Have you ever been on a busy street in an unfamiliar city, pushed for time and trying to find somewhere to eat? Perhaps you’ve been desperately in need of roadside assistance next to a broken down car in the middle of nowhere? When this kind of thing happens, when mobile devices can frustrate what you’re trying to do, you need a tool that delivers useful local business results, reliably and quickly.
Seeker – a strong presence in the European local search market – wants to make search friendlier and more useful. Seeker asked us to bring their successful service to Windows Phone 8, and to refresh their iOS and Android products for iOS 7 and Android 4.
Our preference when starting a project is to strip it back completely and sketch out a variety of user journeys for each key area. Seeker gave us this freedom to rethink areas of friction, such as location selection. We then developed the most promising concepts, blending in Seeker’s ideas as we progressed.
Development put an early focus on the UX, making sure we got the basics right sooner and could spend more time refining map and search filter functionality.
Three things we learned about local search:
- Location as a context makes it doubly important to display results clearly and quickly; displaying all the results on a map simply isn’t useful, intuitive or attractive – nor is it particularly performant.
- It was necessary to establish rules for displaying results according to usefulness and proximity to the user’s location, as well as how the map behaves during interaction – for example, panning to a new area of the map.
- The user needs to know the extent of a search radius that effects results and that they can control the radius easily.
We were able to carry these lessons across when redesigning Seeker’s Android and iOS products. As before, we stripped the product down into critical user journeys, while looking to streamline the UX wherever possible. Could we reduce the number of steps for completing a task? Could we help the user by making the right guesses about context and intent?
Finally, we looked to the new conventions coming from the platforms themselves. The design language of both Android and iOS had changed significantly since the original products were released, and we were keen to make sure that Seeker looked like a modern, first-class citizen on both platforms.
“Matchbox were the ideal partner for our project” says Dr. Klaus Mapara, CEO of Robert Krick Verlag GmbH.
iOS design update in progress at time of writing