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I am developing a taxi booking app. When the cab driver gets a list of his rides, he needs to see all the rides on a google map. I am trying to balance the amount of code to write vs the look and feel. I dont want to have extreme's in both (since time to market is as important). Choice I have

  • Obvious choice that come to mind is, Point A to Point B and directions. So multiple directions for multiple rides he can choose from to pickup. The con in this approach is, just too much code. And I dont really need directions. Its kinda overkill. Example here.
  • The other choice that comes to mind is, lines between start and end points, but look how ugly this looks here.

I am thinking of the following (a no ux brain, software developer)

  • Just place markers with A1 B1, A2 B2. The con in this is the cab driver will need to look for B1 after finding A1, or the other way around. Bad idea.
  • Draw a arc between A and B points, better than a line.
  • Traverse through like a carousel between all the rides with a 2 second delay.

Any more ideas that I can consider ?

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1 Answer 1

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It sounds like the drivers would be likely to receive a large number of routes that would need to be displayed. Therefore, I understand your concern about graphing them all together. However, you can make this look good and not so overwhelming. For example, matching start and end points, like your A1, B1, A2, B2 idea, using bright/bold/dark colors, and then drawing the line or route in between using a lighter tint of the color to avoid cluttering the view.

This still presents two questions: Would they rather just see lines in between vs. routes? And do they need to see all of the routes at once on the same graph?

First, would they rather see lines in between vs. routes? My problem with lines or arcs is that it shows a route that the drivers can't take. People know they can't drive thought blocks and houses, so seeing a line that doesn't follow the streets is confusing and misleading. However, like you said, they don't need to see the directions, and they could obviously take a different route between a start and end point (although they are likely to take the fastest, so showing that route would probably be accurate most of the time). I think showing the directions allows the drivers to best visualize each route. I really like how the Google maps app presents their alternate routes - it uses the lighter colors like I mentioned earlier to draw the focus to the selected route and the routes are named using one major difference in the directions.

Next, do they need to see all of the routes at once on the same graph? What is the purpose of seeing all of the routes? Does it allow them to optimize their route? Although I doubt that they can pick multiple people up on the way or choose the order that they will be completing the rides. Are they picking their next route out of ones in the area? If that is the case, then I think you would want to highlight ones whose starting point is closest to the driver's current location. If the driver has to complete all of these routes in a given order, then I don't think there is any reason to show them all on one graph. Show them on separate screens in order with next/previous navigation buttons (I am leaning towards just having a next button so they can hit it when they're done with their current route, but I could see if they are curious about their next route). Also include the number of the current screen, like 2/18, if the purpose of showing them all on one map is so they can get an idea of how many they need to complete. I don't think there is any reason to have this on a timed carousel. Let them peruse at their own speed or as they are finishing one and going on to the next. If this is an idea to make it hands-free, then I don't think a driver should be looking at the screen for the number of routes * 2 seconds while they're driving.

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thanks for your response. I just want to correct 1 assumption you have made. I am assuming that the driver does not want to see the routes, all he needs to see is his list of rides (more than 1 customer) who he can choose from to accept the booking. –  Siddharth Dec 11 '12 at 9:10
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@Siddharth thanks for the clarification. Is he accepting each of the routes on his schedule for the whole day or just choosing his next route? –  sacohe Dec 11 '12 at 9:14
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ahh I think your previous comment answers my question. In this case, the interface becomes very easy as you can show his current location, highlight the starting point(s) that are closest to him, and show their destinations in a similar color (so he can judge how long they are, where they go, etc.), and show some sort of line or route between those points. Then, even though there are a lot of locations drawn on the same map, only a few are highlighted, like in the example I linked to. –  sacohe Dec 11 '12 at 9:16
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The good thing about plotting them all on the same graph is then they can compare the routes. If you think they don't need or want to compare them, then separate graphs would be fine, but don't put them on a timer unless you have a good reason to. Time is money and they don't want to wait for all of the routes to scroll by. Maybe you could give them filter options, like "Closest", "Shortest", "Longest", and "Preferred Locations" so they can only view routes they are interested in. –  sacohe Dec 11 '12 at 9:36
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Its been a pleasure discussing this with you. Thanks. Dont mind if I come back with more thoughts. –  Siddharth Dec 11 '12 at 9:48

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