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My First Time Driving – Short Film

Great acting. Funny, touching and really cute. Simply brillant.
By Rebecca Feldman.

If the video is not loading, go watch it on Logo.

SSF

  1. Walking dogs. More info: barcshelter.org.
  2. Rock Yard: 2 parties left, Sept 4rth & 11th. Free. More info: jellynyc.com.

Liforama #1: Just Say Hi

Sometimes I miss  the warmth that people emit when they enter or welcome you in a store in France.  That moment always feels good and right, even if the relationship only lasts a few minutes.

Trollmates

Way to promote a party. More info.

UX Review: Connect By Hertz

Welcome to my first UX review: Connect By Hertz.

Intro

Connect By Hertz launched in late 2008, early 2009. I had been an avid user of Zipcar until then. When I discovered Hertz was launching the same product, I reviewed and compared Zipcar and Hertz’s terms and conditions. Hertz pretty much duplicated Zipcar: from the price for late fees, to the limit of 180 miles per 24 hour period, everything. Why did I switch to hertz?

  • My relationship with Zipcar was not tight: although I had been using them for a few years, I was unhappy to constantly find cars unclean, mostly due to the clientele.
  • Hertz came out with amazing prices: even thought they raised them a bit in March/May of 2009, they were still more attractive than Zipcar’s
  • All cars were equipped with a GPS
  • They were the first to make a hybrid available through their float

The Interface

Since they launched, their website has always been a bit chaotic and searching for cars never as smooth and easy as through Zipcar. They recently revamped the search experience and although we can see the good intentions, it is a bit hard to use and interact with.

After you select the “find a vehicle” link, you get to select the pick up and drop off dates. This takes you to the search results screen as shown below.

The Good

Some improvements were made through this redesign:

  • A large map helps quickly visualize where available cars are
  • When you click “show list”, you can check on the time/date each car is available
  • As you move the map around, zoom in and zoom out, the results update and always show available cars in the visible area of the map

The Bad

  • Even though the map size was largely increased, the overlays cover most of the map area. If you hide the controls to make the map more visible, in addition of losing the controls (obviously), they will come back if you select and un-select a car. Jarring.
  • The option for users to suggest new car locations is great but does not need to sit on the map
  • The links located above the bottom overlays are not noticeable:  “Suggest A Vehicle Location”, “Show List” and “Key”. They look like headers and “Show List” and “Key” are abstract terms.
  • Notice on the map, some of the markers contain an asterisk. Any idea what they mean? It means that more than one car is available in that area. Too abstract and could be understood as “different terms apply to this car”. You would need to click on “Key” to get the legend.
  • The “select location” option is a 3 step process that makes you go through countries, then state and finally city. It is lengthy and frustrating (most users will expect to enter a zip code/address somewhere) redundant of and could be coupled with the “Look for vehicle near” functionality located at the bottom of the map.
  • The “show list” functionality is also complicated and does not feel like fun at all.
  • Each action on the overlays or the map will cause the search to update right away

The Solution

Here is my raw take on where they should go from there.

  • Created a side rail where the search options are constantly accessible
  • Added a different view: map view. Upon clicking this option, the list view would be displayed in place of the map and show the exact same cars as on the map view
  • Each car on the map has a number so that it is easy to find them on the list view
  • I did not created the list view as what Hertz has under “show list” can be re-used and plugged in place
  • Clicking on a car shows an overlay that allows the user to adjust the times. I copied and pasted the current adjusting time design that Hertz has – improvements could be made >> making the interface clearer. Font is very small, it is hard to read the times, etc
  • It would be useful to give users an idea of the price range for each car in the sidebar (cheap, med, pricey).

Thoughts? Please share!

Animation Block Party

I ended my weekend at the Animation Block Party. If I had known it was going to be so amazing, I would have gone to all the screenings. I saw the 2 Sunday screenings and here were my top picks:

  1. How to Make a Baby (full) – Cassidy Curtis and Raquel Coelho
  2. Something Left, Something Taken (full) – Tiny Inventions
  3. The Story of the Mean Dragon – Francis Gelinas
  4. The Not So Great Eugene Green (trailer) – Michael Hill
  5. Madagascar, Carnet De Voyage (trailer) – Bastien Dubois
  6. Death Buy Lemonade – Kyu-bum Lee

All of them were really good. It was hard to only pick 6.

Where The Girls Are At

Hum… Ever been interested in having a real-time dashboard of the lesbian nightlife activity in New York City?

Here is the story. On Sunday night I went out to a bar… the party was a bit dead and I thought… wouldn’t it be nice if I could have checked out how many people were there before heading out? On Monday, I woke up around 6am and decided I would build an application that would allow me to do exactly that, using the Foursquare API. I worked on the app until 9pm. It should not have taken me that long but I ran into bugs and know-how limitations.

I built this using php. I am not a developer so it is not well optimized for now. I am making one call per venue and not caching any data which leads to empty responses at time. UPDATE on Jul 12th:  Now it It is super fast and super optimized!

I then submitted the application to Foursquare, because why not. The week went very fast and I almost forgot about it. Yesterday, I received an email from an engineer at Foursquare who among other things said:

I loooooooove it! It’s one of the coolest foursquare apps I’ve seen.

His friend (a girl) also told him:

I kid you not, this app alone makes me love foursquare more than any other social media i use :)

This mini web app is now featured on Foursquare. Yay!

Ha!

Update on Sept 2011: created a new version of this concept for the Global Foursquare Hackathon.

Bicycle Film Festival – June 16-20

The Bicycle Film Festival is going on this weekend. Check out the film program.

Earlier today they had a street party at 2nd ave and 2nd street with a few vendors such as:

  • Ugly Original – Cute naval hats (white, the circle type).
  • Dargelos (clothing) – Nice organic cotton t-shirts and stylish ways of glowing in the dark and biking safely.
  • Outlier (clothing) – Merino shirts and polos, strong pants that won’t rip off in between your legs when you bike (yes apparently it happens) + water resistant.
  • Continuum Cycles (custom bikes)
  • Geek House Bikes (custom bikes)
  • Wheel Men Company (clothing & accessories)

Here are some photos I took of the BBF street party.

Mission Bicycle – Build Your Own Bike

At Mission Bicycle you can build your own custom urban bike with super fresh colors!
Check out a gallery below of what your next bike could look like.

They also sell great accessories such as belts made out of recycled bicycle tires.