by jerry on November 19, 2011
One of the challenges of our prior user interface was what to do with the map showing the search results. For a long while, we drew a red box around the area that was included in the search. In part, this was inspired by the search area usually being a square, and the map only being a rectangle. This had the advantage of clearly informing the user what was part of the search area and what wasn't. Unfortunately, it wasn't clear how to trigger a new search somewhere else on the map or how to zoom in. Our latest release addresses those issues.
Rather than delineate the search area with a red box, we now use the entire map to indicate what area the search includes. If you move the map, zoom out, or zoom in, you'll trigger a new search. This turned out to be trickier than originally anticipated because we need to estimate the size of the map to know what area to search over. However, we think this is a more intuitive user interface. It might be a little annoying to trigger a new search every time someone moves the map. For example, Yelp addresses this problem with a checkbox that allows the user to specify whether to search again when the map moves. Both methods (automatically triggering a new search or not) have their disadvantages. If you have any ideas on this or any other part of the service, let us know.