Friday, May 27, 2005

New changes to Percevia

About a week ago I posted a message to a number of birding newsgroups about some changes we made to Percevia, our bird ID engine

That message generated dozens of replies from the lists, almost all positive, for which I am most grateful.

Who would have thought a kindergarten teacher would present the most obvious flaw in the program? She pointed out that the Match window that shows the birds you have found was hidden away at the side of the search page, so she did not notice that it was being updated! We took her observations and several other’s from this list and revamped the interface again. The changes we made might seem subtle but I believe that they make a huge difference in the usability of the program, and make it more suitable to young people who are not so savvy of internet applications, yet who see things we as adults miss. Who was it that said youth is wasted on the young?

Changes we made from list feedback:

o Moved the match window to the top of the browser.

o Added a history display at the top of the attribute window so you can see your progress in searching.

o Put the QuickSearch box at the top of the screen in the banner area. Here you can enter the name of any bird in the database and the system will attempt to autocomplete the name of the bird you are looking for. Click on that name and the species account page opens. We are using a technique called asynchronous client side access, which is something that Google has pioneered. It allows instant responses to your typing without having to wait for the server to respond. Give it a try and you will see what I mean.

o Added a drop down list so you can switch to a different database to search (we have several).

o Made the point to start more obvious (Begin Here – Select an Attribute.

And here are some of the prior developments:

o Side by side Comparison Grid: Example of four birds:

o Online tutorial/help:

o Blog:

Thanks to everyone here for the continuing support. If there is any thing else you want me to change just send me an email directly.


Mitchell Waite
Sausalito, California


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