I have web where content depends a lot on users geolocation. So it would be really nice to use W3C Geolocation API. When I do that, user is asked by browser authorization bar whether allow geolocation or not. I am fine with this authorization - question is, when to ask for it.

I see 2 options:

  1. ask for geolocation immediately (during opening first page)
  2. ask for geolocation on user's request (user clicks on something like "please locate me")

Option 1. would be definitely better for functionality and user's comfort but I am not sure if common web user won't be scared by browser's authorization bar. From this reason I currently prefer option 2.

What is your experience? Does exists "best practices" for this?

  • 3
    I'd go for 2. Don't ask for authorization until you need it. I may be visiting accidentally (clicked wrong link in another page) and may not want to have anything to do with your site at all, let alone with authorizing it to query my location. Dec 31, 2012 at 11:31
  • 1
    I peronally have made it a habit to deny location queries when asked unless I know I'll need to give it up. Waiting till the user clicks for functionality puts it in their hands. They now prompted instead of you. Apr 25, 2015 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


It's not what your asking but more importantly how you ask it. Without knowing more on how your solution works we can take it from just the two points you stated.

Option One - Your user comes in but doesn't see what they really need to because they weren't asked initially. This will give the perception that your solution is flawed and/or broken.

The wording on HOW you ask will make it easier for the user to accept that your asking them right upfront.

Option Two - A user comes into your site, starts down a path and then in order to really utilize the site and/or functions. You THEN ask the user. This puts a small item to overcome within the users workflow. It's far easier to add the correct wording upfront and allow the user to either continue or abandon at the start. Then take them down a path, only to be change somewhat later on.


Since you say a lot of the content depends on geo location, I recommend testing both options where half the users get option 1 and the rest get option 2. Run this test for 2 weeks and then see which one has higher abandon rate and do not use that option. Personally I prefer option 1.

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