THE BACK END
For those of you who haven't had the luxury of creating maps, a website or, even better an app, you aren't familiar with the advice and help we frequently get from people who know us (and people who don't).
It so happens that virtually the day after every map we've ever made was printed, someone called to let us know what was incorrect or how we could have done it better. We thanked them for their concern, but inside we cried because naturally we desperately wanted everything to be perfect. The best we could say is that changes would happen in the 'next edition' whenever that is. Endlessly updating was sisyphean. So, we thought that when we migrated to a total online map, correcting and improving it would be a piece of cake. It turns out that the more you do, the more you think you can do. And the app, particularly with an app which has lots of features, multitasks and requires a hyperspace trip to our server to sift through our huge database for every query elevated us to a whole new plane. Winning the awards last year only upped the ante. We want to make instant corrections, we want the navigation for it to be so clear, so functional and so user friendly that it sets the standard for digital National Galleries. We wanted people uploading content to be delighted with this as its ephemeral home. And we wanted people looking for things to find them.
Our New Years Resolution for 2012 is going to be the 'Year of the BACK END' . What sets us apart is that our 'front end' and our 'technical support' are the same people, the art lovers, artists, architects, curators and historians. This means that we can devote ourselves to improving the way it works with the same passion that we have for the way it looks. There will be a lot of new features launched continually throughout the year with no fanfare. This month, for instance, you'll notice that the search function is considerably more powerful and simpler. Look for 'New York artists' and then sort them by category, name, or use the slider. In New York City, parks and historic districts are bounded by areas; if you want to find everything in Central Park you can. Soon, you'll be able to print it too. If you manage a collection, you can now make exportable csv files and a field that lets you describe the state of the collection. Want to post events? We can add openings, temporary exhibitions, or festivals.
Please be our beta testers. Send us suggestions. We promise that we'll write you back, thank you and even better, we'll listen. It's February. It's almost Valentine's day and this is most of all a labor of love.
Abby Suckle, President