What are the user benefits to update the URL in a map-based search?

3 years ago from , Experience Designer for the moving world

Hi, I'm researching the benefits to users and the business about having an updated URL in Map-based search experiences.

Most (airbnb, Zillow, Google) update the URL with coordinates.

Some (like Homes.co.nz) don't have URL updated.

I think the obvious reason is for URL sharing and saving, but we are looking into other potential benefits to users and to the business. Anyone have any insight here?


  • Shawn LeslieShawn Leslie, 3 years ago

    To return to the search as you left it at a later date via that URL... AFAIK, State changes that don't alter the URL make that challenging, unless perhaps you're logged in and it's stored elsewhere.

    4 points
    • Suganth SSuganth S, 3 years ago

      To add to this, lot of users still use history to go back to what they were doing and having a generic url doesn't help them.

      Sometimes chrome/safari auto completes the url from your recent visit, helps them to resume their previous visit

      1 point
  • Matt WilliamsMatt Williams, 3 years ago

    Edge case here... Depending on how you handle the URL and the purpose of your application, you could use the URL to serve map tiles within other applications.

    For example, I work on an app that allows you to color correct and stitch together multiple satellite images into a seamless basemap. The tile URL we provide (which updates on user input) can then be used as the basemap within other application such as mapbox.com or carto.com.

    I'm over simplifying of course, but that is the general idea.

    I would say that for the most part, the primary purpose a user would have for interacting with the URL within a mapping application is to share. You wouldn't want the everyday user to have to change parameters in the URL when they could just as easily do it in the UI.

    It's late right now, but if you have any questions about mapping applications in general, feel free to hit me up. I work with them every day.

    3 points
  • Eliot SlevinEliot Slevin, 3 years ago

    I'm going to make a huge guess here and presume you're working on trademe property. I'm a user myself, I've got my last 3 flats via trademe rentals.

    Obviously the biggest value in a updating url is share-ability - but you also need the other filter information, otherwise it's unclear what you're sharing.

    Also think of the url length - usually what happens is you send the URL to the 3 people you're looking with, and then they all send back another 3 search urls. If a search url is 270+ characters (which it currently is), next thing you know you've got a chat of nothing but link.

    And worse off, the links are really hard to understand, they all look the same.

    Ideal solution would be a link with a human readable component, then a really small hash - so you'd get something like http://property.trademe.co.nz/Te-Aro-9dA3B

    2 points
  • John WilsonJohn Wilson, 3 years ago

    We created an map-based app and updated the URL exclusively for those two reasons you mentioned: sharing and saving.

    1 point
  • Josselin Cuette, 3 years ago

    URL based search are the best way to get proper analytics data. You can find out who searches what, when, how many times and so on. It is as simple as that.

    0 points