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You Know what a Map is, but do You Know Mapees? (Feedback Needed & Progress)

Xavier X

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Site: Mapees

TL;DR - I'm an active traveler, creating a site where people can understand the neighborhoods at their next travel destination, as laid out on a map. Content will be primarily supplied by users.
The combined elements of circled/doodled areas on a map along with descriptive overviews are what I've called "mapees."

Feedback Needed:
1.
If you looked up a mapee on the site, is there any specific set/type of information you would like to see?
2. If you were going to post a mapee on the site, is there an ideal way you would like the process to be?
3. If you landed on the site by accident and read the value proposition on the homepage, would you understand what the site is about?
4. Any other feedback at all. Design, layout, bugs etc. Thanks!
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The primary purpose of this thread is to get general feedback from the TFF gang. Also, I will use this thread to post infrequent progress reports over time.
The post will be long, but I'll try to keep it succinct. For a brief background about me, you can check this thread.

I am a pretty active traveler, and have been to/lived in multiple countries, on 5 continents.
In 2017, I asked myself why I was sitting in my apartment in Boston staring at a wall all day, when I could do most of my business remotely?
Haven't looked back since.

Project Goal: Take my least favorite part of travel planning and create a solution around this need.
I am creating what I hope to become a large database of map-assisted travel destination layout info, provided by travelers.

Problem to be Solved:
Typically, I spend one or two months in each country, then on to the next. Primarily staying in airbnb apartments and houses.
My least favorite part of this lifestyle is searching for the ideal neighborhood to stay in a new country/destination.

It takes a lot of digging to understand the layout of the map I'm looking at on airbnb, in order to pick an apartment in the right place.
Normally, I have to research many neighborhoods across multiple blogs, forums, tripadvisor threads etc.

It's necessary to know what areas have good amenities, social activities, danger warnings etc. Then understanding where is central, outskirt, tourist area etc.
It gets overwhelming at times.

The Solution:
Create a site where people can sign up and post map screenshots they have circled familiar areas on, accompanied by brief overviews of the areas.
Most importantly, from their own perspective. Not a soulless article or Wiki about "neighborhoods in XYZ."
I am calling the combination of these elements "mapees."

A mapee would look like this (without the personalized doodles and text, it's just a good ol' map):

27456

You might have come across an article on some travel site with a similar presentation as this mapee.
However, you most likely haven't seen a website exclusively dedicated to this. And more importantly, the content being supplied by the crowd.

Target Audience:
- Anyone traveling to a destination they are unfamiliar with, and are confused about the area to stay.
- Travel enthusiasts and regular folks who like to share their knowledge of places they have been, live in or know.

Similar Existing (but incomplete) Solutions:
- There is a relatively small startup (recently acquired by Trivago), called TripHappy. It attempts to solve the same problem, but without the map angle.
It only publishes its own content, thereby offering only one perspective. No third party/crowd content.

- Nomadlist has an interactive map tool, where the crowd can add points of interest etc. However, that is a different thing.

- Google MyMaps allows you to create/share interactive maps with custom blocks drawn on the map etc. However, there is no central place where such content is posted.
They're typically used in one-off scenarios.

- Some travel sites have some similar content, but that's a small fraction of their overall content. So they can't serve the same purpose.

Current Stage:
In order to make this a reality in the quickest way, I did not get the website custom coded. That would be both time wasting and expensive.
The potential value of the site is the future content, not really the tech driving the platform. If there's a need for that in the future, then it would be a good problem to have.
Same way this forum's value lies in the contributions from users, and not the fact it is created with XenForo.

That said, I have created the site using a premium theme I purchased, and a host of plugins. I have spent some weeks making it work as I want, and fixing bugs in the theme.
I have created content sites for over 10 years, so I know my way around such sites.

Feedback Needed:
Here are some things I need feedback on from the fine folks on TFF.

