What Problem Does This Solve?
User needs to quickly find her current location on the map.
When to Use This Pattern
Use to identify and locate the real-world geographic location of a person’s device without the need of complicated data input or map navigation. This functionality is most commonly provided on mobile devices that run applications to navigate or orient the user. Examples include maps that provide route finding, tourist apps, or consumer apps to order and track items of interest in real-time.
What’s the Solution?
Provide a button that triggers a background process to determine the latitude and longitude coordinates of the user’s geographic position so that further action can be applied, typically zooming the map to the current location.
The button is usually placed in a corner of the map and only visible if the map isn’t currently centered around the user’s location. Once the user starts panning the Locate Me button re-appears to user can re-center on her location.
Why Use This Pattern?
Sometimes referred to as geolocation, Locate Me is a common mechanism in mobile devices to provide geographical context of the current user’s position to enhance the experience of the application. The same capability can be provided on the web as an easy way to determine full address information (street, town, neighborhood, region, country, country code, postal code, etc.)
Users should always understand why the application is asking for their location. Make it clear why user’s location is needed, and how the information will influence their experience. Leave location fields blank by default, and let users choose to populate them through a clear call-to-action like “Find near me” or “Local deals for tonight”.