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I'm new to UX design, got a question bothering me for some days Hope you guys can give some tips

Prolem: my app is kinda a calendar app with a map, and I pull data from a user's native calendar, an event has a legitimate address in it. However, to be precise, I have to ask him/her to resolve on a map by dropping a pin, and I get a pair of latitude, longitude from it to save. Normally, the app automatically resolves the address and let the user confirms, or move the pin a bit (in case Googlemap address is off by some blocks).

However, trouble occurs when the user moves the pin to, say, the other end of the city. Then I associate the original address with the wrong {lat,lon} values. Next time the user opened the event and looked at the map and saw the mismatched address text, he blamed it on the app (of course I must take responsibility here).

Should I ban the user from moving the pin after Googlemaps does its job? or should I replace the address text with the new address?

I don't know exactly the term in UX (or UI) to search for, hope anyone can help or point me to some directions. Thanks.

Update A lot of good answers, I'll go with the option I marked as answer, combining with 'zoom out' effect mentioned by Marjan Venema.

  • Are you able to take the address from the event, put a pin on the map for that address, and ask the user if that's the correct placement of the pin? If yes, leave it alone. If no, let them move it until they're satisfied. – Jonathan Strate May 15 '14 at 17:03
  • Yes, I can. However, Googlemap itself is not perfect. Like I said above, Googlemap geocoder (taking an address and produce a pair of {lat,lon} valude) sometimes resolve to a few hundred meters off the real address. So sometimes the user really needs to move the pin a bit. – Taxi Noi Bai Ha Noi May 16 '14 at 4:38
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Do you know why the users are moving the pin?

Is it by accident or because their first drop was not correct?

If it's accidental then you have a usability problem where the user is doing something they don't intend to do. If that is the case, change your interaction so the UI isn't so touchy.

If they are moving the pin because they didn't "mean" to set the first location, then you should trust that the user knows what they are doing and update the address after every drop.

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+1 one for a good UX question!

Trust that the user is doing what he wants to do and skip all "are you sure" dialoges. Instead - make sure the user notices that he has moved the pin a long way from the original place and make it easy for the user to reset the position if he finds out that it's wrong.

This way of designing stuff is, amongst others, implemented by Google Mail. If you delete a mail, Google doesn't ask you to confirm the action (that will be correct in the majority of cases). Instead they give you the option to undo the action in the case where you didn't want to delete it.

  • What would be your approach to show the user that he has moved the pin a long way from the original? – Marjan Venema May 16 '14 at 19:24
  • One way to do it would be to leave a pin (with a different look, perhaps opaque to tell the user that it's not the main pin) for the position of the original suggested location. That pin could have a menu when clicking on it that gives the user the option to put the custom placed pin back to that position... – Henrik Ekblom May 17 '14 at 22:56
  • Ah yes. Zoom out on drop if the original pin is no longer visible would be nice to draw attention to it. – Marjan Venema May 18 '14 at 9:19
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The flaw you described is covered by Nielsen Heuristic "Visibility of System status"

The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.

Your internal system state has the new address, but the user still see's the old address until "much later". It is critical that the internal status & display are in sync.

Some users probably intend to only to make a visual change - not an address change. This may not be possible with the current system, but they can reasonably learn that through good feedback.

BTW if you can support both "visual only" and "address" change, then UX becomes more complex trying to determine which the user intended. A complexity possibly not worth supporting.

PS. Consider understanding well all the heuristics if you are designing UI's. They help steer design decisions.

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