In the beginning of 2010, I started working on a Xerox Innovation Group research project called Trailmeme in the role of Usability Lead. Last week, the project was launched from private to public beta at DEMO Fall 2010, a launch pad for emerging technology.
Trailmeme is a new kind of publishing that enables users to create visual maps of Web content. With Trailmeme, content generators, or trailblazers, can create trails to organize and present Web content in a way that tells a story. Trailblazing finishes with a social act, when authors publish their trails for others to walk. Content consumers, or trail walkers, can enjoy well organized journeys through meaningfully sequenced content with commentary. Trails can be turned into PDF documents for printing or use as ebooks.
If you are interested in seeing what Trailmeme is about, you can go to Trailmeme.com and sign up. This is a project with a lot of moving parts: a destination site, search site, a browser bookmarklet, a Firefox toolbar and a WordPress plugin. Throughout the year, I have been doing heuristic evaluations of each aspect of the project and then wireframing improved interfaces. I am privileged to work with a talented UI designer, Anoop Surendran who transforms my wireframes into polished designs that can be implemented by an amazing development team. We’re in beta so some of the edges are still rough; my next task is to plan some quick user testing to set direction for the next round of improvements and features. If you do try it, please don’t hesitate to let me know what you think.
For more information, check out the release post on the Trailmeme blog and watch the 6 minute presentation given by Project Lead Venkat Rao at DEMO.
The project has also received some excellent press coverage:
DEMO: Trailmeme lets you take a walk on the Internet on VentureBeat
Xerox-Incubated TrailMeme Launches, Reducing Real-Time Anxiety on siliconANGLE
Collect, Process and Share Your Online Research with Trailmeme on ReadWriteWeb
Trailmeme creates retraceable, social Web history on CNET News
A More Organic Way to Organize The Web’s Content on Mashable
For more press, see the Trailmeme in the Media Trail (also pictured in the screen capture above).