For weeks now, something has been saying at the back of my mindÂ that the Toupix website was missing something. Not just a little somethingÂ such asÂ a better layout or nicer polished graphics; this was something more fundamental.
I hadÂ spent some time trying to develop a Flash map to replace the rather basic and random photo map that currently sits on the site. However, after several wasted hours trying to learn and build an OO ActionScript project, this proved frustratingly impossible. People keep telling me I must learn ActionScript, and I do intend to…but I can’t be the only person that findsÂ the Flash/ActionScriptÂ comboÂ a bit… messy? Anyway,Â pushing any ActionScript files aside,Â IÂ reviewed the Toupix pages….
Then it clicked: whatÂ it was missing wasn’t a super-slick Flash interface, but just a way of seeing photos where the user was nearby. Surely such a basic requirement for aÂ social project could not be forgotten? Well, yes. Previously, the user could only view photos taken by themself, or photos taken by another (single) user where they were near each other. There was no way to say “see all theÂ photos, by anyone, taken when I’ve been nearby”.Â To that end, I createdÂ a new page (shared photos) that does just that: it maps all the photos where the user was present, and the photo taken by any other user.
Although it doesn’t sound much, it at least allows people to more visually map their connections to other Toupix users. I plan to improve the social aspect of the siteÂ - the photography is almost secondary to the socialÂ context of the project. I’ll also be concentrating on smaller details of the site now, such as showing inline tags for mapped photos.
However, the true test of the platform is how people use it and the social interactions that it informs. So, if you haven’t yet done so, head over and sign up for the beta to start using the project. Being a social thing, the more people that use it the better…and please let me know your thoughts on the project!
Meanwhile, I’ve postponed the idea of the Flash-y interface until I get a good OO ActionScript book…