1. If you had to look up a mapee on the site, is there any specific type of information you would like to see?
2. If you are conversant with some location, and wanted to share a mapee, is there a specific way you would rather post it?
Right now, the flow is: Take screenshot of map -> Use any color doodling tool to circle out a few areas -> Write about the areas you circled -> Post.
The intent is a quick and dirty approach.
3. What general feedback do you have? It could be anything. Bugs, design, layout etc.

Please note a few things:
- The site is currently in its most basic MVP form.
- There are 4 mapees posted, to give you a general idea.

Thanks for reading the long post, and I'll appreciate the feedback.
Site: Mapees


Edited to add TL;dr above, as it is a long post.
 

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Xavier X

Xavier X

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Is it trying to be like hoodmaps?
Absolutely not.

Hoodmaps is the tool offered by Nomadlist, which I referenced in the post. It offers crowdsourced overviews of neighborhoods on a map anyone can edit. Totally different presentation, and will not solve the problem Mapees solve. At best, Hoodmaps can give you a very vague idea of the areas.

For instance, this is a final presentation for New York City on Hoodmaps.
If you are some person from Papua New Guinea trying to visit NYC for the first time, this just won't cut it.

27473
 

CaptainAmerica

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I like it!

1. If you looked up a mapee on the site, is there any specific set/type of information you would like to see? It would be nice to have a dropdown of likely things. I don't care about nightlife, except to avoid, but I do want to see where the dog parks are.
2. If you were going to post a mapee on the site, is there an ideal way you would like the process to be? as easy as Skitch.
3. If you landed on the site by accident and read the value proposition on the homepage, would you understand what the site is about? yes
4. Any other feedback at all. Design, layout, bugs etc. Thanks! So I'm a little confused - anyone could upload a map of anywhere? So I see a lot of potential lying or Middle Earth maps:

27493

(Washington Park is one of the most gang-infested, dangerous areas of Chicago)
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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@CaptainAmerica
Thanks for your feedback.

- Since the mapees will be provided by different people, content will depend on their personal familiarity with the areas. However, the broad categories available to categorize posts are intended to give context to the post. Categories will be expanded as time goes on.
Since different people will inevitably post about the same cities, the idea is that looking through a few mapees will give the reader a clearer overall picture.

- Down the line, a sketching tool will be integrated, to allow users mark up maps directly on the site. For now, users will create them on their own, using whatever tools work for them. Skitch, Windows Snipping Tool etc. Then attach it as an image in their post.
It's a manual process for now. The next phase will have marked up map templates of common cities that users can choose from and use, if they want.

- Yes, inaccurate information is an inevitable bi-product of crowdsourced information.
The content will be moderated, and obvious troll posts removed. However, in cases like the one you have pointed out, it gets more tricky. To hopefully have the crowd regulate itself, the comments system has social features to encourage participation.
In which case, others like you can call BS on a mapee advising leisurely midnight walks through Washington Park. :)
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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@Fox I know you travel quite a bit as well. How do you research areas in new potential destinations? Especially when trying to pick something on an airbnb map or similar. Any input?

@AgainstAllOdds If someone suggested Bali to you for instance, for your hustle house location, but you had never been to Bali, is there anything that would make using this better for you?
 

Fox

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@Fox I know you travel quite a bit as well. How do you research areas in new potential destinations? Especially when trying to pick something on an airbnb map or similar. Any input?

@AgainstAllOdds If someone suggested Bali to you for instance, for your hustle house location, but you had never been to Bali, is there anything that would make using this better for you?
Access to certain things I want and avoidance of others.

- Gym
- Food (both cafes and to cook for myself)
- Cool things to do
- Nice area (parks, cool streets, beach or trees etc)
- Decent prices for a cool apartment

Then to avoid:
- Main streets
- Packed nightlife areas
- Loud noises or construction (nearly always get caught out with construction)
- Crime

Also in most cities, I usually look for the up and coming neighbourhood so I can get a way better deal on a cool place. I'd rather stay in a penthouse in an unusal area than in something tiny in the top area. I really like having a lot of space since I work from home normally.

Chapinero in Bogota is a good example of this. Nearly everyone will stay in Zone T or Parque 93 but Chapinero has a really cool set up at a way cheaper price. Don't know if that helps with this but its how I decide where to stay once I pick a place.

