Improving User 'Discovery' on OFN Map

What is the need / problem ?

It is well documented and understood that we have a ‘discovery’ problem - now that we have quite a lot of enterprises on OFN, it is very difficult for eaters (or other enterprises) to find and connect with appropriate enterprises. This problem and some potential solutions have been periodically documented in:

As discussed in the threads above, it is also clear that the map has potential to improve this situation, possibly with some small tweaks.

Currently (July 2020) there are two major considerations in doing any work on the map page:

  • We are hiring designers and it is likely that there will be some holistic attention focused on this area - we need to carefully manage scope creep
  • There has been a strong drive to replace google maps API with Open Street Map API, and this is partially done. There are concerns with OSM use in Aus (and maybe other places?) that might mean totally pulling google out is premature - TBC

However, a wonderful volunteer has popped up with skills and enthusiasm to work on this area - (@jules) - so can we agree some quick wins that move things forward . .

Who does it impact ?

Anyone (eaters or enterprises) trying to find enterprises on the system that meet their needs

What is the current impact of the problem ?

We are limited in our ability to market to Eaters as we can’t send them to OFN and be confident that they will find what they need. Producers are limited in finding Hubs they might connect with and vice versa

What is the benefit of focusing on this ?

Opportunity arising with Jules to move this forward outside the global pipe

Potential solutions that will solve the problem ?

1. Prioritise implementation approach

2. Potential ‘quick win’ changes on current map interface (google maps API? both?)

  • detect user location and have starting zoom closer
  • merge points (when there’s a dense cluster, just show a single point with a number)
  • add the ability to search by enterprise name
  • some kind of text or hover with the producer names next to the icons at close zoom level e.g. GH #1649

3. More significant changes, but perhaps could be done within current page design

  • Currently the map only enables search by location (also only suburb, not street address). This is really annoying if you’re looking for a particular farm or hub. Improve Map Search and Filter
  • Extend map based search by product, producer, filters (open, closed; farm / hub etc) (not just location) G#968
  • UX Map moves if you try to highlight text
  • Address validation so no more enterprises in the ocean- G#546 G#954 UK172
  • Explore ease of plugging into other open source third party - that we can direct people to but that then sends them back to OFN shops e.g. gogo carto

4. Kirsten playing with / introducing ideas for extension of mapping in OFN . . sensing Jules skills

  • Ability to show or search enterprise delivery area . . . (lots of design thinking required) . . e.g. https://members.ceresfairfood.org.au/home_delivery_areas (note this info is not currently in the database in any useful form)
  • Farm has option to show boundaries, actual property (linking to GIS), potential to include data layers with ecological improvement data e.g. soil, revegetation, biodiversity

5. Valid ideas but likely out of scope. Just keeping here for easier future reference

Selection of a feature candidate

Suggest Jules investigate 1. and report back on her thoughts, including wisdom of implementing 2. within google or just go to OSM

T-shirt size of our selected feature candidate

Metrics to measure if need is satisfied after feature is implemented

Events on map page that tell us how many people:

  • go no further
  • search, open a profile or two and go no further
  • how could we see whether they actually make contact? maybe they found what they needed?
  • search, find what they need, click to shop
  • complete transaction

Feature owners

Epic/projet where you can follow implementation


Connected wishlist and discovery discussions*

[list precedent discussions]

Quick note on the OSM version: it currently only searches by enterprise name, and not location, which is the opposite of the Google version. The rough roadmap for improving it includes customising the search functionality to include locations, so we can probably have both.