In uber and in cabify, when you want to specify a location, you can either type or place the pin in the location for a finer selection.

However, the "place a pin" action happens by moving the map. The pin stays in the center of the screen.

Why is this so? How does it compare to 'click on the new position'?

  • 1
    Probably for accuracy, otherwise if you had to tap in a very specific location you would need to center the area in large zoom and after zoom in to tap accurately.
    – Alvaro
    May 17, 2017 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


Touch controls on small screens have two fundamental problems:

  1. Your finger is large, and tapping with fine accuracy is basically impossible.
  2. Your finger covers what you're trying to tap on.

Trying to tap accurately on a map is going to be a terrible user experience. Dragging the map under a fixed pin is a little counterintuitive at first, but provides much greater control once figured out. And it is at least very discoverable, and might be considered idiomatic by now.

  • Sounds like you kind of contradicted yourself with "a little counterintuitive at first" and "it is...very discoverable", but +1 for stating the problems that this interaction solves. May 17, 2017 at 14:51
  • It's not a contradiction. Users are likely to try to drag the pin at first and be surprised that the map moves instead, but then they figure it out.
    – MattPutnam
    May 17, 2017 at 14:58
  • Oh, my first attempt at moving a pin would be to tap a new location. After all, the interface we're describing is skeuomorphic. The way to move a physical pin on a map is to pick it up and place it somewhere else--not to slide the map! The most similar digital equivalent of pressing a pin into a new location on a map would be a tap. I think it's important to teach people the interface uses an arguably counterintuitive interaction rather than assume it will be discovered by accident. Perhaps on a map-tap event, provide a hint instructing to slide the map instead. May 17, 2017 at 15:47
  • Well, to move a pin you also don't tap on the new location. If we want to be that pedantic, then the metaphor is always going to be broken. Dragging is the closest available analog to picking it up and moving it to a new place.
    – MattPutnam
    May 17, 2017 at 19:23

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