> Side idea. I wonder if you can swipe the geo info from Tinder to show where most young people live. If you had a bot that could pick certain areas of the city and then search by less than 2kms maybe you can map out where are the most popular areas to live are for a certain age group.

The same might be possible for looking at the most popular location tags on IG. Might be too advanced but the data is already there to show what areas get the most attention and visitors.
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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Access to certain things I want and avoidance of others.

- Gym
- Food (both cafes and to cook for myself)
- Cool things to do
- Nice area (parks, cool streets, beach or trees etc)
- Decent prices for a cool apartment

Then to avoid:
- Main streets
- Packed nightlife areas
- Loud noises or construction (nearly always get caught out with construction)
- Crime

Also in most cities, I usually look for the up and coming neighbourhood so I can get a way better deal on a cool place. I'd rather stay in a penthouse in an unusal area than in something tiny in the top area. I really like having a lot of space since I work from home normally.

Chapinero in Bogota is a good example of this. Nearly everyone will stay in Zone T or Parque 93 but Chapinero has a really cool set up at a way cheaper price. Don't know if that helps with this but its how I decide where to stay once I pick a place.

> Side idea. I wonder if you can swipe the geo info from Tinder to show where most young people live. If you had a bot that could pick certain areas of the city and then search by less than 2kms maybe you can map out where are the most popular areas to live are for a certain age group.

The same might be possible for looking at the most popular location tags on IG. Might be too advanced but the data is already there to show what areas get the most attention and visitors.
Thanks for the response.

The way it is set up now, I believe people can get most of this information after reading a few mapees. While the aim isn't for each post to be "an ultimate guide to XYZ," I believe posters will mention some noteworthy things like access to food, gyms etc.

I'm trying to have only a few compact categories for now, but they'll give overall context to each post. For instance, if a person puts their post under "sightseeing," it might lean toward parks, museums etc type info. Same way "Accommodation" might have posts focusing more on housing and neighborhood crime etc.

The goal is for each to be presented from the user's perspective. That way, there is a variety, in the sense that if many are recommending Zona T, someone like you also recommends Chapinero.

Tinder has an API with limited information, but I don't know if knowing real-time average age of people in a place would help people decide where to stay. I imagine it would be "interesting to know" as widgetized info. I'll put it down for a future revisit.
Or is there something about the implementation/use of that info I'm missing?

re: staying in less popular places. Personally, I also check out neighborhoods outside the tourist enclaves, and often score better value. I once stayed way south of Medellin, right on the line with Itagui, for two months. The apartment was technically in Itagui, but I liked the area. It was more authentic, and I got a large brand new modern apartment with 2 BR, 2 baths and a home office for a great price.

I know last time I asked, you said you were going to be in Malta for a while, but that was a long time ago. Where are you these days?
 

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Fox

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Thanks for the response.

The way it is set up now, I believe people can get most of this information after reading a few mapees. While the aim isn't for each post to be "an ultimate guide to XYZ," I believe posters will mention some noteworthy things like access to food, gyms etc.

I'm trying to have only a few compact categories for now, but they'll give overall context to each post. For instance, if a person puts their post under "sightseeing," it might lean toward parks, museums etc type info. Same way "Accommodation" might have posts focusing more on housing and neighborhood crime etc.

The goal is for each to be presented from the user's perspective. That way, there is a variety, in the sense that if many are recommending Zona T, someone like you also recommends Chapinero.

Tinder has an API with limited information, but I don't know if knowing real-time average age of people in a place would help people decide where to stay. I imagine it would be "interesting to know" as widgetized info. I'll put it down for a future revisit.
Or is there something about the implementation/use of that info I'm missing?

re: staying in less popular places. Personally, I also check out neighborhoods outside the tourist enclaves, and often score better value. I once stayed way south of Medellin, right on the line with Itagui, for two months. The apartment was technically in Itagui, but I liked the area. It was more authentic, and I got a large brand new modern apartment with 2 BR, 2 baths and a home office for a great price.

