Monkey Do

Edible City Updates

We’ve been busy working on a nice little set of updates for Edible City and we’ve finally managed to roll them out! We’re hoping this new version can make the site even more useful and usable to hungry people in New York City.

Probably the most interesting new feature is the new data presented by the site. The biggest of these is the addition of Markets data set. Both NYC Greenmarkets and the many independent markets and fleas that are popping up are great places to sample indie food vendors and acquire great locally produced food to eat at home. Greenmarket schedules differ by market and season, and Edible City can help you find nearby markets that are open where and when you need one. Markets have a new icon, a little market stall, so they stand out from the trucks.

The second batch of new data comes in the addition of the Menu tab on the Food Truck information panes. We’re integrating menus into the site so that users can get an idea of what each truck serves without having to leave the site. These are being integrated on a per-truck basis, so we’ll be adding more and more menus throughout the summer.

The third piece of data added to the site is the local weather report. This may seem trivial, but the fact is that many trucks can change their schedule without notice in the event of extreme weather (as this spring has shown) and so a report of rain means that users will know to pay more attention to the list of recent tweets in the truck information panes.

Finally, we’ve also added a note to the truck information panes that tells you whether you can call ahead to order, so you can cut down on time in lines.

We’ve put a lot of effort into the user experience for Edible City, and now we have also refined the appearance of the site. We’ve added texture and dimension to the utility bar at the bottom of the page, enlarging it somewhat so that the logo feels more grounded.

We’ve also replaced the drop-down select for the trucks list with a custom list. This allowed us to improve the basic usability, and add indicators as to whether the trucks in the list are currently on the map. On the iPad, the list remains a select element because of the way it handles scrolling.

Recently, we added Spots, which gives us the ability to directly link to spots around the city that we want to highlight, such as neighborhoods or special events.

We’ve also put a fair amount of time into fixing bugs in the site, some of which affected the visibility of tweets and truck details. As well, we’ve improved the interaction between the various types of panels, so that the flow between panels is much smoother.

Finally, a nerdy note on the code: we’ve restructured the style sheets in line with the principle of 320 & Up, a mobile-first initiative. This means the styles are ordered for smaller screens first, with styles for larger screens added later via media queries. In our testing this has improved loading on mobile devices, because the HTML can be rendered more quickly.

We’ll be continuing to add more data to our system throughout the summer, as well as work on the codebase to improve the user experience. Enjoy!