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Preferred interaction mode for geographic lookup?
figment88




msg:1582627
 6:57 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm programming a geograpgic look-up that I'm going to use to let users find different things close to them such as widget stores.

Basically a user will enter a zip code and then I'll run a SQL query to find the nearby stores.

My question is should I

A) let the user select a radius (2, 5, 10, 25 miles) and then display all of the stores within that radius, or

B) grab the closest 20 (or some number) stores and then give the user the option to expand the search, or

C) something else

 

pageoneresults




msg:1582628
 4:03 am on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

A) let the user select a radius (2, 5, 10, 25 miles) and then display all of the stores within that radius, or

Yes, that would be an option and one that I'm currently using which works just fine.

B) grab the closest 20 (or some number) stores and then give the user the option to expand the search.

A and B are going to overlap in most instances. The results are going to be usually displayed with the closest location (first) to the entered zip code.

Best thing to do is keep it simple. Advanced searches are rarely used. If they are used frequently, then that means you may want to take a look at the front end to see if the default results are not what they should be. For instance, in a zip code search, the simplest method would be for them to first enter their zip and then click search. The results would be ordered to show the closest locations first.

Adding the radius feature brings another level of refining their search but if you do this by default, you can eliminate that extra step for them. Just have them enter their zip and off they go. ;)

P.S. I've had to answer more questions from users concerning the radius search that I'm about ready to elminate it and do your Plan B. :)

figment88




msg:1582629
 6:54 pm on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults thanks for the reply. I think in general the B option should be easier, but not by that much. With the A option, there would be a default radius such as 10 miles pre-selected, then people could just enter there zip and clikc 'search.'

I've given this more thought, and have been starting to think that maybe what people are searching for influnces wether to give them search within a radius or give them the closests ones. I think it might have to with the interchangability of the result set.

For example, if someone wants a Slurpee they can get it at any 7-11 store, so just showing them the closest five stores might be best.

If someone wants to get dinner, restaurants are all very different, and some people would be willing to drive further than others for a better fit, so they should have recourse to a radius search.

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