I know last time I asked, you said you were going to be in Malta for a while, but that was a long time ago. Where are you these days?
I’m in gdansk Poland right now. Although I think I’m going to be in Malta for a week very soon. Send me your IG/WhatsApp via PM if you want and I’ll be happy to send you more info whenever you want.
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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Update 1:
The site is officially launched.

I have gathered feedback on different forums, groups and individuals. I have made some slight changes, and will iterate to include more of the feedback, as time goes on.

I have one nearly 7-year old website that gets consistent traffic of over 1 million page views a month. When I look back at the site's evolution on Wayback Machine, I chuckle a bit. I have no qualms starting sites at bare bones state, and fattening them up along the way.

Getting Users:
To introduce the site to people, yesterday I started working on it's FB Page.
From experience, I know FB Pages aren't great for non-paid reach. However, I want to have my target audience directly reachable in one place. Plus, it is necessary for discoverability and social proof.

I set up the FB page months ago, but it wasn't public. I published it publicly yesterday, and ran a Page Likes ad campaign targeting people with the interest "Travel," "World Travel," "Business Travel" etc.
It was a simple ad with an overview of the site's intent.
At the end of yesterday, the FB page got 440 followers, with approximately $14.50 spent.

I will take a closer look at the audience being built, and adjust the targeting as needed.

Instagram is actually a better fit for the site category, but I am not as conversant with IG. I created an account for it during the feedback phase, but will look into getting someone else to grow it.

Next 10-day To Do:
1.
Publish 20 new mapees of different cities, and encourage users to post theirs.
2. Hire a freelancer to create map template resources for 100 cities. This makes it easier for users to post content, without worrying about creating the map doodles themselves, if they don't want to.
3. Grow the FB page to at least 2,000 followers and start engaging them.

Onward to victory!
 

amp0193

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Want to see family friendly areas.

Where are the young families / quiet areas / parks. We've messed this up before and it was a long 2 months.

Current solution is browsing through local forums trying to get the scoop. Really inefficient.
 

inputchip

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Admittedly I didn't read the entire post, but I get the gist of it.

I clicked the link before reading your post and had no idea what the site was about from the headline. "See your travel destinations layout and personality"

This statement needs to address what need you are solving.

Perhaps...

Find the perfect homebase for your travel plans

Map out your next adventure, tailored to your lifestyle

Map like a local, map your ideal neighborhood

The name Mapee doesn't appeal to me, a Mapee sounds like a user who submitted the doodled on map.

Eventually you will need to have some authority over the content, as having multiple users post their options about neighborhoods defeats the who purpose of the tool.

The tools needs to remain simple and fast. I don't want to have to read through many peoples options.

A quiz style site might be better...

1. Where are you going?
2. What type of Traveller are you (select all that apply)? Nightlife, family friendly, outdoors, musuems, cafes, etc.
3. Do you prefer cost over convienence? (Scale 1-10).
4. Tool spits out best neighborhoods for traveller.
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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Want to see family friendly areas.

Where are the young families / quiet areas / parks. We've messed this up before and it was a long 2 months.

Current solution is browsing through local forums trying to get the scoop. Really inefficient.
Coincidentally, I was just looking for something in my old PMs and saw an exchange we had years ago. Then came in here and saw you pop up :cool:.


Where are the young families / quiet areas / parks. We've messed this up before and it was a long 2 months.
The general intent is for people to include that kind of information in their mapees.
So reading a few mapees for a specific destination would offer a rounded overview of a place. Importantly, from multiple perspectives.

While I am trying to keep the actual categories limited, as time goes on, I will add a few more sub-categories. For now, it is Accommodation, Nightlife, Sightseeing and General.
Parks and recreation would fall under Sightseeing. Quiet areas and (to a lesser extent) information about young families would be discernible from Accommodation mapees.

keep in mind, the categories aren't water tight, and are more "this post leans more toward..."
As a result, each will invariably contain information about different aspects of the city.

