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I am developing a small web based app that will scan QR codes and generate lists of local businesses such as hotels, restaurants etc.

The list can be rendered as, well, a list or as a series of pins on a map. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

My Question Do any of you have experience of this kind of application and have you observed which view tends to be the more useful? (This is important because there will have to be a first screen users are directed too and it will likely be one of these views...)

list view:

list view

map view:

map view

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On our mobile app the list view does better than the map view. Many people aren't map oriented and have trouble zooming in to click on a pin to figure out what it is and if they want to go there. More often people want to sort and filter their list, find a place, and then confirm the location on a map. Additionally, Map oriented people are generally more likely to look for and find the map in our experience.

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this is interesting and would reflect why McDonalds and some other apps defaulting to the map view... – colmcq Aug 30 '11 at 13:53

I find a list view with the closest locations first to be more helpful; as you can see your second example is extremely crowded (a search for McDonalds is an extreme example granted) and it is much harder to judge the distance between locations, it might involve zooming and paning around...but you can cut that all out with a list.

With the list you can also give elaborative details at a glance, and only one interaction is needed: Scrolling. Everyone is familiar with scrolling, it's about as easy as can be. Manipulating maps isn't.

As a side note, a list view has room to show what can be, in my opinion, one of the most important bits of info about a business: whether they're closed at this moment. Google maps has saved me several times by showing me very plainly that the business I searched for is closed before I drove out to it.

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