Cutting things short

20Jun08

It’s nice that Google tries to show you the train lines that provide service to each station on the map. But I noticed a problem with their approach. Apparently, they pull the name of each train line from the organization’s website. These names can be rather long, e.g. “Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line”, so they truncate them to something like “Metra Union Pac…” However, there can be more than one train line that matches the truncated name, and Google doesn’t let you rollover or click to view the full name.

Whenever I try to use this feature, I end up back at the train company’s website and have to look up the info from scratch. Of course, Google could fix this by showing the full version of the data whenever you mouse over the shortened name. The takeaway is the same for other applications: if you’re going to cut things off for visual consistency, make sure to give users a way to view the original version when they need to.



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