11 Sept 2014

TRAVEL: Hidden Places

BROUGHT to life by Washington-based travel website, Expedia, ‘Hidden Places’ is an interactive guide intended to take users to the arguably lesser-known corners of Dalmatia’s Dubrovnik...

What inspired Hidden Places?
We wanted to uncover what is important and unique about Dubrovnik and explore the idea that cities often have amazing places hidden in plain sight. We sent a researcher to Dubrovnik to meet an expat who had lived there for many years so we could find some of the places that locals love but were perhaps off the tourist radar. Once we had the information, we used developers and designers to bring the piece to life and create something we felt reflected the city’s feel.

Why does the site feature animals as explorers? Do they represent employees of Expedia? 
No! They are based on the maritime theme we have given to Dubrovnik such as the octopus as well as historical elements, the lynx and wolf. 

So far you have mapped Dubrovnik. What city will be next, and how encompassing ultimately will the project be?
So far we have only worked on Dubrovnik. However, we may look at a couple of other European cities to broaden the range of information we can give users.

From where do you think the human desire to explore comes?
You may say it is a primal instinct left from the days when man had to travel to find food and supplies – or it could be because we are getting bored with our daily lives and want to experience different countries and interact with people from other countries, backgrounds and understandings.

Are you not concerned that by revealing something formerly hidden to the masses, it loses a sense of uniqueness?
Not at all. Visiting a place the first time will always be unique; it does not matter how many people have seen a place before, it is the individual’s feeling at that point that makes it unique.

What is one of the most interesting facts the team unearthed?
At the dungeon in the Rector’s Palace you can still find carvings that prisoners etched into the cell walls centuries ago.

Do you see the interactive map as a new form of travel writing?
Not really because travel writing is a personal form of writing because it includes a traveller’s feelings and experiences towards their journey which can be entirely different from person to person. The map shows where users can start their journey and gives an overview of the history behind the different elements.

Is Hidden Places available as a mobile phone App?
Although not available as an app, Hidden Places is optimised to work on mobile devices from phones to tablets.

Finally, sum Hidden Places up in three words... 
Fun, informative, and easy (to use)...