The In-the-Wild Testing Blog often takes a tongue-in-cheek, light hearted look at products that can only be tested outside a lab and things that really should have been tested in the real world (but weren’t). But in-the-wild testing is truly a major component of many successful new endeavors. And while some of those endeavors seem a bit silly (hello flying car!) others are sombre realities that use technology to give people experiences like nothing they’ve ever encountered. Today’s post is one of the latter cases.
This might be the tech geek in me talking, but there is something beautiful about cutting edge technology being seamlessly integrated into everyday life and new situations (you should have seem my face the first time I encountered a holographic museum!). The recently opened 9/11 Memorial at ground zero in New York City is an amazing example of enlisting technology in new and exciting ways that will help people both navigate the memorial space and truly comprehend the magnitude of the events on September 11, 2001.
CNET gives an amazingly detailed look at what the Memorial has to offer. Here’s a few things I find particularly interesting in terms of in-the-wild testing:
Finding a Name
While the names on some other American memorials are listed alphabetically, those at the 9/11 Memorial are not. Instead, they’re listed in what at first appears to be random order, but is really based on an algorithm that takes into consideration a number of factors including whether they were an employee at a company that lost a lot of people, or whether they were a first responder. As well, victims’ families and friends were able to request grouping certain names adjacent to each other. All of which, of course, makes finding a specific name next to impossible.
That’s where a tool built for several different platforms comes into play. Known as the 9/11 Memorial Guide, it allows visitors — or even those at a computer at home — to search for someone’s name, or for someone who worked for a specific company, was from a specific city, or who was a first responder. …
To bring this functionality to as many visitors as possible, the organization behind the memorial commissioned a mobile app that, among other things, lets visitors search for someone’s name. And because the organization knows that not everyone comes prepared, they’ve installed a Wi-Fi network at the site that should allow iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone users to download the app.