Friday, August 26, 2011
Map Usability Fail Series: #3 Creating Custom Map Controls
Another way to lose maximum usability with your map is to create your own map controls such as zoom and map type toggles. It has taken years for the average consumer to feel comfortable with the standard Bing and Google map controls. Users are confronted with these controls every day on various sites and have become very comfortable with their use and understand the functionality that comes along with them.
It is very tempting to create your own. It adds branding to your site and gives a different feel from all of the other maps that are out there. It is even pretty easy to do.
Beware of this temptation; while it is cool, it is not always your best option. The further you deviate from the standard look and feel the more difficult it is for the average consumer to work with your map. Putting the time that you spend creating a zoom bar or aerial buttons can be well spent on other portions or your app.
If you must create your own my advice is to stay as close as you can to what Bing and Google has to offer. Put these controls in the same area that you would find them on a standard map control. This is not a hard and fast rule but one to keep in mind during development.
Usability is key for the consumer to get the most out of your map.
Map Usability Fail Series: #1 Zoom To Rectangle
Map Usability Fail Series: #2 Map Widget Hoarding
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