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"Current Location?"
Current location is cool. I've wanted to upload it myself in various capacities for a long time.

But linking somethign that people will typically type in as free form to Google Maps is stupid. People will type 'Home', and linking that to google maps won't get you anywhere!

So, I went through and fixed my style so that the location would no longer be linked to Google maps, as well as reordering the 'currents' so that location would be on the bottom instead of the top.

So now, when I type 'Home" in my current location, it won't be displayed as "Maps.google.com/?q=Home" -- because it's not. It's home, in Cambridge. Of course, the rest of you will still see the links on your friends pages, but I've never optimized my journal for the users who are reading through friends pages: I've optimized it for *me*, and for my journal view pages.

I can see why this was done, but I think this is a case where the engineers (or engineer *cough* Brad *cough*) should have pulled in their usability person before pushing it live :p It's still a pretty cool little box, but I don't like to see it off to what I see as a negative start. Then again, is there much on LJ that I *don't* see as a negative start? ;)

Updated code is in Entry::print_metadata in my custom layer if anyone wants to crib it.
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Oh, and further further gripe. Google Maps only covers about 5 or 6 countries. Search for Moscow or Paris and you get laughable results. The implications of this for a site with a global userbase should be obvious.

Sure, but what solution is better? Google Maps is the only solution that allows *any* kind of external user interaction. I hardly think LiveJournal is in a position where they have the resources neccesary to pay the multi-million dollars TeleAtlas/NavTeq want for data rights ;)

To do usability and i18n testing before putting things live :)

Even if we assume that the google map link is useful for people in the US or UK or whatever (which I think we both agree that it isn't, but let's assume that it is) then it almost certainly isn't useful for people within Russia (well, unless they travel outside Russia a whole lot). In fact, it makes the feature less useful because there are radom useless links littering thigs up.

It's not a case of "people from $country are getting more than us" (as are phone posts, for instant) so much as a case of "our usability is being decreased in order to increase usability in $country".

A possible option would be, for instance, having a "link my location too google maps" check box on edit info, and then take its default value based on whether google actually maps the country that person has set. Possibly not the neatest solution, but it would solve the problem as I see it.

(Of course, a better option would be to get rid of the link all together, but I'm writing this comment based on the assumption that it's a good thing.)

Moscow? Paris?

The idea that an American Internet company shouldn't roll out a feature at all because it doesn't work as well for people in other countries is silly. "If Europe can't use it, no-one can use it" is sour grapes.

"Usability" is like "intuitive" -- it means "I don't like what was done" unless you have a usability study. Otherwise you're just guessing what other people might do, too. My guess is that people won't care that it's mislinked, and linking it will lead people to provide useful information in it so that the link works. But my wild guess is as useful as everyone else's, including 6A's.

That said, the first step of a usability study is figuring out the target audience -- and for LiveJournal, we're not them.

Satellite images both. Which isn't what LiveJournal links to. If I actually put Moscow or Paris as the text of my "current location" then I would get a link to a useless page.

And let's be clear here: I'm not saying that if some people can't use a feature then nobody should be able to. I'm saying that if there's a feature that only some people are able to use, it should be designed so it doesn't detract from things for those who can't use it.

Speaking for myself, I would much rather be able to enter plain text or links of my own, rather than having a link forced on me, especially if the link it gave was useless. I obviously haven't done any studies, but I would suspect that in countries not supported by google maps, many people wouldn't care either way, but of those who did care the vast majority would agree with me.

Of course, there are a whole lot of questions that follow on from that. How much does it detract from the feature for those people not covered by google maps? Is the agravation it would cause large enough to be worth doing anything over? Is the aggravation for these people outweighed by the axtra feature available for people in areas that are covered? Does it make better business sense to focus more on the core customer base (the USA) or try to ensure increasing appeal for users in other countries? Would the amount of effort required to program a fix to allow some people to use the feature but others to not have to be worth it?

And so on and so forth. And to these questions, I don't know the answers. It's perfectly possible that with all different considerations factored in, the current solution is the optimal. My wild guess is that it isn't, but that is only a wild guess. However, I do think that there is a genuine issue which shouldn't just be written off as "silly" or "sour grapes".

Satellite images both. Which isn't what LiveJournal links to.

Stop feeling sorry for all the stupid users who can't figure out how to click on "Satellite image", or that can't understand that a map can't figure out where "Home" is. You figured it out, I figured it out, I bet other people can figure it out as well. Europeans have demonstrated an ability to figure out things like American dollars and how to call American phone-post numbers, they'll figure this one out too.

People who don't like how it works but need to indicate their location can continue indicating their location in exactly the same way they did last week.

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