Two months in

Two months in

In the last two months, there are two undeniable lessons this site has taught me:
1) There will always be a feature to refine or develop further
2) Making things simple for the end-user can be really complex to implement

Back when I launched this website, I stayed focused by asking myself, “What is the Minimum Viable Product here?” So I launched with essentially two pages and a handful of critical functions to enable them: “Get a Mapcode” and “Use a Mapcode”.

Now with that restriction no longer applying, I’m regularly faced with a blank page as I try decide what functionality will benefit this website and its users – you – MOST.

In the two months that have passed, I’m proud of having added and refined substantial new tools, like the Real-Time Mapcode Generator and (my favourite) the Off-Road Navigator.

I’ve also lifted the South African restrictions of this site, which then added complexity by requiring users to specify which country their desired mapcode is in … and then spent countless hours trying to reduce that complexity by making it easier and easier to indicate (most recently: selecting from an an auto-completing list of country names in a search box).

All of the above has been besides the ‘regular’ refinement: shifting controls to within the map to reduce the number of buttons, adding tool-tips to question marks in key areas to try to reduce the amount of text, making GPS accuracy alerts more visible and intuitive, and deleting unnecessary functionality that no longer adds sufficient value (“because it’s cool” just isn’t cutting it as a reason anymore).

A final critical refinement was shifting the back-end from the PHP Mapcode libraries to the more future-proof Javascript libraries (which the Mapcode Foundation are actively maintaining).

Don’t take all of the above to be a complaint – I’m loving every bit of the challenge, and I’m more certain than ever that the foundation being developed here is going to change lives sooner rather than later. Stay tuned for some plans I have around that 😉

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