Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WUGC CellMap: Dissected

As an avid Ultimate player, it was with great pleasure that we are providing the WFDF 2008 World Ultimate and Guts Championships (that's a mouthful) CellMap. This map really taxed our abilities, both artistic and taxonomical.

First off, the map images out there of UBC (the venue) are so-so at best. Some of their resolution were not high enough, and others, while of sufficient clarity, had huge amounts of clutter (which is another knock against static maps like paper, pdf, images, etc.). We had to do a lot of cleaning up in order to reduce the extra information down to a minimum. It is important to only show the information that is useful for navigation, and hide/delete the rest. Like most things in life, the 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the time, you only need 20% of the stuff. It's even MORE important for this map, since the target audience likely won't care about every single building at UBC, and really only need the major ones.

Take a look at the original compared with the cleaned-up versions:


Cleaned Up

Most of the extra text is taken out, not only because the CellMap software can store the building names separately, but much more to keep the image clean. WUGC specific coloring and buildings have been added, to give the final map much more punch to guide the eyes to the areas of importance.

Next is the taxonomy. The directory needs to show both WUGC items, and UBC items. We had to come up with a categorical structure that best represents this. I'm a guy who likes things sorted, so that was an important task that we had to do.

Now, if you've played with CellMap before, you'll know that we have an Events Listing feature built in. It shows a list of events, and can show you on the map where it is. But what if there are HUNDREDS of events? Since Worlds has 6 divisions (plus Guts), and each division has an average of 16 countries, that's a LOT of events. Our current system has a flat list (don't worry, we're revamping it ;) ), which makes showing all of this unfeasible. You really don't want to scroll 329 times just to see when Canada is playing Japan on Friday.

So, what to do that's within the realms of our current state of technology?

We decided to Use the Map.

As in, build a schedule in the map image. We put a nice table of the days and divisions on the map image, and in each one's details (ie. 8/6, Open) is the full list of games for that day. This also allows up to put that in the Directory, so people can quickly find the games.

With that, we've built the most comprehensive events CellMap to date!

- Wayne

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