Back to’s 1st Birthday

It was one year ago today that we launched the current version of We are admittedly still proud of our website as it took a large group of IMA staff six months of dedicated work to create what you see today. In a blog post, we introduced the world to the new set of features of the site. Today, we thought we would take a brief look back at those features and see what worked and what needed a little adjusting throughout the year.

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Going Mobile

Web designers know that the industry involves plenty of change, and continuous adaption and development of skills is required in order to stay up to date. In the past few years, one of the biggest areas of change has been the amount of web-savvy users who are accessing their favorite sites via phones and mobile devices. (via smashingmagazine)

To coincide with the opening of 100 Acres, we are releasing a greatly enhanced mobile version of our site, with more content accessible from mobile phones. Anyone with a modern phone using Webkit (iPhone, Android, Palm Pre, etc.) can explore the IMA online by visiting right from their device.

The cool thing is, our website automatically detects if you are on a mobile phone,  and you will be sent to the mobile version of the site. You’ll have quick access to upcoming events and general visitor information (hours, directions). You can also check out our twitter, facebook, flickr, and videos.

We’re excited to also release a rich experience in the 100 Acres section of the mobile site. In order to provide trail maps we turned to OpenStreetMap, which we like to describe as the “Wikipedia of maps”. Anyone can contribute and edit map data. You can draw new features directly on maps or upload GPS trails from a device. On our site you can toggle between trail maps provided by OpenStreetMaps or satellite imagery provided by Google. The map is also aware of your geolocation, and will place a blue dot exactly where you are in the park.

OpenStreetMap: The "Wikipedia of maps".

We are going to provide a rich mix of art and nature tour stops to give visitors access to videos, photos and text for specific locations in the park. We plan on updating nature stops to highlight when certain plants are in bloom and to show you where we see some of our furry friends.

100 Acres mobile landing page.

Toggle between satellite and trail maps.

Interactive tour stops for works of art and nature.

In the series of screen shots below you can see how to bookmark the IMA mobile web site on an iPhone to make it look and feel like a native application.

Press the "+" to add the site to your home screen.

Select "Add to Home Screen"

The site now acts like an app.

Mobile view of

Don’t forget to take some time to look up from your phones when in 100 Acres!


TAP Analytics

Auto-rotate proved more confusing than anything else

Yes, the image above is supposed to be confusing. It’s one of the lessons learned from collecting feedback and tracking events on the TAP iPod tour for Sacred Spain. Patrons didn’t quite realize that as they interacted with the tour, we were secretly shooting off messages to a server.  We tracked everything from incorrect codes to device rotations.  All in all we collected over a quarter million events.  Almost half of those events were rotations of the application layout.  We heard back from people that they were “catching up with the rotations”.  Based on this we have decided to flat remove any rotation from the next tour. Everything will be in portrait mode with the exception of video playback.

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What’s in a Web Site: Collections Search

Now that the new IMA web site is live, we want to take time to introduce you to some new features over the next few weeks.  Rob gave a behind the scenes look at many of these features last week, but we’ll be going into more detail.

First up, collections search.

Search is available on every page on the site.

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10,000 Commits

The IMA software developers have been using revision control software to manage their code for some time now (as all good developers should).  Think of it like Time Machine for your Mac.  We save (a.k.a commit) our code at many points in time so we can roll back to any of those points later if needed.  Recently we rolled over 10,000 commits which got me wondering what’s happened during that time.  I stumbled across some tools a while back that can visualize these software repositories.  One of the cooler of the bunch was gource.  Our full software tree is far too large  to follow so I thought I would take a look at how the ArtBabble code base has evolved since we started working on it in April of 2008.  The result was pretty cool:

Below is the list of who you see in order of appearance.


About Charlie

Job Title: Director of IMA Lab

Interests: Anything outdoors (golf, fishing, etc.)

Favorite Movies: Maverick, Lord of the Rings III

Favorite Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bare Naked Ladies, anything of the alternative variety

Favorite Food: Did it moo?

Pets: a dog named Sadie and an ungrateful cat

Something you should know about me: I have a habit of clinging to a single habit only to move on to another habit thereafter

Charles has written 20 articles for us.