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I visited and played around with Waymarking when it first opened up. I created two waymarks and logged one. At the time I found the site sort of annoying to use, and... well, there's plenty of caches to be found yet.

 

Today I revisited the site to log a local waymark that I happened to visit. I see some development work was done. I had some quiet time and decided to just browse the site.

 

One problem developers can have is that they become too close to their product and lose a newbie perspective. That certainly seems to have happened here. I would like to share some observations and invite others.

 

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The home page, like GC.com's home page, is inviting, although not very useful for the habitual visitor.

 

If I search on location filter and choose my home coords (imported, apparently) I get a page that I only now realize is a list of categories that contain waymarks within some distance from my home. This list isn't actually captioned. It's a little thing, to be sure, but a caption would let me know what I was looking at - the first three times I saw the list I thought, "well, apparently it didn't find anything", because I saw no actual waymark listings. Only then did I realize it was a category list.

 

If I click on one of the sub-categories that contain a match (off-leash dog areas), I see a list of all the waymarks in the category. Hunh? I thought I was filtering by proximity? Apparently I now have to search within the sub-category. Not only that, but although there was a match within 50 miles, when I do the search it tells me there's nothing within 10 miles. I have to expand my search to 50 miles to see the matches that caused the category to show up in the "location filter" to begin with. What's more, I have to do that search-y type thing everytime I go in to a category that had a result.

 

It appears that the location filter is actually a category filter, a way to keep you from seeing categories that don't have any nearby waymarks. The term "location filter" doesn't properly describe what this feature does. It describes the source of the filter, not what data gets filtered. What's more, functionally, if you don't have the 'nearest' option of the search filter turned on *before* you apply that category filter, you have to re-enable the nearest search every time you descend into a filtered category. ugh. I don't feel this deserves upper-right hand placement.

 

Anyway, if I retreat to the main page and try the waymark search box, things look better. This seems to give me a "nearest" list, something I can deal with. . It does not, however, filter out my own waymarks or ones that I've found, two things I would expect to see an option for. Seperating "seach" from "nearest" functionality would be a good idea.

 

Also, Category Search is prominently featured on almost every page, as though it were an important way of interacting with the page, even though it actually takes you away from the page. I would move that away from it's "front and center" placement. That area at the top of a waymark list should be used for elements that allow you to inteact with the list you are viewing. Do you really think that users are going to be spending so much time searching the categories for keywords? Aren't people more likely to be looking for nearby waymarks to see what sorts of things (categories) pop up?

 

 

I'm running out of gas here and I have to start my taxes. I strongly suggest that GS get some innocent users in house to do some usability testing of the Waymarking interface. There's too much in the UI that's hidden or assumed or poorly named. I also don't think you've watched enough target users follow, or try to follow "use paths". Those are important, and difficult to pre-judge.

 

It does look nice though, and it's snappy and solid. kudos for all that. A few UI tweaks and you might be getting somewhere.

Edited by WalruZ

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