Sometimes, a game isn’t picking up the latest release on whatever platform you prefer. Sometimes, it’s making a game out of whatever you have handy.
In my case, it’s a cool and apparently new thing with Zappos.com a map. And not just any map, a map that shows where shoes are being bought from them in real time. That’s about all it does.
And yet, it’s a mesmerizing glimpse of what people are doing as things happen. Each little item shows up in a cute little bubble. You click on the bubble and are whisked off to the main website, where you get all the details about the make and model of that item. Maybe you have been looking for a cute pair of shoes for a while (and who amongst us has not?) and none of your searches has found one. Suddenly, you’re looking at this map and there it is! Bought by someone in Duluth! With a couple of clicks, you can get a pair of these shoes shipped to your house, too!
A potential downside is that you can zoom in to see a much closer view of where the item is going. So, say you see a cute pair of shoes going to Duluth, you can zoom in to see approximately what street it’s going to. On the other hand, if you’re scrolled all that way in and someone in Miami buys shoes, the map will move you to show you that location instead.
I like watching the shoe trends. It’s a game to me. Guess who just bought those Crocs in Puerto Rico! What’s the story behind those beribboned pumps in Detroit? Why are so many running shoes bought in the same minute, followed by an absolute shower of sandals?
That’s one of the gifts of being a designer: everything is a game with a story. The person on the bus each day who seems upset. The store clerk who’s overly attentive. A crying baby in an airplane. Your mind fills in a ficticious reason for their behavior and then solves their problems by moving blocks, dropping things on their head or having a portal to a new world open beneath their feet.
Huh. Someone just bought a pair of white sandals while in the ocean off Liberia. I’ll bet they have a cool story.