Six Elements of a Useful Interactive Office Map
By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
Visitors to your workplace may know who they’re meeting, but they might not always know where they’re going. An interactive office map takes the uncertainty out of navigation. Unlike a two-dimensional map, an interactive one allows visitors to zoom into a specific areas and change perspective on where they need to go. After all, the purpose of a map is to help someone get to where they’re going as quickly and hassle-free as possible.
Mobile technology drives the interactive map. It’s not only about seeing where you are or where you’re going, it’s about using the map as a workplace wayfinding tool. Take a look at some of the essential modern-day tools your interactive office map should provide.
1. Top-down floor plan view
The default for any map is a top-down view, including an interactive office floor plan. It’s important to show a birds-eye view of everything and give the viewer their bearings. Even if they know exactly where they are, contextualizing that starts with an understanding of what’s immediately around them and where they exist in relation to other spaces.
The beauty of interactive office maps is the “interactive” part. The top-down perspective also enables users to pinch and zoom to a specific level, then narrow focus to an area of importance. The ability to digitally drag the map around is also valuable. It’s great for tracing a route, finding a particular type of space, and understanding proximity to rest rooms, exits, and other amenities.
Top-down views are essential, especially in larger facilities and on campuses. Unlike a physical, foldable map, a digital map provides a complete lay of the land—with the control needed to navigate it.
2. Drag-and-drop functionality
The interactive components of a map shouldn’t end with pinch-to-zoom functionality. They should also include drag-and-drop options—especially for digital map designers. Creating a floor plan is a dynamic exercise. Moving desks, fixtures, employees, and other non-permanent assets can get complicated if everything is digitally fixed. Drag-and-drop makes it simple to map things on-the-fly.
On the user side, drag-and-drop is ideal for wayfinding software. Drop a marker wherever you are, drag it to where you want to be, and watch your route appear. Or, drag employee profiles to a specific room on the map to book that room and send invites to meeting attendees. The more interactive a map is, the more value it has to designers and users. Drag-and-drop functionality is an essential touch component.
3. Integrated company directory
Maps are dynamic. Even if the space itself isn’t changing, the way people use it and where they exist within the greater facilities are constantly in flux. Having an integrated company directory updates the map by pairing people with places in real time.
Dwight’s desk moved from Sales on the third floor to the Manager’s Department on the fifth floor. Not only will an interactive map reflect the change as soon as it’s updated, the directory will update. Anyone searching for Dwight will see his new desk location and have everything they need to contact him. It saves valuable time and the frustration of not finding Dwight where you thought he was.
4. Point-to-point directions
Interactive workplace systems need to serve the needs of their users. For a map, the almost universal need is wayfinding—getting directions from one place to another. To be truly useful, an interactive map needs to provide point-to-point directions.
Not only should someone know where they are and where their destination is relative to it, they should also receive step-by-step instructions for how to get there. At the least, the map should show a clearly defined route. Ultimately, a person shouldn’t have trouble navigating your facilities with an interactive map.
5. Robust integrations
What makes interactive office map software more valuable than a physical map or a static digital map is integrations. Messaging applications, building modeling software, facility management tools, and mobile applications unlocks the map’s full potential. Asking Slack “Where does Pam B. sit?” or exporting directions to a visitor email are what make an interactive map truly interactive—even more than just touch.
Integrations should focus on wayfinding. The need for information about workplace layout or facility floor plans are an opportunities for interactive maps to shine.
6. Scalable features
All these features are important, but they need one more thing: scalability. Whether your workplace is a few spaces scattered on a single floor or hundreds of thousands of square feet spread across a campus, an interactive office map is a vital tool.
It’s not necessarily hard to find an interactive map that boasts these features. What’s more difficult is getting them to work seamlessly for people using the map. The power of an interactive map comes from its functionality. When features and usability align, no one should ever get lost in your facilities.
Keep reading: What are wayfinding kiosks and digital signage?