February’s BlueBadgeParking.com update – new and enhanced features

We originally planned to release this update in November but as we developed more ideas for enhancements just kept coming.

So, this month we have released a whole host of new features and feature enhancements to the web app.

Info Windows:

  • Info Windows now have direct SatNav links when the web app is used from a smart phone or tablet. Just look for the little car icon.
  • The Info Windows for searched places now contain more information and action buttons (see below as well)

Sharing:

  • Sharing searched places
    lyricEventLinkWhen you search for a place via the search bar you get a little red marker appear on the map showing the location of that place. Clicking the marker brings up an Info Window as always, but now you have a ‘Share’ icon that allows you to share that location and you can even add your own title to the share.
    Adding a title is particularly useful if you are holding an event at a venue, for example. So, if you are holding a conference at a public venue you can use the title to include the name of your conference in the share.
    Give it a go, and note that the titles that you add to your share are only visible to people you share the link with – the titles are not added to the map for other visitors to see!
  • Sharing your location
    When your location is displayed on the map its Info Window now contains a ‘Share’ icon that allows you to share your current location and even add your own title to the share.
    Titles added to ‘Your Location’ shares work in exactly the same way as searched place share titles in that they are only displayed to people that you share your link with  they are not stored on the map for others to see.
  • Ad Hoc Sharing Marker
    screenShot-shareMarkerIf the location you want to share is not searchable and not tied to a particular Blue Badge / disabled / handicap parking location you can use the right-click menu to drop a ‘Sharing Marker’ anywhere on the map.
    A sharing marker gives you the ability to specify a title and address for the location and to share that location with anyone you like.
    Once again, the title and address are only visible to people you share the link with. The shared location marker is not added to the map for other people to see, just those who receive your link.
  • Sharing via AddThis
    When you use the ‘AddThis’ icons across the top of the sharing screen to share any location the share will include more specific information about the location being shared.
    For example, if you share a searched place the place name will be included, and if you add your own event name/title that will be included as well.

General improvements

  • Follow Me / Tracking enhancement
    When ‘Follow Me’ is switched on (i.e. when your location on the map is being constantly updated to show your position in real time) you can now unlock the centering of your location simply by dragging the map. This allows you to display a whole route and monitor your progress towards it.
    To re-enable the auto-centering simply tap the ‘Go To My Location’ button and the Follow Me function will move your location to the center of the screen and maintain it there.screenShot-mapTypeSelector
  • Improved Map/satellite view buttons
    The map and satellite view buttons now have an indicator showing which view is selected.
  • and a few bug fixes…

Android App news

Some of the above features were directly related to the work we are doing on a completely new version of our Android App.

We are completely rewriting the app as a native Android app so that we can bring you a far better app experience including offline functionality. We have a lot to do, and it is taking a long time, but we hope to launch an interim version very soon. This interim version will effectively be an enhanced version of the web app (and as such will not include any offline functionality), but will put you on the release channel for any and all new app features as we launch them.

As always, there’s more going on behind the scenes as well, so watch this space for further announcements.

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Tweaking and testing new features and enhancements

We are currently in the final testing and tweaking phase for the following new features and enhancements:

  • Closest Five
  • Massive improvements to Follow Me
  • Full screen StreetView
  • New Google Maps widget set

Watch this space for a launch announcement and more details about what these new features mean…

New features added 21st July 2015 – Smart phone & tablet SatNav integration

We’ve just rolled out a few improvements, new features and bug-fixes…

wpid-screenshot_2015-07-22-15-28-43_20150723095517835.jpgSatNav integration for smart-phones and tablets is the main new feature, but there have been other improvements as well – see below for details.

For all platforms:

  • Fixed a long standing bug where buttons disappeared from info bubbles after editing a location.
  • Changes to the wording on the navigation button in the info bubble (now reads ‘Show Route’ to show the route on the map, then ‘Directions’ to show the text directions.
  • Clicking the ‘share’ icon in an info bubble when in Street View now shares the Street View rather than the map view of that parking location.
  • When viewing a Street View, the browser location bar will display an address which will link directly to that Street View – so you can share the exact view you are looking at simply by copying the address bar contents.

For desktop PC / Mac:

  • wpid-screenshot_2015-07-22-11-09-05.jpgInfo bubbles now contain a QR code link that will display a QR code for that parking location. Scanning the code with a smart-phone or tablet will give you the option of opening your SatNav application pre-loaded with that parking location as the destination.

For smart-phone and tablet:

  • Info bubbles now contain a QR code link that will display a QR code for that parking location. Scanning the code with another smart-phone or tablet will give you the option of opening your SatNav application pre-loaded with that parking location as the destination. Alternatively, tapping the QR code will also attempt to open the SatNav in the same way.
  • A button has been added to the top of the route directions view that will attempt to open the SatNav app on your device with the parking location pre-loaded as the destination.

The Web-API has been updated to include the new Street View linking functionality as well – so if you run a review site or a business with disabled / handicap parking nearby, feel free to link to the BlueBadgeParking.com Street View of the location to give your visitors an alternative view of the parking available.

What we are working on right now…

Testing, tweaking and improving

Just a short note to let you know that we’re currently working on improvements and additions to the navigation functionality for smart phones and tablets. More options and better integration are on their way.

We’re getting close so watch this space in the next week or so for a launch announcement.

[Don’t forget, you can now ‘Like’ us on Facebook as well as following us on Twitter for the latest site news]

Putting down routes and directing traffic

wpid-img_20150707_100425.jpgWe were so excited about launching this feature that we almost let it escape the development farm a week early…

We held on for another week of testing, though, and yesterday route display and driving directions went live.

When you click on any Blue Badge Disabled / handicap parking location on BlueBadgeParking.com you’ll now see an extra button – “Drive here”.

Click the button and a (usually wiggly) blue line will appear on the map indicating the route from your current location to the selected parking location.

Once the route is displayed, the “Drive here” button will be replaced by a “Show route” button.

Clicking the Show route button, or clicking on the blue route line will allow you to view a set of text directions leading you directly to the posting location.

This is just the start, though. We’re far from finished with this functionality and you can expect further announcements in the future about enhancements to routing and directions. We thought it was such a useful feature that we just had to get it released as soon as a working version was ready.