Vote Chooser Wizard

A friend sent me the link to VoteChooser to remind people before the primary to vote. The site consists of a single page wizard that asks you 10 questions about where you stand on political issues. The results page shows how your position aligns with those of presidential candidates in an attempt to help the undecided discover who might be the best person to vote for.

I hesitated at posting this with my results, because I don't want to make a political statement, but its useful to see how this simple questionnaire is very effective at helping to do a simple research task like figuring out what candidates stand for. The comparison and rank order is really quite an effective tool, and putting up something as simple as this combined with a voter registration form in kiosks at post offices, libraries, and shopping malls would be a pretty effective tool to help apathetic and uncertain voters. Individuals could take the poll and print out their results to take home with them.

The next thing the producers of this site might display to make a kiosk of this sort interesting are some statistics and a visualization for how the rest of the country answered these questions.

1. Answer questions to show where you stand on an issue.
2. Results show how your position aligns with candidates.

http://votechooser.com

AOL Music Desktop Video Widget

AOL's Desktop Widget is standalone video player (Adobe AIR application) that runs on the user's computer. The video player allows users to browse and watch the top 100 AOL Music Videos without having to access their web site. The player provides typical functions including playlisting, favoriting, sending to friend, embedding.

1. Video player on the left. On the right are mosaic of headshots to browse artists and search box.
2. Playlist mode.
3. Favorites list.
4. Email to friend.
5. Embed code.

http://music.aol.com/help/syndication/desktop-widgets

Oranges Contact Form

Edward Pistachio is a writer pulping fine short stories. Consistent with the lighthearted tone of this site, he provides a contact form that is also all about words. Getting his email address requires solving a few jumbles, and then decoding the address from letters found in the jumbles. Sure it may be frustrating if you can't figure out the jumbles, and is one of the cleverest ways I've ever seen to gain access to a bit of info. And you can always Google jumble solver if you're lazy like me. One thing that might make this even better is a validation check on each of the jumbles. Otherwise a very fun idea.

http://o.rang.es/contact/

Kayak Filtering

Kayak provided one of the earliest examples of using AJAX to provide data filtering controls and live refinement or filtering of results. Their slider controls remain one of the best examples of how AJAX can be used to make filtering visual and intuitive. Sliders allow users to narrow down search criteria including flight duration, takeoff/landing time, and price.

1. Default filtering controls.
2. Search results page.
3. Search results after adjusting search filters.

http://kayak.com

Roost Filtering

Roost is a real estate search engine that provides full MLS listings. Their AJAX search refining filters are very similar to those provided by Kayak's travel search. The slider controls provide a visual method for narrowing down search criteria and results are updated immediately.

1. Default filtering controls.
2. Search results page.
3. Search results after adjusting search filters.

http://roost.com

Moody Tags

Moody provides a visual tagging interface for music played on iTunes. A 4 x 4 grid of colored squares provides the clickable UI for describing the mood of music tracks along the vertical axis as calm to intense, and along the horizontal axis as sad to happy. Great concept and quite easy to get after a few tries. With tracks tagged by mood, you can later play them back by selecting clicking the listen tab, and selecting as few or many moods as you would like, and finally click play. Moody works by simply adding tags to the tracks' comments field and creates playlists when you select a new set of moods to play.

1. Tag a track playing in iTunes.
2. Listen to tracks by mood.

http://crayonroom.com/moody.php

Nike Faceted Navigation

The Nike Store provides an excellent faceted navigation for narrowing product listings by sensible facets including gender, product type, sport, color, and price. The site skins the faceted classification tool provided by Endeca, which allows the user to select a product attribute of interest under any facet, and continually provides feedback about the attributes in other facets that can be used to narrow your choice of products down. Nike's Flash-based implementation is appropriate and useful, and ranks among the best examples of faceted navigation you will find on either commercial or academic databases.

1. All product facets are displayed.
2. Men selected under Gender facet as first choice.
3. Further narrowing down by product type, size, and price.
4. Clearing out the price facet broadens the available products.

http://www.nike.com/index.jhtml#l=nikestore,home&re=US&co=US&la=EN

Kaltura Video Editor

Kaltura's Flash / Flex video editor mimicks a full-featured video editor like iMovie. The company's product allows its users to add video to a collaboratively created work. The editor features nearly all of the features you would expect from a video editor, but delivers the entire interface via the web. Features include organizing clips from a media library, adding titles, transitions, and special effects, and adding and controlling soundtrack and volume.

1. Video editor demo with clips loaded
2. Sound edits and transitions added

http://kaltura.com/index.php/edit?kshow_id=2

Fancast Rating (Hulu Player)

The Fancast experience for the Hulu video player provides a customized rating widget that differs from the straight-forward star rating on Hulu. Users select a text value that gets converted to stars.

1. Button in lower right prompts user to rate the video
2. Clicking the button displays scale as text values
3. Value selected by user is converted to star rating scale

http://fancast.com

TED Ratings

I was a bit confused the first time I saw this rating interface, and have to admit that I ignored it for months. The thing that threw me was the multiple checkboxes offered for each value. But I came back and realized that what this was doing was giving you a pre-defined set of tags which it was then using to create a filtering mechanism for the site. I appreciate that. I think it could be streamlined a bit by implementing those checkboxes differently.

1. User must click the Rating button in the lower right of the video player.
2. The rating panel expands and shows rating options as text values.
3. User may click 3 values, and may click one value 3 times if they wish.
4. Ratings are displayed as a cloud.
5. The talks list allows users to filter videos using the ratings.

http://ted.com/index.php/talks