We are starting to build a website with an adaptive design (responsive philosohpy).
Because the adaptive design is not just about designing websites that adapt to screen size, we want to include all (for our site relevant) parts of responsive web. (e.g what time it is, what season and other events)

And a big part of the adaptive design is the location part.
But I worry about the acceptance of sharing his own postition.

For example, me and several friends are annoyed of googles constant request if he could use my current location (mostly on the mobile site). I won't let track my location on websites, where I don't need it.
Location Request on Google Mobile Search

The question is:
How big is the acceptance of location requests? Find users it mostly annoying or useful?

The location detection over IP is not enough accurate. So either we ask for the location or we can't show the location-specific content.

What we ask ourself is:
Ask for location:
We need to ask the user's location right at the start of the website. Then we can specify our content to display. But it could annoy the user, which we won't.

+ Location-Specific content, which reduce the steps to get the information the user wants - Asking for the location can annoy the user and maybe he won't use the application...

Don't ask for location :
+ The user can just start to browse the information on the site
- The user will have to click through the website-strucutre to find the searched information. Depending on the searched info, it could be more than 3 steps and will frustrate the user.

  • 2
    I would call what you're doing more Adaptive Design than Responsive Design. Responsive web is really just media queries to detect screensize and display content accordingly. However geolocation et al is part of the bigger concept that is Adaptive Design.
    – JonW
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 8:29
  • @JonW: I came across to different articles where they talked about responsive web (which includes responsive design). I think it means exactly the same as Adaptive Design, while I think Adaptive Design is a better am more clearly wording. Will respell the question. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 8:36
  • I don't think there are any official definitions really. More that 'responsive design' phrase gets chucked about by marketing people when they are talking about 'squishing a desktop website down to mobile size' so I prefer to use the phrase 'Adaptive Design' so it's clear that there is more to it than that.
    – JonW
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 8:42
  • Totally agree. A way better wording. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 8:43
  • 1
    "a big part of the adaptive design is the location part" - somehow it feels to me that you are trying to design here in order to tick off checkboxes with buzzwords. Why do you want this information? How are you going to respond to the location, and how does the user profit from your response to his location? If you don't have a very concrete and convincing answer, the acceptance doesn't matter - it is bad UX, period.
    – Rumi P.
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 12:08

3 Answers 3


If location is required/highly recommended for your website's functionality. e.g. perform a location specific search. Consider asking for the permission at the step where the geolocation info is actually required. It makes it clear why you're asking for this info and the user can decide whether they want to provide this or not.

So for a store/branch location search... if the "near my current location" option is chosen and the user hits search, ask for permission then. But not at the very beginning when the user has no context of why it's required.

For a game where a player will be matched against another player from the same region, again ask at the stage of finding the match.

Like what @Neundex said, if you can't find a direct benefit for the user to provide geolocation, then you have no valid reason to ask for such and the permission prompt will just annoy them.

  • +1, exactly what I was going to suggest: appropriate timing & understood/relevant context. Users should know why location data is required for the app to function as expected, or understand what limitations may exist without it. Asking right off the bat precludes that context & could result in people reflexively denying permission.
    – mc01
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 20:45
  • Good Point about the timing. The problem is, at the start of the website, we want show content based on the user's location. So he don't need to click anywhere to get the information he's looking for. So we're asking right at the start if we can use the location. It is a "Nice-To-Have" function, which will make the use of the site more personal. But since it's not required, we don't know what is better: ask for location and maybe annoy the user, or do nothing and let the user search the information. Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 8:32
  • @dTDesign May I ask a bit more about the nature of the visitors? Who exactly is this feature benefiting? It seems like something that may make more sense for a regular visitor as a shortcut. Can you perhaps you can provide a hint prompt and allow the user to choose to allow this for future visits?
    – nightning
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:18
  • @nightning: Sadly I can't tell specific details of the site nor the content. The users could be anyone who is using a smartphone. Sure I can make a prompt once and then save it, but it won't be saved forever and we have the same problem. But I think we are making a mountain out of a mole hill. So we will just display a prompt which specify why we want. +1 & Accept Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 9:15

As @nightning mentioned, Users should always be aware about why the additional data is needed (Location in your case)

The Real Adaptive Design here

But if your app or service is highly dependent on the location of the user, then I would suggest that you use Location detection by IP address services to grab the rough location of the user.

Then as google & other sites does, you can inform the user about the captured location & ask them to make it more accurate by accepting to share their location.

Doing this makes sure that user is not forced to share their location & still be able to enjoy better services from your app if not the best.

  • We already tried a prototype with location over IP, but some times it is not enough accurate. As I mentioned in the comment to nightning's answer, it isn't really required. We ask ourself, which way is better. Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 8:34
  • Nice that you brought up IP address detection @Jigar. Is there at all any benefit for having content from a "closer" location or worse than showing something very generic? If it's better, a "Showing content near NYC. Not your region?" link to allow user to provide this via geolocation might work.
    – nightning
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 16:24
  • Yes @nightning, as I highlighted, its better to show results from closer location if the service is highly dependent on it. Else a generic results could also do which can be refined later on availability of exact coordinates :)
    – Jigar
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 5:42

If geolocation is one of the core features of a website or app (e.g. a game, a service etc), then i would say it's the only case, that the users would allow someone to use their location. In other words, if it's for their own good.

If it's 100% necessary for your business, then go for it, otherwise you will probably lose some clicks and earn some frustrated visitors.

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