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Embedding a mapping service like Google Maps into a website is pretty easy (i.e. using their API, which has recently been updated for mobile performance).

What are the most important UX considerations when wire-framing this implementation on a contact-page, with the intent of using them to locate a business?

I have yet to find a comprehensive guide, but have come up with:

  • Decide whether to use static (image) or dynamic (zoomable) maps.
  • For dynamic, don't fill the screen either horizontally or vertically, otherwise it'll be difficult to scroll (accidental zooming).
  • If using static, make them clickable and lead to dynamic.

What else is there? Any research (if it exists), case studies, or your experience would be useful.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

For a number of reasons outlined by Brad Frost here I would vote for 'static, and clickable' to launch the default map app on the mobile device.

Edit to provide more detail:

Brad Frost proposes conditional loading to serve up the best map in the right context. Embed the map if the screensize is appropriate, otherwise serve up a static image which links to the interactive map. His reasons to avoid embedding the map on small mobile screens are:

  1. Cramped screen space: forcing users to interact with a map in a small viewport can be a frustrating experience.

  2. Frame Inception: an iframe within a page, within a browser, within a mobile OS. Too many experience layers.

  3. Native experience is better: many (apparently not iOS6) mobile OSs will intercept a link to a google map and launch the default (and more robust) mapping app.

  4. Performance Overhead: lots of scripts and images are needed to support an embedded map.

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Can you outline the reasons and cite that article as the source, rather than requiring anyone reading this answer to have to go off and do so themselves? If that link goes down then this answer would serve no benefit. Really, the key to bear in mind is that StackExchange sites are a repository for answers (not for links to other websites where people can find the answers). –  JonW Jan 4 '13 at 14:51
    
Brad Frost mentions that, "mobile operating systems (notably iOS and Android) intercept links to Google Maps and open the device’s native mapping application instead" — that's sadly, no longer true in iOS 6. –  Baumr Jan 4 '13 at 14:57

Don't forget to take the location and audience into consideration.

Is the location reached from two or more popular starting points? Does your audience regularly use native map applications on their mobile device?

Precede the map with some simplified, locally relevant directions.

From the I-10 Freeway South

  1. Take Shea Blvd. Exit
  2. Right on Tatum Blvd (2 miles)
  3. We are just after Doubletree on the southwest corner - look for our big red sign.
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Good point. There are many mobile visitors (who could likely benefit from this). –  Baumr Jan 4 '13 at 19:40

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