iSepta: or “How NOT to have your web-service suck”.

iSepta to SEPTA comparison. Image courtesy of Philebrity.comFantastic interview on Philebrity (it’s a great Philly-based destination, don’tchaknow). When people get together to create something cool, it’s great. When it really solves a “problem”, that’s even better. But when it can actually make my life SUCK less? That’s just pure gold.

Yesterday, three developers went public with an interactive SEPTA route planner designed for mobile phones. I couldn’t take an objective outlook if I tried, and neither could anyone who’s ever struggled with the HTML at iSepta hath been crowned the new transit king.

Never mind that it took an amateur developer (that is, unpaid for their services) to create the product, or that they did it in the same amount of time that it probably took someone at SEPTA to design that kaleidoscopic means-of-transportation nightmare JPEG on their front page. What is really impressive is how functional iSepta is—begging us to wonder: Could a public utility ever be this organized on their own?

I take the train to work, and I love being in the city. What I HATE about being in the city (now that I live outside of it), is that regional rail schedules are so hard to access on my nifty neato-keen new phone. DO I have 10 minutes to make the next train, or 40 minutes? When is the LAST train out tonight? Why should that be so HARD to discover?

That is exactly the kind of interview I hope I give, if I’m ever in that situation. It’s a great example of how a simple idea, executed well, can seem so… well, obvious in retrospect. And the message is exactly what it should be: don’t just gripe, make it better. More of us should be doing just that.

(Nod to Alex for the discovery)