Google Maps really seems to take off after offering their Google Maps API for web developers. People are quickly developing very interessting variations (e.g. this incredible mixing of map and satellite views or someone tracking the hotspots he was using with plazes.com). You’ll find much more at this del.icio.us tag »googlemaps«.
A follow-up to yesterdays post:
Tim Bruysten adds some context and links to an interesting project: Loopcity by Dietmar Offenhuber. Markus Neckar pointed me to the MacOS X menubar extra for Plazes by Martin Pittenauer. This makes it very easy to have the system announcing itself to the Plazes service (btw this is one of the developers of Plazes.com).
And Martin Röll said: nice but useless, yet. Maybe. Maybe not. Plazes does not really take much advantage from it’s data. I can’t see the contacts of my contacts for example. Uploading single photos via web form is not very nice. I envisage some kind of droplet (like the Flickr uploader) that will attach files to the current plaze or offer a comment browser/entry form when clicked. Also a screensaver displaying the latest comments and users of the current place and the palces nearby…
Until now the topic of »location based services« has been more a theoretical discussion about geological references to online data. Now there are obvioulsy a number of developments (and some rumors) that try to create datasets with longitude/latitude metadata.
First of all hardware: The problem if tagging information with geological locations could be solved by hardware very soon. Cheap GPS hardware could be integrated in mobile phones, digital cameras and laptops. In fact there is a rumor that Apple is going to integrate GPS hardware into the next generation of PowerBooks.
Secondly the applications: The geo-tagging of data creates a connection of the docuverse with the real world. Here are two examples: www.plazes.com and www.geobloggers.com. Once the hardware is capable of recording geological positions and automatically querying the net with locations applications like these will automatically emerge. It is creating a new dimension for data as such.
George Olsen has developed a persona toolkit, which can help you build detailed profiles of users, their relations to a product (e.g. a website), and the context in which they use a product. The toolkit is pretty extensive, but intended to be based on a pick-and-choose approach.
George Olsen also gives advice on how to collect information. Ideally, personas should be based on interviewing and direct observation, but you can also get useful information from alternative sources, such as domain experts, research, and artefacts that reveal information about the users’ context.
Nokia Lifeblog is a PC and mobile phone software combination that effortlessly keeps a multimedia diary of the items you collect with your mobile phone. Lifeblog automatically organizes your photos, videos, text messages, and multimedia messages into a clear chronology you can easily browse, search, edit, and save.
Aaron Marcus interviewed by Sharon Poggenpohl:
There are design documents which designers make, that convey wisdom and are part of transactions with colleagues from other disciplines, and users. We as designers must talk increasingly with and communicate with other professionals from other disciplines.”
In this interview Aaron Marcus refers to his work on “LoCoS” a universal graphical visible language as a replacement for spoken language. It reminds me a lot about a work by Timothy Ingen-Houz: Elephant’s memory (from 1994-1996).
Henrik Olsen: “For people with little experience in interaction design it’s tempting to equate visual simplicity with usability. But there is more between heaven and earth than meets the eye. The Q4 issue of GUUUI takes a look at some common pitfalls, where studies have proven that what appears to be simple isn’t always what is easy to use.” [GUUUI]