One Day In Detroit: Devils & Details Brainstorm 1: Tours, Lists, & Collections
The devil lives in the details, maybe doubly so in software and web design. When you’re trying to keep things simple, you’d be amazed at the tiny games of whack-a-mole that get played as you change one tiny thing that affects something else, and how one seemingly small decision to put something in or leave something out creates a legacy that takes things in a different direction, both in how people use something or don’t, and how they think about what it’s for.
As we attempt to exorcise the devil from the One Day In Detroit beta app, I’m going to try posting a tour a day for the next bit and talk through some issues and possibilities, walking right into the devil’s house. No need to knock, he knows we’re coming. Bastard always does.
The original itch to scratch with One Day is experiencing so many people coming to Detroit for just a day or two and asking over and over again, “What should we see? Where should we go?” You end up developing a standard playlist, typing, retyping, saying, re-saying, and eventually you just want to put it down and share it with everyone. For me, I’ve found myself giving the Whirlwind Sampler Plate Driving Tour a couple dozen times in the last year-ish.
But when you sit down with the app to make a tour, you’re really making a list. It’s a small step from creating curated “experience” tours where things should happen more or less in a certain order, and simply listing themed collections of things that are good to catalog, know about, and be able to choose to visit, but aren’t designed to be done in a day or in a certain order.
I’ll give a few examples.
Playing around, one of the first “tours” I made was really a list of all Detroit locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Well, truth be told, I paused after 49 because my typing fingers wept, but you get the idea. I think this is a *great* collection to have all in one place, and One Day makes it easy to compile and share, but it’s certainly not a tour per se.
Same thing with the statue “tour” I started piecing together. While seeing cool statues is a nice thing to do in the city, you’d have to be a pretty freaky dude to only stick to statues on your hypothetical day here (hey, man, I’m not judgin’, and maybe I’m wrong :-)).
And again same thing with the “tour” I just made of Hacker & Maker spaces in Detroit. Maybe you do want to check them all out in a day if you’re into that scene, but it feels like more of a List or Collection that grows over time as new things come online or are discovered.
These three “tours” also have something else in common. As lists/collections I’d love it if other people could add to them. It’s like you want the option to not just make a tour that you publish and control by yourself, but in addition to that, you want to start a list, and you want to be able to choose to make it locked or publicly editable.
As an example, wouldn’t it be cool to start a publicly editable collection of all public art works in Detroit? The kind where someone who finds a new piece of graffiti can easily add its location to the set? Imagine this for all sorts of interesting things. Then perhaps an aspect of proper Tour creation becomes picking and choosing locations from collections to put in a certain experiential order.
Thing is, if that’s not the firm direction, a seemingly small change forks the app into something like “Find and share things worth doing” and “Catalog and explore everything.”
More devils tomorrow, and everyday for the rest of your life… :-0