Archive for the ‘Local search’ Category

Categories: Interface Upgrade Planned

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Categories are a little-known feature in Stickymap. When you log in and click a location, you can select “categorize” to bring you to the categorization screen. From here, you can place locations into different categories which are labeled by text (or “tags” as we call them). After doing some studies, we’ve concluded that the interface for categories is a little bit hard to follow, so we’ve decided to try to simplify it for our users.

It’s important to get people using this because it will improve our site’s search capability and general organization. It also allows users to create their own maps that are subsets of Stickymap.

Right now, users need to mark off a series of check boxes, and fill out some text boxes. If you put a tag in a text box, it won’t be added to the marker unless you click the check box. I believe that’s been tripping up some of our users.

We’re in the final stages of preparing a release for a new interface. Let us know what would get you to use this feature.


The New Local Search Feature

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Until last weekend, we had a confusing 3-tabbed search area which was overlayed on top of the map.  Now we have a new search feature which I believe is easy to use and more streamlined, and I’d like to talk about it today.  Basically, it’s a local search that asks 2 questions:

1) What are you looking for?

2) Where are you looking?

If you answer both questions, and our site recognizes your location, the map will travel to that location and proceed to search for whatever you typed in the first box.  All relevant search results will be displayed, and you can click them either on the map or on the sidebar.  Yay!

Notice there’s also an AND/OR designation.  That means that we don’t require you to answer both questions.   If you only want to tell us what you are looking for, we’ll just search for it in wherever you happen to be on the map.  So, instead of answering question 2, you can just move to map to the place you want to search.  Likewise, if you omit question 1, we’ll simply bring the map to the location that you specified so that you can look around on your own.

This gives our users a far more useful tool for searching our site.  I encourage you to try out all the features it has to offer.  Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can make it easier to use or more intuitive.


Integration with Yahoo Local Search

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Stickymap currently makes use of the Yahoo Local Search API, but we can do better. Right now, Yahoo Local is one of the three search options, and it’s a feature that’s very detached from the rest of the site. Markers are rarely created from Yahoo’s database.

We’re hoping to change this with the next release. Stickymap search results are going to be merged with the Yahoo results, to create a universal and customizable search. Yahoo results and Stickymap results should be able to mix as seamlessly as possible.

Creating a Web 3.0 Local Search

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

For the past week, we’ve been developing our local search capabilities and the results have been fantastic. We’ve decided to take a very challenging but innovative approach; to combine our Stickymap content with Yahoo! Local content and the Google Geocoding tool. When we introduce our new interface in a few weeks, our algorithm will search through the Stickymap database, the Yahoo! Local database, and the Google Geocoder database to return the most relevant results. While writing algorithms that return merged results from multiple databases is nothing new, we believe that we’re the first to implement this method for user generated content in local search. We are very excited to hear your thoughts and can not wait to make this interface available to our users.