Part 1: The best online locators on the net click=’ShowSpinOptions(26)’>today.
Ever wonder how the big companies are building their station locators? We decided to look at various locators from the top Oil companies in the United States. The comparisons demonstrate that all locators are not created equal. Hands down the best in class locator is ExxonMobil’s. It had every feature on our list plus a few more.
1. Ease of use. ExxonMobil’s locator is built on top of the Google API, so the mapping functions are familiar to the majority of users.
2. Ease of use for disabled – ExxonMobil’s locator allows users to create larger fonts, something no other locator we looked at did.
3. Multi-language – Let’s face it, we live in a multi cultural society. ExxonMobil’s locator lets the user select their language on-the-fly.
4. Filtering for services – Again, ExxonMobil shines. Their locator allows users to filter on any combination of 14 features. From diesel fuel to car wash you can find precisely what you’re looking for.
5. Initial map view – a very unique feature, ExxonMobil shows you an initial map centered on the address of your ISP. It is almost spooky when you pull up the locator while traveling and find the map shows almost right where you are. You’d think your computer turned into a geo-aware smart phone.
6. Location clusters – oil companies tend to have a lot of locations. One unique and pleasant feature of the ExxonMobil locator is that users that zoom out have images agglomerated so that you can still see the map. Click on the cluster and the map automatically zooms in to display the individual stations.
7. Download locations to your GPS – another first and ExxonMobil has this too. It sometimes seems that GPS default data is often incorrect. ExxonMobil allows you to download their latest data (they say it is updated daily) to your GPS.
8. Nearest location – click on “find a location” and ExxonMobil locator instantly gives you directions to the nearest location. This is an incredibly useful function.
9. Station information – ExxonMobil does great work with this. Click on a map pin and the basic station information appears. Click on more information and an entire web page of information comes up. Some of the locations even have coupons. Hours of operation, store manager, feedback pages and a comprehensive list of station features.
For additional features see part 2 in the series: The best online locators on the net today.