Web: Store Locators

>> Monday, April 23, 2007

We went to the Olive Garden this weekend and before we did, I called them to see how long the wait would be. To find their number, I started out on Google Maps trying to "find a business" in my area. Muchy to my disappointment, our local Garden was not apparently in Google's database.

It's sad, really, because if Google Maps was up-to-date with all the business listings, it really could be used to replace another common web site element; store locators. Businesses could, from what I know of Google's API, take care of this themselves, so they wouldn't really have to PROGRAM much to have a store locator, but that doesn't spearate the functionality from the site itself.

I'm still talking about a problem that I feel is pervasive in the internet, today: a lack of standards. When you pick up a book, it doesn't take you five minutes every time you open it to figure out where you should go to start reading it. In like manner it shouldn't take you any time at all trying to hunt down the contact page for a company's website, nor the store locator, or anything else.

Sure, this flies in the face of all the agencies that create websites, today, including the one I work for, but they're part of the problem, not the solution. Stop making things different for every single site out there! Yes, that's great that you can make a pretty site. Now, stop it, and give us some real user functionality.


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