The past Wednesday, during Adrian and Hanna’s presentations, I was seating in the back. From that perspective, I was able to enjoy a shared sentiment of enjoyment, that of the pleasure of achievement: we did it! This reaction was tattooed in our faces, translated into smiles after each exploration of the colors and contents of a record.

Through their presentations, I felt both the personal and collective realization.

On one hand, the anxiety of having a final product aesthetically accomplished still revolves on my mind. However, I now see this process as an always-evolving narrative, one that transports us to unimaginable places. This was the case, for example, of the associations that Darrell and I have discovered between our projects. It is the case of his Packman brought to life as a metaphor through the deliveryman, and the obstacles and ghosts he has to evade to arrive at destination in a complex set of labyrinths called New York City. And it is the case of the deliveryman’s daily itineraries now seen in the context of a role-play game, or an equivalent to what paperboy game is, where “the player controls a paperboy on a bicycle delivering newspapers along a suburban street (…). The player attempts to deliver a week of daily newspapers to subscribing customers, attempts to vandalize non-subscribers’ homes and must avoid hazards along the street” (see entry on Wikipedia). Who knows this kind of game might be used to collect data on obstacles and how to avoid them, serving as a resourceful tool for the deliverymen community.

As for URT, I can group my observations under three main categories: 1. Experienced Difficulties, 2. Learning by Doing, and 3. The Wish List.

1. EXPERIENCED DIFFICULTIES: I have to say that I had experienced many difficulties when trying to upload my records to the Food Delivery project, and I am afraid this would have a negative impact on my presentation to the class. Some of the difficulties include, but are not limited to:

  • Some of the images that I uploaded do not exhibit (message reads: “unable to display images”). This is the case, for example, of one of the icons associated to one of my delivery destination. As I result, I can see that the glitch is arbitrary as the same icon does appear for the other three deliveries. Another example is that of an image that displays when I select the option to view the full record; however, does not show within the blurb.
  • I have selected two different kinds of icons: A bike, to represent the obstacles that the deliveryman experiences during his daily rides, and a house, to symbolize the points of departure (restaurant) and the final destination (consumer’s location). The icons do not display properly. The system does not recognize the transparency of the images. As a result, all you can see are black rectangles (bike) and squares (house).
  • In some cases, I have identified some typos within the obstacles’ descriptions. However, when trying to edit text datum on a record, I only receive error messages (those error pages, half yellow half white, full of text that reads as code).
  • Some of the images that I uploaded are corrupted. As a result, I had to omit uploading images to illustrate some of the obstacles to timesaving, as they may confuse the viewer. I have left the photo for the destination #1 as an example of what I mean by “corrupted”.
  • Only the long trajectories, the ones that follow “driving directions” (represented in red) are showing on the map. The shortcuts (or walking directions) are not showing. I have tried many different things to solve this issue. However, I was not successful in finding the ways to showcase the blue circuits.
  • I have linked obstacles and points of departure/arrival to their specific paths by using reference datum. However, there is no evident way to identify these links, and to only see one trajectory and its obstacles at a time. I am thinking on adding specific tags to all elements on a same trajectory (e.g. delivery #1, delivery #2, delivery #3, and delivery #4) to be able to explore one project at a time. If there were easier ways, I would love to learn them.
  • Vertical images are showing horizontal, making the experience less enjoyable.

Since I have experienced these difficulties for a while, I have been working in parallel on an online book that I have linked to the overall project and arguments. The intention of the 28-pages book is to complement the map in those areas where the platform still falls short. I will share the book in class tomorrow (click to watch full screen).

2. LEARNING BY DOING: There is a main learning that I would like to share with future contributors to URT: Avoid “required” fields within your record types. Do not do that to yourself! Include “required” fields only if you plan others to contribute to your project, and if you want to ensure that the proper information is in place. Otherwise, “required” fields limit your ability to evolve with your project on an ongoing basis, by delaying the upload of available records until you have gathered all the required materials.

3. THE WISH LIST: I believe that the following elements will contribute with the overall production and end-user experience:

Production experience:

  • To implement an easier way to select colors for the paths (e.g. the color wheel)
  • To have the option for browsing and uploading various records at the time

User experience:

  • To enable paths to flow (e.g. moving vectors) as opposed to only having static lines
  • To incorporate a visual legend next to the map

Finally, there are various dozens of records that I did not upload, as they do not relate directly to my arguments. These are the cases of delivery menus that I collected in the delivery area, and a gallery of messenger bike photos I’ve taken throughout the semester. Perhaps, someone can benefit from these images in the future.

It was a pleasure to share this class/experiment with all of you.

Enjoy your holidays!

My best,