Aug 26, 2008

The MapQuest Beta Part II: Maps and Forms and Logos, Oh My!

As Mark said, today’s launch of the MapQuest Beta is only the start of many exciting things to come from MapQuest. Let’s take a look at some of the areas in more detail.

The Map

Probably the most significant change to the Beta is the addition of a map to the home, map, and directions form pages. The map provides immediate access to key local information.

The starting location of the map is based either on your personal settings or your current location. By default, it looks first for your home or work address in your MapQuest settings. However, if you choose to change the location using the link above the map (1), it will override all other defaults and we’ll remember that location the next time you visit MapQuest.

You can easily print the mapped location, send the location to your cell phone or email, or generate a link to the mapped location with the buttons along the top (2). Enter a business name or category in the search nearby box (3), and we’ll search for places near the location specified.

Just above the map, you’ll find the current weather conditions for the area (4). Click on the weather link to pop open more weather information including a forecast and even weather cameras, where available. On the map itself, click the gas prices button (5) to pull the latest information from our gas prices site to show you the highest and lowest prices in the area. The traffic button (6) activates live traffic conditions in over 85 cities, and find relative speed or flow, incidents, and construction.

Local weather, traffic, and gas prices on the home page map are just a start. We will be introducing more local information in the future. What would you like to see on the map?

The Forms

We’ve also combined the forms for maps and directions on the home page. You can search for a business or enter an address to get a map in left half of the combined form. Getting directions is as easy as tabbing the keyboard or clicking the button to expose the form for the ending location.

Your saved and recent locations are still quickly accessible in the drop-down and you can access a quick list of airports and search categories by clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the search field.

Another key update to the forms is the introduction of the copy and paste address option. This alternative form style allows you to copy and paste addresses, even multi-line addresses, directly into the address box. You can easily switch between the new copy and paste forms and the classic forms by clicking the toggle link in the bottom left of the form box. Whichever form style you prefer, we will remember your preference throughout your visit and when you return.

The Logo

Did you notice our new logo? I’ll let our senior designer talk about the refreshed brand in the next post.

Thanks to a lot of hard work from our team here at MapQuest, we’ll be making updates and releasing more new features very soon. So try out our Beta and, as always, be sure to tell us what you think.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Chip Diffendaffer
Product Manager