Credit Card Interactive Flash Map – What Do You Think?

If you’ve been a longtime reader of Credit Card Forum (thanks for that, by the way!) you will know that the site’s design and features haven’t changed for a very long time. Yes, I know it’s looking a little bit dated these days. The reason we’ve been holding off on an overhaul is because we were waiting for this forum’s software to be updated. You see, Credit Card Forum runs on vBulletin and the last major release (version 3.0) was all the way back in 2004! Finally in December 2009, they released version 4.0… so now it’s time to start thinking about giving CCF a facelift, along with a few new features.

What’s planned?
For starters, the update will allow for a more aesthetically pleasing design. We aren’t planning anything fancy, but rather a more simple, cleaner layout. The new version of software will also allow us to incorporate features which weren’t possible in the past; third party widgets, enhanced content options, forum guest commenting, and more. One of those features, which I would love to get your feedback on, is an interactive map of the USA for credit cards. Let me explain…

It’s called a clickable flash map…
Basically, I was trying to think of the most user friendly way to collect and present certain credit card information, such as state-by-state debt and interest rate statistics. Coincidentally, my friend Chris just came out with his own flash USA map. What is that you ask? Well, it’s a flash-powered United States interactive map. Here’s a screenshot to help give you a better idea what I’m talking about:

flash map

I have a kindergarten skill level when it comes to Macromedia Flash, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tackle this alone. When Chris told me “no flash knowledge” was required for it, I was skeptical to say the least.  But I gave it a test drive this weekend and sure enough, he was not pulling my leg… this flash map lets me fully customize the content through the XML file.

Great, I now have a flash map platform I can handle… I can cross that off my to-do list. Now, it’s just a matter of deciding exactly what type of content will be displayed. This is where we need your help.

My idea…
I was thinking of collecting credit card data for each state and displaying it in the flash US map. This data could be obtained from one of the following sources:

Public Data: The Federal Reserve Bank regularly publishes figures on revolving debt, such as credit cards. However I would be more excited to use data from the 2010 census. A small percentage of households are receiving extended forms, which include questions about credit and debt. This source would almost certainly be the most accurate, since the sample pool is far larger than any other non-government poll.

Our Own Polls: If I’m feeling really adventurous (and Nicole, our assistant programmer, is too) then we may be able to put together our own poll; visitors would select the state they live in from the flash map and be taken to a very brief multiple choice survey. Once there, they would select ranges for their current credit card debt and interest rates. This data would be presented collectively; averages would be displayed under each state on the clickable flash map.

Your idea…
Would this be a feature you would like to see on Credit Card Forum? We would love to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions.

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Sounds like a good idea. Have you considered making a credit card comparison tool too?