Distantias Recent UI Improvements

So, we recently ran a few code updates and implemented a change or two to improve user interactivity and the overall experience on site.

Users to our road distance calculator pages will now note that there is a new preload instance that users will see whilst the various calculations are made. Some people had said that it felt odd to see pages load with empty information blocks. The implementation of this, should improve that experience.

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Users see a preloader rather than frustrating empty info boxes

Users can now rate pages on a scale of 1-5 which we’ll use to keep an eye on the best and worst performers. When a user votes, we also notify ourselves of relative page speed loads and metrics that indicate whether a full set of info was provided. Sometimes, the scripts don’t return routing information, or straight line distances simply because the user either entered a string of words that were unintelligible or unknown to the master database. Put succinctly, if there’s no longitude or latitude data or no known route from a to b then an error or exception will be thrown and the user will be told.

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Users can now rate pages and see how others have rated them too

Users will also see a related picture on most road distance pages which are shown from a radius of up to 6 miles of the target ‘from’ location. This will both enrich the visual layout for the visitor and also give social media users a better focus and view of the page that they might view. They can also ‘like’ pictures and help promote images that people might really like.

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People will see pictures sourced from the localities they are travelling to

We’ve added a fuel calculator that’ll do a little calculation based on a standard average price for EU petrol prices as well as an average MPG expectancy for an average vehicle. Users can flex these numbers up or down to  get an indication of the likely fuel cost for their journey.

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People can get an idea of fuel costs for their journey

We’ve improved the calculator tool by enabling users to ‘swap’ locations and users can now optionally, for some countries and cities get up to the minute traffic data for a place they may be travelling to.

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Prepopulated Journey Tool

This is really handy as it shows congestion data for the route and enables people to at least consider alternatives or make better travel plans. Where available, we’ll also show a link to the related public transport page for a similar journey. Not everyone drives after all!

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Visual Clues are provided by Google to show traffic and congestion

 

Need to know midpoints or want to get an idea of where a halfway place might be? Where we have the data, we’ll show you these on a map and give you a distance from your start and finish point ( see live example here)

As the crow flies a town that is nearest to the half way longitude and latitude of 51.317,0.3805 is Ryarsh, Great Britain which is around 31.51 miles from Ashford and 30.05 miles from London

Users can now ask other users (those who’ve signed up and opted in) for help about a specific journey or route. These are private communications between registered users delivered by email. Users can also leave tips and comments for other people to view and can also reply to threads created by others, or start a new one themselves.

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A conversation between users on Distantias

Users will also see up to the minute data on other places on site that are being used and can see the city names of visitors on site. This doesn’t reveal any private data, and it adds a nice sense of real time activity that may encourage additional dialogue and engagement.

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Real time data and visitor activity

Things to do:

There’s a whole lot of things we are still improving and working on. All of the above will be honed and refined over time as resouece and technology allows.

The fuel calculator tool will be the next thing to be improved so that users from respective countries are given the right level of current fuel price.

Users in the USA for example pay a whole lot less per litre of fuel than users in the UK. We aim to reflect that automagically and enhance the tool by prepopulating it with more relevant data.

We also aim to do a lot of work on the user profile pages, getting rid of clutter and improving its generally usefulness to people. User notes are an area that we feel have particular use for people and we want to make those better and find a way of encouraging people to more open to sharing the more useful observations.

We also aim to do great things with the milepoint system and reward people for site useage by developing relationships with sponsors so that real tangible benefits can be passed back to our users from companies looking to provide them with services.

The bottom line is it’s an ongoing project and we’re working hard to make the site as useful as possible. We want people to engage with each other in a way that helps connect people more through data and general sharing.

That’s it for now, we hope that gives you a bit more insight in to what we’ve been doing would be great to her your views, don’t forget to signup to our newsletter for free tips, advice and travel ideas/bargains.

My name’s Rob, thanks for reading!

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