The primary goal of the site isn't really to highlight in-depth details on specific attractions. It's to give users an idea of the general vibe of a neighborhood and what comes with the territory. At the same time giving them a visual of the layout. This visual is crucial if you're trying to book a place on airbnb, or any map-based interface.

What destination did you mess up a two-month stay in?
 

amp0193

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What destination did you mess up a two-month stay in?
Malmö, Sweden.

A 10 min walk way is a super quiet, family friendly, really nice area. (which we stayed in on a subsequent trip, and it was way better).

We were in the bar/restaurant district and it was nothing but noise until 2am and beyond.

Hard to tell from a map sometimes though what you're going to get.


Getting better at knowing what to look for though.
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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Admittedly I didn't read the entire post, but I get the gist of it.

I clicked the link before reading your post and had no idea what the site was about from the headline. "See your travel destinations layout and personality"

This statement needs to address what need you are solving.

Perhaps...

Find the perfect homebase for your travel plans

Map out your next adventure, tailored to your lifestyle

Map like a local, map your ideal neighborhood

The name Mapee doesn't appeal to me, a Mapee sounds like a user who submitted the doodled on map.

Eventually you will need to have some authority over the content, as having multiple users post their options about neighborhoods defeats the who purpose of the tool.

The tools needs to remain simple and fast. I don't want to have to read through many peoples options.

A quiz style site might be better...

1. Where are you going?
2. What type of Traveller are you (select all that apply)? Nightlife, family friendly, outdoors, musuems, cafes, etc.
3. Do you prefer cost over convienence? (Scale 1-10).
4. Tool spits out best neighborhoods for traveller.
Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

Admittedly I didn't read the entire post, but I get the gist of it.
It appears a few things are lost in translation, as you didn't read the full post.


This statement needs to address what need you are solving.
I have received feedback from a decent number of people on different forums and in person. You are the first person to say they didn't get the value proposition statement. Seeing/knowing your travel destination's map layout and personality is the primary goal/value of visiting the site. Perhaps, the use of "personality" as personification of the city is a little too much of a figure of speech here, which might cause confusion.

I am definitely open to revising it, but will need to sample a larger audience before doing so, as I feel it works as is. I have a degree in Communication, so I am conversant with writing such things. If up to 10% of people I survey think its not clear, I will change it.


The name Mapee doesn't appeal to me, a Mapee sounds like a user who submitted the doodled on map.
That's the intended second meaning of the made up word, mapee. Users will primarily be doing the doodling on maps which they submit with their posts. So when coming up with the name, I figured it targets two birds with one stone, but places emphasis on the first meaning.
- The elements of a doodled map combined with accompanying text is a "mapee."
- The creator of said mapee can also optionally be referred to as a "mapee." :cool:



Eventually you will need to have some authority over the content, as having multiple users post their options about neighborhoods defeats the who purpose of the tool.

The tools needs to remain simple and fast. I don't want to have to read through many peoples options.

A quiz style site might be better...

1. Where are you going?
2. What type of Traveller are you (select all that apply)? Nightlife, family friendly, outdoors, musuems, cafes, etc.
3. Do you prefer cost over convienence? (Scale 1-10).
4. Tool spits out best neighborhoods for traveller.
On the contrary, I am creating this to serve its purpose in the opposite way.
It is not intended to be a "tool," but an elaborate information resource. Having multiple users post mapees ensures the human element is what delivers the needed information.

That said, I definitely get the *"I don't want to have to read through many peoples options."* part. One way I will minimize this is to get a detailed in-house "ultimate mapee" created for major destinations. These will always be the first you see when you search for places like New York City, London, Bangkok and such. This increases the chance of only needing to read one mapee to make a decision, but with additional mapees for broader perspective.

A quiz style tool might be added later, as a secondary "tool." However, the site itself will not be based on that. That tends to reduce sites in certain niches to those "how much is your website worth" sites.

While it is fast and convenient, it removes the human element which is crucial for travelers, and misses the target. As someone who has traveled the world non-stop for the last 26 months, I have had discussions with hundreds of frequent travelers. From these discussions, I know a tool spitting out neighborhood suggestions won't cut it as a final bus stop.

