience that confirmed my experience of the WordPress brand, *and* made me smile.
Even though they’re personifying the server here, the voice of the clever and friendly and humorous people who make up WordPress comes through loud and clear.
As the Cluetrain guys say (which you should all know from heart by now):
These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.
Unless you saw this error message too many times (and nothing can turn chronically poor performance into a good user experience), you’d be hard pressed to come away from this experience thinking poorer of WordPress.
You may even be so impressed you have to write a blog post about it :)
CloudStreet is one of my most favourite books ever. I love the way this man writes.
But, I’ve been putting off reading The Turning because its a book of short stories and I always tell myself that I find short stories unsatisfying.
This is actually untrue, but I manage to convince myself of this fact regularly. I’m a short story snob.
If you are too and you’re avoiding this book for that reason – give it up for the turning now. It’s amazing and you must read it.
Now, it’s not as amazing as CloudStreet, but the intertwining of characters between each story, picking up the same story from various aspects in time or space or character perspective makes the book a really rich experience. I found myself thinking back on stories I’d read earlier, now with a new piece of information found in the story I’m currently reading… rethinking occurs regularly. Its part of the experience. I really liked that.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me