I'm interested in seeing a tested study, or at least something more valid than personal opinions, if smartphone users find it usable or not usable to be taken onto map view rather than to a list of places by default.

Imagine a venue app, used on a 4'' smartphone, portrait mode. Also let's assume 3G data or WiFi connection is available.

Is it better to take the user straight onto map with clickable points or show them list of places first? (list with a thumbnail, title and such)

What I'm concerned with is that navigating the map is difficult, but even more that, when searching for venues, people find it more obscure to look at the map. They either don't really know the exact corner or street, or have little use with a generic pin icon, but they might recognize venues by name, perhaps a photo.

Does anyone have any experience regarding this?


  • Of course, I know this sort of feedback is best collected from testing with actual users of the app, and is dependent on the scale of the map (small city compared to world-wide map of locations), but I'm still interested in others' experiences with this. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 17:48
  • 1
    'better' is hard to define without more specific context. I'd ask what is the value of the map vs. list for your particular users using your particular data?
    – DA01
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


I recently worked on an app that had a feature that allowed the user to search or browse for clinics nearby. One thing I got from the tests is that the map view works great mainly for visually displaying (quickly) what is nearby the user. They can process that much faster via the map/pin UI. However, if the user is looking for more information or browsing, they would always go to the list view. You just can't get the amount of information a list view provides from a tooltip on a map. Maybe just a name and some other small meta data. Pins don't really provide much information scent.

So it's really a matter of the utility of that particular app and what type of user will be using it. A user who wants to quickly find something (anything) nearby them? Or a user who is looking for something specific, whether it be a certain type of food, venue, etc.

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