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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

VisitorVille 3D is Here

Oh my. I’m having fun. In the background here you can hear door bells ringing, taxis and buses driving, and a monotone lady voice reading search terms to me. And on my screen is a city, in full 3D, in which I can fly around, zoom in and out, and watch citizens take strolls. What’s that, you may ask? It’s web statistics software VisitorVille displaying my blog as a city... and now it’s available in a 3D version as well (the 2D version continues to peacefully co-exist with the 3D variant, and in terms of features, only the visuals are different in the two).

What did I have to do to get it running? First of all, I’m happy to say I own the software (yes, it costs something), so I was eligible for an update as well. Now all I had to do is insert a small JavaScript tracking code into my pages. The rest will be done by the desktop software running on my computer. There are a whole bunch of statistics like any other stats software has (traffic summary, visitors per day and so on) plus a whole lot of “visuals” which to my knowledge no other software has.

Here are some screenshots that best display what VisitorVille 3D is all about:

My blog; in the bottom left is a navigational aid. You can also move with the mouse and the keyboard using the letters “W”, “A”, “S” and “D”. I grouped every month in the blog archive to be one building. The higher the building, the more popular the page or group of pages are.

The Google bus arrives whenever a visitor searched Google and found this blog. The search terms will be announced to you by a female voice (like “Search term: Google Base”). In VisitorVille, you can listen to your traffic – every event has its own sound.

A blog visitor is walking around. His IP is written on his head in yellow letters.

A taxi – this means a visitor is going from one page to another in my blog.

A visitor from the UK is nearing the forum... I could check his passport to find out which link brought him here (I could also start a live chat with him).

The Google bus is driving towards the July 2005 archive here. Sometimes, it brings a group of visitors at once. If you want to add other referrers, you can (I have my own Slashdot bus, just in case!).

An ambulance is rushing by (there’s nothing in the help for “ambulance” so I actually don’t know what’s happening!)

Home sweet home! (From inside.)

When you’re lucky, you’ll also see a helicopter (bringing your “VIPs”, the very important IPs), a fire truck, a police car, or an armored car.

My only gripes is that it seems to be raining here soon (a cloudy view), and I wish there would be more fun, maybe even futuristic things around – bridges between those houses that have high visitor exchange, traffic lights, trees, forums as parks, or why not display images taken from visited pages as ad billboards on the respective buildings to help recognition. Also, VisitorVille slows loading the site at the moment (it displays “loading” in the browser status bar for seconds), though I hope the helpful mayor Robert may fix this. But already, VisitorVille with the new 3D version continues the tradition of being the most creative, most fun, and often most intuitive statistics software around.


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