Lost Angels Mobile App

Our Finals group is going to rebuild my midterm which was a rebuild of Los Angeles’ City website. Additionally, we’ll be exploring mobile app concepts that will compliment the new website. Here is my proposal for a mobile app that is targeted toward small business owners in the “Lost Angels” area:

This page is my sketchy illustration of the “homepage” of the app. Of course, it will need to feature strong and cohesive branding that ties back to the website, including the city seal and color scheme. At the very top of the home page is a search bar that exclusively searches the Lost Angels city website.

The next row of icons features a GPS search function, a connection function and an update function. Each of these utilizes existing technologies but applies them in a targeted manner. The GPS searches for registered small businesses in your current location. My registering your business with the Small Business Association of Lost Angels (free, of course), you are gaining free advertising in so much that if another registered user is in your vacinity and is looking for a service, your business name will show up on their GPS app function. The registering aspect creates a sense of community. I’m operating under the rationalization that small businesses support small businesses. That they long for a sense of community and would utilize their own social network in their daily business lives.

…which leads me to the second function: the connect function. Much like the existing “bump” application, utilizing this portion of the Small Business App requires both registered parties to physically agree to connect. They can share contact information, give each other discounts on services and build their social/business networks all with the bump of a mobile device.

…which leads me to the third function: updates. Each time the user adds a connection with the Connect function, their business profile/status updater will announce to their other connections that they have done so. This updater tool can be used like twitter (but hopefully much less randomly) and will feed updates into user’s connection’s feeds (featured on the home page as well). Perhaps a small business is having an annual 4th of July sale – they could announce it on their feed – their connections will get the announcement on their home page. The announcement (having a date in it) will then appear in each of the connections Calendar functions (scrolling down on home page).

So, the main idea is: register, build real connections through face-to-face exchanges, build a network and interact within your network.

But sometimes that’s not enough. Maybe your network is such a niche market, for example say bakers and kitchen suppliers and restaurants and coffee shops. But what you really need is an accountant or web designer and you have no clue how to find one. Enter the “certified” vendor function at the bottom of the home page. These “certified” vendors are just like you – registered small businesses, looking to network – but they have been approved or nominated for excellent service so many times by their clients that they appear in a “certified vendor search.”

Above is an illustration of the GPS function, once clicked into. I wanted to be sure that the registered businesses in the area appear in a scrolly bar – rather than the bar being blank. Also, some sort of image would pop up on a map to show proximity.

Now, here’s some prettier reference imagery:

Bump is a great app for sharing contact info between iphones – rather than the whole “what’s your number?” while someone types it in and then types your name and then you have to spell it because no one ever spells it right….then repeat. The only thing I don’t like about bump is that you literally have to bump your hands together holding the phones and you never know how hard the other person is going to try to dap you up. Or maybe it’s just that I’m not really a fist bumping kind of girl… My app would feature something less bumpy…like – must be within 1 foot to share info. That’s good. lol

LinkedIn’s feed is great because it’s less personal and TMI than Twitter (unless you’re like me and linked to a certain photographer who updates every 5 mintues!! :/) Ideally, in my app, the feed would stay professional. Period.

This is just GoogleMaps. I think apps are allowed to utilize it? I really wouldn’t change much – just limiting the search responses to only being other registered users.

This is sort of how I imagine my “certified vendors” list looking. Vendors are categorized or results are shown by industry. This is the YellowPages app. Kill the ad space, please. Color choices will be better, too. But I think it’s great that there is a map integration, an instant dial function (god, love iphones). I would want to add a check icon so that you can nominate a business to show up in the “certified” listings.

Ok, that’s a wrap.

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Finals Team

For my final project, I’ll be working You and Ryan. Yay for me! Check out their blogs.

Very soon we’ll be starting a team blog to document our project.

hmmmm

Menus, using lists.

When I re-created Netaporter a few weeks back, I used a list to create my subnav. So, this should be doable.

Using the book as a guide, above is a screenshot of how my list looked in the preview window. Below is how it appeared in Firefox:

We have a match!

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the extra credit portion:

Preview:

Browser view:

Umm…. I kinda hate this book right now. I think I followed the steps, at least the CSS bit. I added extra content to the HTML even though it never really said to. But given their outcome (the fact that they had a Item 3a/3b) tells me they added more content, too.

I noticed the problem starting when I added the float:left’s. I’m going to rebuild and see if that fixes the problem! ha!

Mid-term live

Our mid-terms are live now, here’s mine.

After looking through the various city websites, it became clear that two very essential things needed to happen in the redesign of LA’s city website (specifically as it relates to being new-business-friendly):

1) The pages must feel like they’re one the same website – cohesive in design and functionality

2) Simplify, simplify, simplify. There were just too many links on LA’s site to even begin to know where to start.

After I presented my simplified and unified pages to my class, some feedback I received was to incorporate social media (which LA has somewhat attempted to do through blogs), to look for ways to make the site more interactive (we explored an interactive map section that currently exists and discussed ways for improvement), and a few alignment shifts. I hope to incorporate these changes into the next round, should this project be chosen to move forward.

Competitive Analysis: Charlotte

Finally, I found a site that’s equally ugly and obnoxious as LA City’s website.

The colors are very masculine as are the strange weapon-like header boxes and nav boxes. Two instances of duotone imagery gives this site a very 1990 Police Academy vibe. From looking at this site, I feel like I just got pulled over and I’m not sure why…and this cop looks a little shady. What’s going to happen next?

That picture is so dated, it’s distracting. Look at her hair! My mom had that hair do…in 1984! Is that a Tandy 1000? This site is bad. Maybe seeing Mayor Villarigosa’s mug on every page isn’t the worst that could happen? Oh yeah, lots of links in a long long list.

Competitive Analysis: Denver

Denver’s site has gradients and graphics toward the top of the page, things I’ve criticized elsewhere, but something about it works here. They’re also only at the top. As you scroll down the page, the content is held in curvy friendly boxes surrounded by white….aaaahhh. Main nav in top tabs are easy to understand and actually have a float down sub nav to allow the user to jump deeper in from the home page, should they be so inclined.

The business landing page is tidy and simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple.

Competitive Analysis: Dallas

So far, every city I’ve covered has had a better site than LA, even the horrible Atlanta site. But I feel the need to show that there are a few other ugly sites out there…(just maybe not quite as bad as LA). Case in point:

I know, it’s not nearly as bad as LA. But it’s not attractive. Too many links, hate those gradient header backgrounds, green headlines? No way, man. It’s just not good design.

The business page serves it’s purpose but it helped me notice something else I didn’t like…the solid lines separating the different divs.