Mapping Arts Project - 2009 - ongoing
Role: Founder and UX Lead
Overview: Mapping Arts Project maps cities through places where artists have lived and worked historically. The site features maps, archival and contemporary images, and narratives about the artists and places. The goal is to connect historical narratives of art and arts practices to geographical places in an accessible way.
The project currently includes three cities - Miami, Providence, and Denver. The project takes a unique focus for each location: highlighting an area of the city's hidden histories. In each city, I led a team of researchers and developers from idea to launch. We are open to new collaborations and new cities!
Collaborators: Bredon Jones & Reid Burnett of Giant Hat Works for Development
Funding & Awards: Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Community Grants; Denver Arts & Venues' IMAGINE2020 Fund Grant; Front Page Feature in Providence Journal; Brown University's Teaching with Technology Award; University of Colorado President's Fund for the Humanities; Creative Capital Professional Development Workshop Award; and people like you ;) through an crowd-funding campaign.
Status: Launched in 2011. Undergoing a UX redesign.
Right now, I'm in the process of revising the overall visual design and implementing new search features. I am also digging into the codebase (now that I can code!) with the development team to facilitate quicker iterations. We are implementing changes based on user interviews and usability tests which helped to identify the primary roadblocks in people's use of the site. Some key areas of focus are uniting the visual design (some of which went astray during the latest updates), making the flow from item to item easier (so people know where they are and where to go), and making 'search' more meaningful (so users can find what they came looking for).
In advance of a full redesign, we have implemented some changes based on usability tests that I ran in 2016. I found that most users did not know they could click on the "timeline" boxes to get more information about the artist stories. We needed to implement a visual cue. The visual cue mimics the logo design of a map marker. It is activated on hover or click so that there is more of a signal to the user that they can click.
Another change recently added to the site are the Filters. After adding more cities to the project, we needed to build in a system that was more consistent in helping users discover content. Unless a user randomly clicked around or knew exactly what they were looking for, the discoverability of the some of the content was difficult. I reorganized the category structure for places, and working with the development team we implemented the Filter. Now users can select and deselect place categories which will populate and depopulate the map.
In this example, first all categories are shown. Then, "school" is selected, and we can see all of the school location types.
Thanks for reading! Give the project a try in real life (and report bugs, thanks). http://mappingartsproject.org