Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Editor's note: Since the launch of Google Maps ten years ago, maps have come a long way. To celebrate a decade of map innovation, we’re highlighting unique maps built by our developer community. Read how guest blogger, Jacinda Shelly, Lead Platform Engineer for Doctor on Demand, uses the Google Maps APIs to bring unique mapping experiences to users.
Maps can do much more for an online business than help people get from point A to point B. You might not think that a website for making video appointments with medical professionals would benefit from mapping — but at Doctor on Demand, maps connect our patients to physicians faster, and allow physicians to prescribe medications at the right pharmacies. Google Maps make our user experience much more satisfying, which means patients will use our service again.
- Choose a familiar interface. Use a map that’s easy for people to navigate – if it’s hard to understand and requires extensive instructions, they won’t use it. We picked Google Maps because our patients know them well.
- Configure maps for many platforms. If your users find maps helpful on your desktop website, they’ll want to use maps from any browser or device. We’ve made sure our maps work just as well on iOS and Android devices as they do on a desktop computer.
- Help users save time and make better choices. Before we built our pharmacy map, patients had to tell doctors which pharmacy they wanted to use. Then doctors emailed us the details. However, our support team had to follow up with doctors and patients to make sure we had the right pharmacy, since patients might say something like, “the drugstore down the street from my house.” Today, there’s no doubt about which pharmacy is the right one, since patients can clearly see their local outlets on the map.
Our pharmacy map inspires us to think about new ways to use maps in the future – like plotting the movement of cold and flu outbreaks and sharing this information with patients and doctors. We see a direct connection between maps and improving patient care. In the grand scheme, Google Maps improves the health of our patients, and, the health of our business.