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April 8, 2008 / Steven Pousty

The map discussion on a list apart

So there is a great article on “A List Apart” about making maps without using the G or the Y (hat tip to the map room). It does a nice job introducing some of the open source players in the market. I put a small comment in the discussion about using deCarta (caveated it with a warning that it is a blatant product pitch) and there was a response. This blog post should serve as a way for people to give feedback if they want on my comments or about getting started with deCarta services. I did not want to hijack the discussion there with a big discussion with deCarta – so it was not that I was trying to drive traffic here – I was just trying to not dilute the discussion on their original post.

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7 Comments

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  1. Nathan / Apr 9 2008 3:49 am

    Hey Steve,

    I saw your comment on the ALA article, I also agree with the comment by Colin Williams http://www.alistapart.com/comments/takecontrolofyourmaps?page=2#19

    I jumped on the deCarta site and left it within 30 seconds, seriously, if you want your product to work for you and reach the developers of today, you need to do something about that site, it has a real 1990 feeling about it and for most developers these days that just doesn’t cut it.

    I couldn’t even be bothered to click because it simply wasn’t clear to me “where to” click, maybe you should look at what google and yahoo have done to encourage developers, you might be on a winner but first impressions are going to decide who comes out on top here.

    I hope this is useful feedback, maybe when the site makes some more sense and offers some sort of enticement I’ll look deeper but for now I simply can’t be bothered.

    Cheers!

  2. Steven Citron-Pousty / Apr 9 2008 6:12 am

    Thanks Natahn – we will definitely take your comments into consideration and look to improve the first time user experience.

  3. Eivind Eklund / Apr 9 2008 6:52 am

    I got the same feeling of “Where do I go from here” after trying to very quickly look at this.

    I would, as a developer, prefer to get at *some* meat immediately, instead of trying to dig down to get at anything.

    Ideally, I should be able to just cut and paste a little bit of code into a HTML page, and get a simple map up and running, no restrictions, no registration, no anything. Maybe generate that CONFIG.js file directly with dummy username/passwords in it that can only take requests from say 10 IPs/day?

    If it takes more than a couple of minutes to get at testing something,you’re likely to lose me, at least until I really need to set up a map. Right now, a map would be a nice feature – I run a search site for used cars where there’s some geospatial information available and fairly easy to get more – but a map isn’t critical. If I could test it out as a “left hand” thing that looks nice, I might be able to get my boss to push money to take it to production – but I wouldn’t be able to prioritize looking into it basically at all if it takes me time to test out.

    There probably are others in the same situation as me – whether they’re an important market segment or not, I don’t know, but it’s a “free” market segment, at least.

    Eivind.

  4. Steven Citron-Pousty / Apr 9 2008 7:03 am

    Hey Elvin – actually once you sign up and are approved (a hurdle required by our data providers) you can look at live samples as part of our JS API. I will call this out in the “Guide for the impatient” that will be the new front page. Thanks again for your feedback – I really appreciate it

  5. matthijs / Apr 11 2008 8:44 am

    Agree with the others, that site really, really needs a major overhaul to be able to explain to me as a developer what I can do with your service and how. The service might be good, but I don’t know. And I can’t easily find out. And on the internet that means, go on and find something else.

    Redo the layout design so I know were to start and look. Rewrite the copy to be short and to the point. For example, if I go to Developers > overview, I only read some incomprehensible marketing talk but even after reading it twice I don’t know what I can do with it. Quote: “Become part of – and share in – the industry’s most advanced and active location-enabled application developer community, with live deployments on some of the world’s most prestigious web sites, mobile networks and consumer devices.

    Developers also leverage more than 10 years of development and a rich set of unique, patented capabilities built into deCarta’s advanced software products.”
    This tells me absolutely nothing. What can I do and how can I easily test and start?

    Hope this helps, good luck with your services!

  6. Steven Citron-Pousty / Apr 11 2008 3:24 pm

    Hey Matthijs:
    That is great feedback and we will work to make it less fluff and more stuff.
    Thanks
    Steve

  7. Simplification / Jun 19 2008 5:10 am

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Simplification!

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