Again, I appreciate the feedback, as you made valid points and observations.
Do you do any traveling yourself?
 
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Xavier X

Xavier X

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Malmö, Sweden.

A 10 min walk way is a super quiet, family friendly, really nice area. (which we stayed in on a subsequent trip, and it was way better).

We were in the bar/restaurant district and it was nothing but noise until 2am and beyond.

Hard to tell from a map sometimes though what you're going to get.


Getting better at knowing what to look for though.
Having booked so many apartments on airbnb, nothing frustrates me more than looking at listings on the map, and having no clue about the areas.


We were in the bar/restaurant district and it was nothing but noise until 2am and beyond.
In February, I made an unplanned trip to Vietnam, to spend a month. I didn't even have time to book a place before getting there. After landing at the airport, I just booked a hotel quickly for a few days, so I can settle in and find an apartment. I knew the street I was booking in was considered noisy and a bar/tourist street. However, nothing prepared me for the next few days of sleepless nights.
 

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@Xavier X , though I'm not a frequent traveller, I like your idea, and I can see the value it would hold if I am going into a new area I have no clue about.

I've visited your site (on my phone) and like what I see, including the mapees, but I think you could still improve on some areas.

My comments:
1. The home page could do with a little more content explaining a bit more about how it works, rather than just a header image and header text.
Sort of like a short summary of your How It Works page, put right on the front page. It may be in the first section below the header, to make things clearer for those whom it might not be very apparent at first glance exactly what the site is about, especially since you're executing a relatively novel concept, not a regular ecommerce site or blog that everyone is familiar with. One shouldn't have to click a link to see exactly what its about.
And it provides an opportunity to sell the site further, highlight the best points of the site.
Eg like... "Ever had to put up in an AirBnb in a noisy area because you weren't familiar with the area? Not anymore."
And 1 or 2 more bullet points stating exactly what the site is about.
I'm no copywriter, but I'm sure you get the idea.

2. The contrast between the header image and the header text on the front page could be improved, particularly on the right hand side. I find myself straining to read the words on the right side to the white background in the header pic.

3. The pictures in your mapees need to have higher resolution, so they are sharp/clearcut and we can see the names of the streets and landmarks without straining our eyes (or let me say my own eyes, can't say if its the same for others). I know they're just samples, but they need to be exactly like the actual ones. I found myself straining to see the actual areas highlighted inside the maps, and that will detract from the user experience.
I'm not sure which pic format your using, jpg or PNG, but I guess you can find one that gives a reasonable balance between maintaining clarity when zoomed up close (as most people will likely do on the mapee), and file size (avoiding files being too heavy).

4. Suggestion- you can call your map creators "mappers" or "mapeers", while the maps themselves are called mapees like you suggest, so as to create a distinction between the two, and avoid confusion for first comers who wouldn't know whether the mapees you are talking about on your site are the people or the maps.

5. I assume your mapees will be able to be upvoted and downvoted right? Just like Quora and Reddit comments. So that people that agree with the mapees observations can upvote it, and those that disagree can downvote it and add comments on why they disagree. So the community sort of regulates itself like you said.

Overall, nice concept. Will need a lot of refining and fine tuning, but I think it has significant potential to add value to the lives of travelers globally (hoping Google doesn't latch on and decide to do something like that themselves with their maps).

(PS: Edited to correct the numbering of my points, ...had skipped a number.)
 

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Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.



It appears a few things are lost in translation, as you didn't read the full post.




I have received feedback from a decent number of people on different forums and in person. You are the first person to say they didn't get the value proposition statement. Seeing/knowing your travel destination's map layout and personality is the primary goal/value of visiting the site. Perhaps, the use of "personality" as personification of the city is a little too much of a figure of speech here, which might cause confusion.

I am definitely open to revising it, but will need to sample a larger audience before doing so, as I feel it works as is. I have a degree in Communication, so I am conversant with writing such things. If up to 10% of people I survey think its not clear, I will change it.
Change it.
It's just not a commonly used term - "Travel Destination Layout". I was quite confused by the headline & the subtitle and coming from here, I already knew what you were trying to do.

