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MeetUp

MeetUp is a micro-coordination tool to make spontanious appointments with friends. It automatically finds the right kind of places in areas accessible to all people involved. The project was part of Boris Müller's Map [R]evolution course in collaboration with HERE. It is implemented as a web prototype.

Walkthrough

Scenario

Mario has finished work today. 
He wants to have a beer with Amy and Bobby – 
wherever they are right now.

What’s an ideal place to meet, 
so that everybody gets there at the same time?

Goal

Create a tool for Mario

  • to find ideal meeting spots for Mario and his friends, based on traffic/public transport,

  • to provide appropriate POIs as venue suggestions near these meeting spots.

Radius of Movement

In a model world where everybody moves everywhere at the same pace, a person's radius of movement has a circular shape, and finding the optimal meeting point is trivial.

Not so in the real world where people move at varying paces, depending on obstacles and whether they are walking, driving a car, biking, or using public transport.

Now the radius of movement cannot be described by a circle any more. Especially when combining multiple modes like public transport and walking, it can take odd shapes that are not even necessarily connected. Project Mapnificent illustrates this in an interactive map visualisation.

Mapnificent Berlin

Concept & Design

  1. Select invitees from your friends list. Alternatively, choose a constellation from the »Last MeetUps« history. Select an activity and send the invitations.
 

2. Wait for friends to accept.

 

3. As friends accept, their location is being transmitted. Then everybody's hypothetical radius of movement is equally extended until a meeting area is spotted that hosts a minimum set of suitable points of interest.

 

4. Examine the result set and extend the radius of movement if necessary. Select a place, everybody will be directed there.

 

5. Have a good time.

 

Benefits

  • time-saving and easy to use,
  • encouraging sociability,
  • encouraging explorative behaviour.

Future Work

  • individual scheduling options (»Ready in 15 minutes!«, »Not sure when I'm free, just let me know where you go.«)
  • collaborative decisions
  • transport modes beyond public transport (car, bike, …) with their corresponding radiuses of movement, see project isoscope (FH Potsdam, HERE).

isoscope

Technical Background

We used HTML5-based prototyping tool Hype to build our prototype all in a WYSIWYG manner, up until we decided to make the animated map visualisation as real as possible. At that point we had to integrate our own Javascript.

The tool's powerful WYSIWYG design and easy Javascript integration served us well, since it helped us with speedy design iterations and did not force us to change tools for the final prototype.

The Course

The course objective was to come up with new ideas how to visualize and interact with geographical information beyond traditional map paradigms, and to materialise them into a working prototype.

Due to the dual-leadership nature of the course, the exact objective tended to be work-in-progress at times. Should the result be a map or a service? In retrospect, the controversy about these seemingly incompatible goals turns out to be one more valuable finding of the course, as it forced us to be clear about what we were aiming to do. I also think that this conflict had a positive impact on our resulting prototype MeetUp as it is a service vastly reduced to its essence: an interactive map visualisation.

To focus on exactly this, Boris gave out a recurring, very simple, very plausible slogan that now is a central motive for me as an interface designer: Enable informed decisions.

Overall, the course was an ample aggregation of working tools

  • HERE's effective ideation techniques
  • a useful focus on prototyping tutorials (HTML5, Keynote, TileMill)
  • user testing with an objectivity-inducing twist (pairs of teams carried out user tests for each other's prototypes)
combined with a lot of collective research, discussion, and an active exchange of feedback from Boris and the HERE people and between the students.

Consequently, this was one of the best courses I had.

Fachgruppe

Interfacedesign

Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im Hauptstudium

Betreuung

Markus Ort Dorit Mielke Prof. Boris Müller

Entstehungszeitraum

Wintersemester 2013 / 2014

Keywords