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College of Design

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Field Trips - Not just for kids!

This past weekend was a lot of fun. I got to see my parents for the first time in a few months on Friday. It was nice seeing them of course, but getting free meals and stocked up on a few grocery items is always nice too.

On Saturday, a few friends and I went to the Field Trip event in NE Minneapolis. If you haven't heard about it, Field Trip is a new app that shows you unique and interesting things around your current location. There were six Field Trip Days organized around the U.S. on September 29th. Apparently, citizens of Minneapolis were noted to be early adopters of new technology and NE Minneapolis had enough unique and interesting stuff for them to pick us as one of the 6 cities. The few friends I went with had heard about the event last minute and didn't know exactly what it was all about, but the event was free and started at the bar right behind my friend's house. We picked up some maps, a free t-shirt, and a few other goodies before jumping on our bikes. We spent the afternoon visiting everything from oddities like a giant urinal to interesting art studios strategically cluttered with found object art. Check out a few pictures throughout the rest of the post.


The actual Field Trip phone application turned out to be kind of a disappointment, but that didn't stop us from finding cool stuff. One problem was that it was currently only built for Android. Android is great, but building only for Android alienates at about half of the smartphone audience who can't use the application. I heard a lot of disappointed people chatting in the sign-up line. Alas, a friend loaded up the application on his phone expecting it to show us all of the places on our paper map, but had a lot of trouble finding them. The application was a little confusing and worst of all, there wasn't even a search bar - talk about a poor user experience! We ditched the app completely and ended up just using the paper map. I later found out that the entire event and application was built and put on by Google. I would have expected the technology built by Google to have a better user experience, but I guess a good old-fashioned paper map is sometimes the way to go!


All technology issues aside, the event was a lot of fun. If you want to find other cool local events going on daily in the Twin Cities my favorite places to look are Eventbrite and City Pages.

Sean M.
Graphic Design