Make the headline catchy, the subtitle super clear, and then the image should bring it home. A pretty island stock photo doesn't quite get there... BUT what if you marked it up with an arrow pointing into the trees, and some text that said "Hidden Dive Bar" or "Local Surf Shop" etc.

Love the concept. Lots to execute on, but I'm totally your target demo for a project like this. When I travel I'd much rather live like a local for a week (airbnb in a fun hood, local pubs, restaurants whatever) than roll in like a tourist and stay in a hotel. If I was traveling somewhere new I would love to use a tool like yours to tailor my travel to my tastes.

If you plan to take this feedback, I'd be happy to work up some new copy ideas. Just pop me a note/reply whatever.
 
OP
OP
Xavier X

Xavier X

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jan 1, 2016
252
618
263
These United States
@Xavier X , though I'm not a frequent traveller, I like your idea, and I can see the value it would hold if I am going into a new area I have no clue about.

I've visited your site (on my phone) and like what I see, including the mapees, but I think you could still improve on some areas.

My comments:
1. The home page could do with a little more content explaining a bit more about how it works, rather than just a header image and header text.
Sort of like a short summary of your How It Works page, put right on the front page. It may be in the first section below the header, to make things clearer for those whom it might not be very apparent at first glance exactly what the site is about, especially since you're executing a relatively novel concept, not a regular ecommerce site or blog that everyone is familiar with. One shouldn't have to click a link to see exactly what its about.
And it provides an opportunity to sell the site further, highlight the best points of the site.
Eg like... "Ever had to put up in an AirBnb in a noisy area because you weren't familiar with the area? Not anymore."
And 1 or 2 more bullet points stating exactly what the site is about.
I'm no copywriter, but I'm sure you get the idea.

2. The contrast between the header image and the header text on the front page could be improved, particularly on the right hand side. I find myself straining to read the words on the right side to the white background in the header pic.

3. The pictures in your mapees need to have higher resolution, so they are sharp/clearcut and we can see the names of the streets and landmarks without straining our eyes (or let me say my own eyes, can't say if its the same for others). I know they're just samples, but they need to be exactly like the actual ones. I found myself straining to see the actual areas highlighted inside the maps, and that will detract from the user experience.
I'm not sure which pic format your using, jpg or PNG, but I guess you can find one that gives a reasonable balance between maintaining clarity when zoomed up close (as most people will likely do on the mapee), and file size (avoiding files being too heavy).

4. Suggestion- you can call your map creators "mappers" or "mapeers", while the maps themselves are called mapees like you suggest, so as to create a distinction between the two, and avoid confusion for first comers who wouldn't know whether the mapees you are talking about on your site are the people or the maps.

5. I assume your mapees will be able to be upvoted and downvoted right? Just like Quora and Reddit comments. So that people that agree with the mapees observations can upvote it, and those that disagree can downvote it and add comments on why they disagree. So the community sort of regulates itself like you said.

Overall, nice concept. Will need a lot of refining and fine tuning, but I think it has significant potential to add value to the lives of travelers globally (hoping Google doesn't latch on and decide to do something like that themselves with their maps).

(PS: Edited to correct the numbering of my points, ...had skipped a number.)
Thanks for your feedback! All valid points raised.

1. You're totally right, and I have all these things already being done. There will be a How it Works illustration right under the category and search bar.

2. I am also aware of this, and will be making it more legible.

3. While they aren't tack sharp when zoomed in, I think they are legible enough for the intent. The intent is only to have a visual reference of the areas in question. They then reference them on the actual live map on airbnb or booking service being used. It's not for people to discover points of interests, or any fine details within the map. Just to see the broad layout.

That said, I will ensure the mapees posted in-house have sufficiently clear images, without being large enough to cause lag.

4. Good suggestion, although I'm not really hung up on this part. My main focus is on the actual mapees. I believe whatever the users start getting called will emerge organically down the line.

