The Bing team has been hard at work lately rolling out improvements to its service, such as their recent collaboration with the Nokia Maps team to produce a unified map design, their recent lovemaking with Twitter, or the release of the Bing Maps SDK for Metro-style apps. And earlier this morning, Bing announced a set of design and usability improvements made to two of the most common map elements — pushpins and popups — along with an improved transit experience.
As you can see in the photo above, pushpins have been redesigned. The orange pushpins of the past have been replaced with a cleaner, blue design. What’s the reason behind the change? Bing Senior Program Manager Dan Polivy elaborated: “our goals were simple: enable you to find the information you want, more quickly and efficiently, while at the same time minimizing obstruction of the map”. Pushpins that are generated as a result of a search query will be blue, while pins representing user-generated content will be orange (with the new design, of course.)
A small popup was also added when you hover over a pin, which provides an “at-a-glance” name of the place. This allows you to easily skim through pins throughout the map. And by clicking, this popup can be expanded into a “full” popup, that shows all of the data and interactions you can perform with that place.
Speaking of popups, as you can see above, they too have received quite a substantial redesign. They now have a cleaner, Metro-inspired look that displays the content in a much cleaner fashion than the former design.
A nice touch that was implemented is that the pushpin and popup designs will adjust, should the map call for it so that data isn’t hard to read against the map background.
Moving on to the transit improvements, the colors and signage of the transit lines have been largely refined to better represent their respective real-life counterparts for both US and UK public transport systems. You can also now send transit directions to your mobile phone through SMS. A link to m.bing.com will be sent to you, which will load the transit directions on all platforms that would allow you to navigate to that website (shockingly, Windows Phone is exempt here; it currently does not support transit.)
You will also now be able to easily modify directions routes by clicking and dragging on start, end, or on waypoints.
Pretty exciting changes.