Why Redesign The App?
Several problems were coming up repeatedly in customer emails and user tests (where we observe a person using the app). We knew that some tables were too wide for the page. We learned that people wanted larger maps. We discovered later that some folks had a hard time navigating both the scroll of the page and the scroll-to-zoom feature on the maps.
Problem #1: Big Tables
Some tables in the reports were too wide for the page. For some customers, the Race & Origin, Income Distribution and Industries tables were too wide, no matter how wide the browser window. For the rest of the tables, as we added and updated data, things started to get cramped and harder to read.
Allow the report to take up more horizontal space in the app. To do this, we had to move the vertical navigation out of the way. The links to the reports are now, along the top of the page, by the name of the project. You’ll find the reports grouped by category: Demographics, Income, Povery & Jobs, Housing & Transportation and Other.
Problem #2: Big Maps + Scrolling Confusion
People want larger maps for editing and viewing. This one was kind of a freebie. By solving the table problem (above), we increased the size of the maps. But we compounded another problem: scrolling over the map. It happens to me, too. I’m scrolling down the page and start scrolling over a map and the map zooms! It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to. And I can move my mouse off to the side to continue scrolling. BUT. We noticed while watching people that it was a huge distraction. If a person was exploring or creating/updating a drawing, they’d get off course.
Turn off mouse-wheel-scrolling on the map. This solves the accidental zooming problem and allows for more natural scrolling of the page. Zooming is still available via the zoom widget on the map (the more popular way to zoom anyway).
We also introduced some cleanup to the projects dashboard: further reducing the visual clutter, making the text larger, and giving the projects more space to breath so it’s easier to find your projects.
We hope you like the changes we’ve made. As always, if you have any feedback let us know.