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November 29, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Rockefeller Center map

RockcenterRockefeller Center is a major tourist destination here in New York City. But click "Directions" on the website and you'll see two problems:

1. The map is light-grey-on-white-background. You can hardly see it, like they don't want to show you the map!

2. The map is oriented with north pointing to the right, which makes absolutely no sense...


Having north pointing to the right would at least be excusable if they had a compass rose explicitly stating that. They don't even have that, though!

Posted by: codeman38 at November 29, 2004 01:18 AM

Borken. Shame.

Posted by: dusoft at November 29, 2004 06:21 AM

You think that's all that's broken about it? Check this out:

This site requires a minimum of Flash 6.0 for viewing.

Simply click here to download the latest Flash plugin.

Death's too good for some people, I say.

Posted by: Nick Moffitt at November 29, 2004 10:26 AM

Not only is it a Flash site, it's a total waste of Flash---since it barely uses any animation whatsoever.

And since it's Flash, all the text is in an image, so you can't cut and paste it easily, read it you have a high resolution screen, nor will anyone who is visually impaired hear it via a screen reader.

But if you can see the map and read the text, you will notice it does not even show you WHERE Rockefeller center is located! No big star, no dark box, nothing.

Great find!

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at November 29, 2004 11:42 AM

Oh this one is so bad.

Because the text can't be copied, I can't email the directions to anyone, or copy to a text editor to print out. And because I can't link to the map, I can't email anyone a link to it!

And I have one to add: clicking the browser back button once while on the home page RELOADS THE PAGE! I have to click it twice, with the right timing, to leave the site (which I did in a hurry).

Posted by: Michael Spina at November 29, 2004 11:52 AM

The map is probably like that to fit the layout of the page. Gr.

Posted by: Reed at November 29, 2004 03:29 PM

A map layout that doesn't have north at the top is excusable if you have limited media like a paper brochure or something but on a website there is no justification.

Posted by: Maurs at November 29, 2004 05:28 PM

If you look closely, these aren't even directions, *OR* a map. The whole map is "Rockerfeller Center", since it supposedly stretches from 5th to 7th, and 47th to 51st... there's no indication of how to get there, other than a "short walk from Times Square" and a general street location, though no distinct address. So, not only is the map and the site (flash, no c&p, etc) broken, but so is the title claiming that you'll get directions.

Posted by: anitsirK at November 29, 2004 05:39 PM

Oh, wait.. I see the directions on the side, now.. still no map of how it fits into the bigger picture of NYC, though I suppose if you were going to NY, NY, you'd have a general idea of where 'downtown' was. :P Very broken.

Posted by: anitsirK at November 29, 2004 05:41 PM

Not only that, but if you mentally translate the map so that north is up, the street names are upside down!

Posted by: Mike at December 7, 2004 04:26 PM

This is one of the most appalling maps and set of directions I've ever seen. I'm particularly aware of the deficiencies because I had offices in various Rockefeller Center bldgs for more than 10 years.

Forget the fact that it doesn't provide a mouse rollover feature to visually highlight the location of any of the particular builidngs or features that are listed to the left of the map. It doesn't even show the location of any of the features or attractions a tourist might be most interested in knowing about (such as the locations of the various subway entrances, the NBC studios, the skating rink, etc, etc.) with the sole exception of Radio City Music Hall (misleadingly referred to simply as "Radio City").

Perhaps the biggest howler is the subway direction for those of you coming to Rock Center on the 1 or the 9 subway lines. It instructs you to get off at the 50th Street Station and then "Walk east to Fifth Avenue to Rocefeller Center." Dude, once you've walked all the way east to Fifth Avenue, you've already walked PAST Rockefeller Center!

I can't tell you how many times I've had tourists approach me asking for directions to Rockefeller Center and I've had to simply tell them "You're already there!" This map certainly doesn't help matters.


Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2004 02:10 AM

You know a map's bad when it not only doesn't help you, but it may actually *confuse* you!! that's horrible.

Posted by: bob at January 5, 2005 03:50 PM

Even more appauling than the function of the map or lack thereof is the gross innacuracy. Its not to say that you would get lost once you get there, but the three buildings to the top (west of 6th avenue) do NOT stretch to 7th avenue in reality. And for that matter neither does the center itself which does include these three Abramovitz buildings

Posted by: CJ War at February 15, 2005 11:30 PM

If you look at the overall shape of the map, the area forms the number "1". It is a subliminal message that Rockefeller Center is Number One.

Posted by: T Clark at February 16, 2005 06:58 PM

Obviously if they oriented the map to north the deginer would have thrown a fit trying to put labels on the streets and preserve his "white-space".

It really is quite logical if you don't care about communicating.

Posted by: Bob at April 29, 2005 09:27 AM

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