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I'm designing an iPhone app which gives users the option to filter by neighborhoods and I'm considering giving users the option to select neighborhoods from a list as well as by tapping on neighborhood polygons on a map. Is one approach better than the other?

Additionally, how can I make the list usable and not overly long (hence requiring tons of scrolling), and how can I make the map useable so people understand how to use it and can navigate around it quickly (e.g. pinch-to-zoom, single-tap to select, double-tap to zoom, etc.)?

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Your question is overly broad. Please restrict it to a specific question so that it isn't a "how do I design ..." type question. –  JohnGB Feb 5 '13 at 5:42
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Also be more specific in what kind of information you are going to display in list? –  Serg Feb 5 '13 at 8:00

2 Answers 2

As an alternative to clicking a map, I'd suggest that instead of a list of neighbourhoods you use a input field.

This eliminates the problems of potentially overly long lists. Additionally, you can add really many area names, even overlapping. I.e. if someone lives in a place which could be both listed in neighbourhood a, b as well as district c, you can add all three terms and a user trying to find the place would have better chances of finding it that from a drop down list.

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Neighborhoods are an imprecise taxonomy for spatial areas. Trying to lay them out on a map might frustrate users who do not identify their location with the boundaries that you have chosen. Better to gather location info from the device, or to allow people to choose their neighborhood from a list, or type in a free form text box, preferably with autocomplete of previously entered neighborhoods.

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