Proxi Accounts: Transforming Proxi Maps into a Destination for Creators and Consumers

Today marks the singular biggest launch in Proxi history: the launch of Proxi accounts.

Today marks the singular biggest launch in Proxi history: the launch of Proxi accounts. This launch has been in the works for over three months, and will fundamentally change the experience for Proxi power users and Proxi map viewers. These changes include:

  • Proxi Login - With a unified experience between sign in and log in, and support for Google and Facebook authentication, Proxi Login is a seamless experience for map creators and their followers.
  • Bookmarking - As part of our effort to make Proxi a place that end viewers want to return to, we have launched the bookmarking features, which allows users to save and rediscover Proxi maps found in the wild.
  • Proxi Backpack - The Proxi Backpack allows any Proxi user to view all of their created and bookmarked maps in one place. This includes any maps they have created before this launch.
  • Editor Access and Security - Before Proxi accounts, editor access to maps was controlled entirely by passing around a secret link. Our new ‘Grant Editor Access’ feature requires email authentication for edit access, and allows owners to easily grant and remove edit access to others.
  • Proxi Branding Revamp - In addition to all of the new features above, we took this opportunity to rethink our colors, icons, and fonts, as well as our overall design strategy.

Proxi Login

We designed Proxi login to be as seamless as possible for both creators and viewers. The sign up and log in experience is identical, with account creation happening upon first authentication with a particular email, and no password ever being required.

We support three different types of login: Google, Facebook, and email authentication. Google and Facebook authentication are in place, requiring only two mouse clicks to log in or create an account. Email authentication is completed by entering your email, navigating to your email account and opening the authentication email, then clicking the secret link.

Once you have created an account for the first time, you can update your profile through our account page at https://map.proxi.co/#account, or delete your account and all associated bookmarks. This page is currently very light, with just a full name field that is not public, but we have big plans to add new functionality to creator and user profiles in next few months.

When your email is authenticated for the first time, an account is created for you that will store profile information and a list of bookmarked maps. Then, we find all existing maps that have been created with your email, we invalidate the secret admin links for those maps (more details in the security section below), and we add your account as the owner of those maps.

Bookmarking

With the creation of accounts, we unlocked the ability to implement a very important feature: bookmarks. With Proxi bookmarks, anyone who finds a Proxi map in the wild, either embedded in a website or linked directly to our site, can click the bookmark link (currently found in the bottom left corner), which will prompt login/signup if no account information is found. Upon successful authentication, the bookmark is added to your Proxi account to be rediscovered upon opening the Proxi website.

Our vision for the future is that users will find a Proxi map in the wild, bookmark it, and open up the Proxi website to view it again. Upon opening Proxi, they will be able to create their own maps, and, in the future, find other public Proxi maps and Proxi creators. We are already in the process of building out additional features in the Proxi website that will make map consumers want to come back again and again when they are looking for local recommendations or making travel plans.

Proxi Backpack

The Proxi Backpack is the most exciting new feature of this launch. It is the new landing page for map.proxi.co, and displays all created or bookmarked maps in one place.

Each created or bookmarked map appears as a card in the backpack, with a label that shows the level of access you have for the map: ownership, editing access, collaboration ability, or simple viewing access. The map card also has information about the map which will allow you to easily find the map you are looking for: name, map center, zoom level, the first three categories, and an up to date screenshot of the map (or an image of the creator’s choice).

The backpack page also includes an easy path to map creation, either with a blank map or any of our extensive map templates.

The Proxi backpack significantly improves the experience for power creators who have multiple maps to manage. The backpack also unlocked the bookmarking experience, as it gives users a place to rediscover their previously bookmarked maps.

Editor Access and Security

In the past, editor access to a map was managed through secret URLs that could be forwarded to any number of users. This method was a significant security risk for high profile users, as an accidental leak or a bad actor could leak edit access to any number of people. Unless the changes were discovered, there would be no way for an owner to tell that access had been leaked, and there was no way to tell who currently had access. The only method of fixing a leaked secret URL was to refresh the admin link, thus requiring the owner to redistribute the secret URL to all authorized users.

Now, for any map owned by an email associated with an account, the secret link is not provided. Instead, the owner can enter the ‘Grant Edit Access’ mode, and add any emails of editors. Upon the submission of a new editor, an email will be sent to that email address with an invitation to edit the map. If the user does not have an account, they will be prompted to create one, ensuring that they are indeed authorized to edit the map. If they do have an account, they will be immediately able to view your map as an editor in their Proxi Backpack. Edit access can also be revoked at any time through the ‘Grant Edit Access’ feature.

Proxi Branding Revamp

When creating the planned list of features for this account launch in April, we quickly realized that we were creating almost as many pages and components as already existed in the website today. We took this opportunity to completely revamp our user experience, creating better designs for all popups and rethinking our colors, icons, and fonts. With accounts launched, we also launched a redesign of Add Point, Share/Embed, and Duplicate Map. We also changed our entire color scheme across all pages, and created reusable variables and components to improve our development speed with new features.

What’s Next?

With the launch of Proxi accounts, we have created endless possibilities for what we can do next. Our focus for the next few months will be to continue to improve creator and viewer experience when landing in Proxi to make them want to continue coming back. We are also focusing hard on frequent feedback from creators, including adding features that unlock huge use cases that were previously unsupported. Keep an eye out for exciting future launches!

We hope you enjoy our new features!

Maddie Clayton

Director of Engineering