Intelligent defaulting, responsive clarification

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 at 11:21 am

Checking the weather on a gorgeous spring day in London (ostensibly to see how long the beautiful weather will last), and this is the experience documented from the BBC Mobile site:

After clicking weather, I was then prompted to search for my location. I entered London. I was then presented with 15 options for London — the first two in South Africa. BBC Weather is usually pretty good with geolocation, but for some reason on my mobile it can never work out where I am.

That’s not so bad; but seriously, if I enter ‘london’ into any site (let alone the BBC), surely London UK is a far more likely match than East London South Africa or London Canada?

What percentage of users would benefit from defaulting London to London UK (population 8,174,000) and making users from London Canada (population 366,151) and East London South Africa (population 135,560) then change to their London? An awful lot.

Google Maps does this very well: it contextually defaults to the closest geographic match and gives the option of ‘did you mean a different x?’

Intelligent defaulting, responsive clarification: it’s really not that hard.

Life would be so much easier if more sites did this properly; I look forward to the day when I don’t have to see insanely stupid screens like this (thank you journey planner):

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