5. For now it does not have that feature. I intend to implement that in some fashion down the line. It does have a "like" feature, which might give a general sense of quality if there are many likes. However, I have that disabled for now, as it isn't optimally coded yet and needs some tweaking.

Yes, it certainly will be getting a ton of fine tuning. As I said earlier, it is at its bare bones state. Most of the things I've been working on are more technical behind the curtain. The front end will see many iterations going forward, as far as copy, structure, features etc.
 
OP
OP
Xavier X

Xavier X

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jan 1, 2016
252
618
263
These United States
Change it.
It's just not a commonly used term - "Travel Destination Layout". I was quite confused by the headline & the subtitle and coming from here, I already knew what you were trying to do.

Make the headline catchy, the subtitle super clear, and then the image should bring it home. A pretty island stock photo doesn't quite get there... BUT what if you marked it up with an arrow pointing into the trees, and some text that said "Hidden Dive Bar" or "Local Surf Shop" etc.

Love the concept. Lots to execute on, but I'm totally your target demo for a project like this. When I travel I'd much rather live like a local for a week (airbnb in a fun hood, local pubs, restaurants whatever) than roll in like a tourist and stay in a hotel. If I was traveling somewhere new I would love to use a tool like yours to tailor my travel to my tastes.

If you plan to take this feedback, I'd be happy to work up some new copy ideas. Just pop me a note/reply whatever.
Thanks for your feedback!

I am definitely open to changing it. Though as I said earlier, I'll wait till 10% of feedback says no on it. Heck, I'll even change it at 5%, as I want it dummy-proof. At the same time, I'm trying to avoid wording it like everyone else, without losing its clarity.

A pretty island stock photo doesn't quite get there... BUT what if you marked it up with an arrow pointing into the trees, and some text that said "Hidden Dive Bar" or "Local Surf Shop" etc.
That might work if the site was focused on that, but it primarily isn't. So that would lead to disappointment, when they can't find all the juicy secret places in the mapees posts.

The main value isn't for people to discover great places and things to do at their travel destination. It is for them to simply familiarize themselves with the lay of the land. Whatever extra info about sweet dive bars they glean is frosting on the cake.

So for the header, my goal is pretty image with a clear value proposition text. I like simple.
I'll ruminate a few other options as I get more feedback. Even if there's less than 5% saying this doesn't work and I come up with something clearer, I'll change it.

What kind of traveling do you do?
 
OP
OP
Xavier X

Xavier X

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jan 1, 2016
252
618
263
These United States
Update 2:

I've changed countries since my last update, as I typically relocate to a new country every 1-2 months.

A few updates on the project so far.
1. Content: There have been more mapees of new cities created and posted by users. The home page only displays 20 at a time though, so locations have to be searched through the search bar.

2. Feedback: I have implemented some of the feedback received here and other places.
a. I reworded the value proposition from:

"See your travel destination's layout and personality - and share layouts with other travelers using map doodles and descriptions we call mapees."

to

"Never stay in the wrong neighborhood on a trip - with the help of map doodles and descriptions we call mapees."

b. I added a prominent "How it Works" section to the home page called "How Mapees Work."
It delivers the core purpose of the site, and complements the value proposition.

3. Facebook: The Facebook page is now at 1,617 followers, as a result of a few targeted FB ad campaigns. I have started refining the audience targeting to focus on people in certain countries who will engage more meaningfully. Quality over quantity.
I will vary the FB post type from purely posts of mapees map content, to a mix of travel pics too. It should help with engagement and interest.

4. Major oopsie!: When I started creating the site, I had it configured to deny indexing to search engines. I didn't want the crappy stages cached and indexed.
However, when it went live, I somehow forgot to remove that configuration. I recently noticed the site was not being indexed, and realized what happened. I've re-enabled indexing and generated a sitemap to feed to Google Console.

For the next month, I'll be focusing mainly on content generation by users and myself, and some SEO, before doing significant outreach. Any feedback is still welcome and appreciated.

Onward to victory!

 

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