Recommendations for the design of reference sections for websites

This document provides guidance on structure, content, and design of reference sections for the partner websites. They refer to relatively common cases of integration and based on the expertise of 2GIS specialists obtained when developing their own products, as well as on the experience with API partners.

Following the recommendations in one way or another is required so that it was possible to assign a commercial status to a partner.

Business listing startup page

As a rule, the aim of a startup page is to show users the opportunities of the service and make them “look inside”.

Depending on the type of project, this aim can be achieved in different ways. But almost in any case the following solutions will the the most effective ones.

  • Search it is the most popular way of interacting with information, so the search string can be as visible and large as the design of your project allows it — it will almost certainly get the well-deserved attention of users.

    If the project is focused on a few cities, it is recommended to make a dropdown list of these cities using the “List of regions” method.

  • Map
    For services where not only reference, but also a map component is important, it is recommended to display a map. Thus a user will immediately understand the purpose of the service.

    The value of the map increases if the map is clickable. This is implemented by integrating the methods of map object search into the map (processing of clicks) and search (generating parallel results of found map objects).

  • Categories
    Specifying categories on the startup page allows a user to understand how the service works and what kind of information it provides.

    In most cases the most effective solution will be the manual selection of several categories that are relevant to the subject of your project. For example, for a website about children you may choose educational institutions, baby stores, and maternity hospitals. And for a mobile app for motorists — gas stations, maintenance stations, and tire fitting shops sorted by distance.

    Instead of categories you can also use search queries popular among the users of your projects. The most popular categories for a typical urban site: Gas station, Pharmacies, ATMs, Bars, Hotels, Transportation, Cafes, Beauty salons, Service stations, Supermarkets, Taxi, Travel Agencies.

    The use of a complete list of categories is justified in a limited number of cases.

  • Companies
    If you add your own information to the information obtained from the API, display it on the startup page. If, for example, your users can leave comments on the pages of companies, post the most recent or the most popular ones on the main page.

Lists of company branches

The list of company branches are generated as a result of the search and when users click on categories.

  • Use the map. More than half of the audience of a number of services use the map area to view search results. Show company markers on the map, pay attention to how link the markers and the business listings interactively, highlight the markers of advertisers.
  • Company name and address are the primary information, the rest is secondary.
  • Pay attention to the design of advertising results and their fields, as the commercial efficiency of your service depends on it.
  • Use filters to help users find information. For example, the opening hours filter for company branches.
  • As a rule, it makes sense to place the pagination links only below the search results, not above them. The implementation without any links may be very easy — you just load the results dynamically as a user scrolls them down.

Page of the company branch

The page of the company branch can easily be completed with your own content. A few examples.

  • Reviews and comments, rating.
  • Social network buttons and “likes” counters.
  • A link to add your company to favorites, and a list of your users who have added the company to favorites.
  • A list of similar businesses nearby (“see also”).
  • Information on how to get to the place — a link to the route, the distance to the nearest metro station or bus stop.

If you use only the information from API or add an insignificant amount of information, we recommend you to open the company branch info dynamically, right in the search results, performing an AJAX request. This greatly facilitates the navigation due to the fact that a user does not have to make extra clicks to view several found results.

Do not forget to add the map, and specify in the opening hours section whether the company is open at the moment and when it is going to close.

Take advantage of the linked information. Thus, you should display the categories of the company and the number of its branches as links.

Design of advertising materials

Advertising materials in the API are found in the lists of company branches and their profiles. It is important to note that all of them are in the text format and they expand information about the company branch, thereby bringing additional benefits to visitors.

  • Show that the profile of companies advertisers provide additional information, displaying it appropriately in search results, and in the cards of advertisers.
  • Highlight advertisers not only in lists, but also on the map.
  • Don’t forget about ads.

Integration of the reference service into the main website

The more advantages of the data section in 2GIS you implement and show your visitors, the more the effectiveness for the entire project will be.

  • If the search string is available on the website, integrate the data from 2GIS business listings into both the string, and the search results showing this data on the map. Recommended implementation: the so-called search snippet, representing a small map widget and the first few search results, leading to a full page of the section.
  • If the project has a forum and the authorization, add a possibility to leave reviews about companies and add companies to favorites. It will also be a good practice to generate ratings.
  • Search for addresses and map objects is an extremely popular feature among 2GIS users. So do not forget about the geocoding possibilities of API.

A few more tips

  • Process errors, sending messages that are clear to your users.
  • View the list of active partners and examples of integration of API on websites.
  • After launching the section, tell your users about it in the news of your own website, create a banner of the section and mark it in the menu as “new”.