The Best Website: LA Time's Mapping Project
The coolest website: Los Angeles Time's Neighborhood Mapping Project
The Los Angeles Times' neighborhood mapping project provides the most accurate portrayal of LA neighborhoods than I have ever seen. It gives both readers and journalists a consistent means to reference exactly where events happen, whether it occurred in Van Nuys or in North Hollywood.
From a UX perspective, the site has 3 strengths. First, the content is unique, surprising and thought-provoking. I spent hours looking at the data and the mappings. Second, the information architecture site is simple and predictable. The navigation menu properly accommodates and arranges information which allows the users to comfortably find, browse and skip choices. Lastly, the site focuses on a motif -- to provide a tool that publishes data using a geospatial database for anyone and everyone. The amount of quality content on here is astounding and the site has even been configured so that even users with older computers and browsers can access it.