Monday, July 11, 2011

Design Your Church a Mobile Website! - Maps Addendum

It turns out I was over-thinking the maps option.  I had created a page called "Directions" which had the address and phone number and an embedded customized Google map of  the church in it (200x300 pixels).  This was entirely workable.  Someone could change the size of the map and move it up & down and so forth, to see what they wanted to see.  It was pretty much like this:


View Larger Map

But this wasn't what I really wanted.  I wanted to click on it and have the option pop up of going to my navigation app on the phone.

I discovered that if I clicked on the (plain text--no hyperlink) address itself that I had typed above the embedded map, I would get such a pop-up asking if I wanted to do that.  But this wasn't intuitive enough and some people might not know their phones work this way (and some phones might not do it, for all I know).

Then this weekend someone sent me directions to an event using Mapquest. When I went to print the directions, Mapquest asked me if I wanted to send the directions by text message to my phone.  When I did this, and the text message had a simple link.  When I tried clicking on that link, I had the option of using my navigation app or going to the browser.  Unfortunately, when I clicked navigation, it didn't work right -- it didn't put in the address.  When I went to the browser, however, I was then able to go back over to the navigation app and have the address appear in there to navigate to.

So I tried just putting a Mapquest link to the church on the mobile Directions page that was like this:  MAP.  My phone, when I clicked on it, didn't offer me the navigation app option.  So much for that. But it did take me to a very nice little Mapquest mobile version (which I do have to say seemed to offer more choices than Google's). 

So then I went back to Google, wondering what would happen if I just linked to the map rather than embedding it, like this:  MAP.  Success!  Clicking on it offered me the directions of going to Google's very nice mobile version of their map, or using my app.  I switched my directions page on the Mobile home page to be linked to the map, rather than linked to a page with the link on it, and it's done! 

Moral of the story: Whether you have a mobile version of your church webpage or not, instead of embedding the map, it would be good to provide a link to the Google map (or do both).  That way mobile users--at least those with Android phones like mine--will have the option of getting their navigation app to give them directions on how to get to your church as they drive there.  And even if it doesn't, Google will automatically route them to a mobile version of their map, which will be sized more appropriately for the phone than your embedded map is.

1 comment:

uu-mom said...

This was helpful. I shared your link.