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Recent developments

macuser's picture
Christmas improvements

Over the Christmas period we have been working on some new improvements. Some are very noticeable but many are changes to the backend of the website to ensure smooth running. Below I'll outline some of the main changes, we hope you like them.

MenusThe user menu has been totally updated; you can now easily access your locations, favourites, userpoints, contacts and messages without going onto your profile and clicking a tab. This has made navigation of the website much easier. Although it sounds like a small thing it actually took a while to code, as the menus have to be dynamic changing for the logged in user.

My locations/personal favourites: These pages have been updated. The Google map is now full-page width to make it easier to browse locations. More statistics have been added for the 'my locations' page for example number of favourites/views/comments/visits per location. This makes submitting locations a more worthwhile experience as you can easily see the popularity of your submitted locations.

my locations interface

Visited locations: ​Along side favourite location you can now flag the locations you have visited. This means when searching for a location you can hide all the ones you have visited, or view only the ones you have visited. It also allows us to track the popularity of submitted locations. From now on if you submit a location it will automatically flag as 'visited' however previously submitted locations won't have been updated (I'm looking into getting them to update retrospectively).

Google Map: The Google maps now have a terrain layer this makes submitting mountainous locations much easier and indeed searching for them also.

Searching for a location: Noticeably the Google map has been enlarged and hence you can see more locations at once. The filters to narrow down your search have been improved with the addition of the visited location filter. New and updated content will be marked in the table of results below.

New image gallery: The biggest aesthetic improvement is the new location image gallery. Additionally it also brings new functionality: It automatically scrolls between images, you can view thumbnails or see images in full screen or a lightbox mode. We are really pleased with this change; indeed we feel that it really improves the quality of each location guide.

new image gallery

Paragraph formatting: ​A small but annoying bug fixed. Previously paragraphs weren't formatting correctly, now all newly submitted text should do.

Find and browse interesting locations: Judging by our poll our users wanted a new way to find interesting locations. We have made a start with this concept. It's not polished but it is functional. In connection with this we have brought another new concept, 'Editors' choice' these are locations that appeal to us, they are usually something special and are good all round guides. All Editors' choice locations are marked with a distinctive badge. Anyway back to the new way to browse locations... a new page 'browse locations' is found under the locations menu. It consists of a number of scrolling locations that are shown according to different criteria. I.e most commented, visited, viewed etc and of course the new editors choice! For these slideshows to be useful, user participation will be required, for example favouriting locations, commenting etc.

As mentioned this new system isn't perfected, hence we are in the progress of designing a system that uses algorithms to automatically recommend suitable locations for each individual users, I.e. like the you may be interested in this... However, this will almost certainly not be rolled out until the summer.

browse interesting photography locations

Userpoints: I'm afraid very little progress has been made with the userpoints scheme, although you now get 50 points for having an editors choice location. I really hope to develop the userpoints points scheme later on in the year. Rest assured all those collected points will be worthwhile, you will be able to put them to good use in the future!

User relationships, friends: ​Although this system has been around in some form or another at times it never really worked. However it is now working. It's basically a contacting system; you can add other users as friends. In the future this will hopefully lead onto more exciting things, friend groups, then photography groups, meet ups etc.

friends and contacts on MapMyPHOTO

About us: ​We have updated the about us page and added a flash slideshow to bottom which will be used to promote the website on other sites (a screenshot of it is below). Additionally we have wrote a more in depth story about us, it's founders, the story behind MapMyPHOTO and its future direction.

our slide show

RSS feed: ​Our RSS feed is now working, you can also subscribe to it.

FAQ's: ​Our FAQ's have now been updated, they will hopefully be of help.

Photography competitions: These will start fairly soon.

Things we didn't get around to doing:

  • As mentioned we didn't really tackle userspoints, although we do have lots of ideas for it.
  • We were working on postcode location searching, it's almost done.
  • Image comment adding. The concept is simple, users will be able to upload an image of a location through the comment section and it will be displayed in the main gallery without them editing the original location, this was 95% done however there was a bug that I couldn't fix.

Things we never planned to do but ideas for the future:

  • Photography related event sharing/meet ups
  • Downloaded photography guides
  • A photographers and photography club directory

So there you have it, maybe not as much achieved as we would of liked however still many hours spent and some progress still made. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. Good luck with photography this year and please continue to actively use MapMyPHOTO.



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