Friend or Foe Version 2 – How To Guide
The Friend or Foe site is now easier to use and navigate, and I hope it is still pretty self-explanatory, but just in case, below is a quick How To guide.
First, you will notice the large map area. No more wasted screen space! You can use the mouse to navigate. Double clicking will zoom in (double right clicking zooms out), and the mouse wheel can also be used. To move the map, just click and drag it. You can also use the built in controls on the left side of the map.
Second, the Legend on the right side is interactive. You can click on a rating type and the map will then filter to only show those that match. Positive include Very Positive and Negative includes Very Negative places. The Show All option will display all places.
Because there are so many markers in some places, they are now grouped when you zoom out on the map. This allows slower browsers and machines with lower amounts of memory to function reasonably well. Internet Explorer is still the most sluggish of the bunch, and you’ll probably see a message warning about a slow running script if you use that browser and zoom all the way out and disable clustering. The problem really lies with IE’s poor performance (choose another browser and you will see it is pretty speedy compared to IE), and I encourage you to try Firefox, Chrome or Opera. You’ll be glad you did.
There’s also a Business Name search box above the Legend. This allows you to filter by name. Just type in a complete word (it doesn’t have to be the full business name, but does have to be a complete word) and press the Enter key. To remove the filter, just delete the text in the box.
At the top of the right side there is the Show List display option. Check the box to show a listing of the markers currently displayed on the map. On Internet Explorer, you won’t see a sorted list…sorry, it just isn’t playing nice right now. Use any other browser and you’ll have a nice alphabetical list.
You can also disable and enable the clustering function, but be warned, too many markers (zoom out too far) and your browser may not be happy. Better to leave the clustering on and zoom in or use the list to see what’s around.
Changing Map Locations
The Find Me! link at the bottom will center the map on your location if your browser supports geolocation. Most mobile browsers do and even some desktop browsers can get pretty close based on your ISP location. No location information is saved on the server, only on cookies on your device or computer. If your browser doesn’t support geolocation, you won’t see the Find Me! link, or it may appear and just not work. A partial list of supported browsers is below:
Google Chrome (version depends on OS)
Opera (since 10.60)
Internet Explorer (IE 9+)
Safari Mobile (iPhone OS 3.0+)
Android (Android 1.6+)
The Quick Jump box to the right of the Find Me! link allows you to enter a ZIP or City, State to jump to on the map. Simply type in where you want to go and hit the [Enter] key on your keyboard.
Getting Details about a place - You can click a marker on the map or list to get details about that place. You can zoom to a place on the list by clicking the small colored marker that is to the right of the place name.
Finally, if there is a problem with a place, use the Report an Issue link to select an issue type and provide some details about what is wrong.
Adding markers is an entirely new -and hopefully easier- process. Start by clicking the Add Rating menu option.
Start by moving the map to the general area of the place you want to rate. This can be done here or the main home page, as the location is saved each time you recenter the map. Make sure you are zoomed in pretty close to the location. The search radius is pretty small, so you’ll need to be close.
Then, simply click an area on the map that is close to the place. You will get a listing of all businesses at the area you clicked. Many times, the one you are interested in is in the first list.
If not, you have some options. The easiest is to click again in a little different spot. Sometimes the place is a bit off on the google database and so you’ll have to click where they think it is.
If that doesn’t work, there are a couple other options on the top right pane.
Use the radius option to search a smaller area right where you click. The google results only show 20 places at a time, so sometimes there are just too many more popular places nearby and yours doesn’t come back in the results. A smaller radius may fix this.
Other times when that doesn’t work simply add part of the place name in the Name text box. This must be a full word, but may be only part of the actual business name. Ex: “red” will find Red Lobster and Red Robin Burgers.
After you have the place returned in the results and it is on the map as a yellow marker, click on it to get the details for it and display the rating form on the right side pane.
This should look very familiar. A notable addition is the Password field. If you want to remain anonymous but still manage your additions, supply a password and you will be able to use that to manage all ratings that have that password. (This feature isn’t ready just yet, but will be soon) It is important to use a unique password, as anyone that guesses it will be able to manage your additions, so don’t just put in “123.” Leave it blank if you don’t want to bother with editing later. There’s a new “Report an Issue” feature for problems discovered so it’s not critical that you manage the ratings once added.
The rating text is now required, so put something in there and click the Add Rating button. Your new addition should show up on the map.
To add a rating to an existing place, simply click the existing place marker and add the rating. No searching required.
Places Not In the Google Database
Sometimes, a place has not been entered into the google places database yet. This is usually a smaller establishment or home based business.
Since the Friend or Foe site currently uses the google database, if the place you want to rate does not exist it will need to be added to the google places database by going to this website: http://google.com/placesforbusiness
Unfortunately, it is now only business owners that can list places in the google directory. You must be the business owner, or you risk your google account by adding places you don’t control. I am working on a way to allow places to be added that don’t exist in google.
If you are the business owner, you can use the google tools at the above link to create a listing for businesses, and once it is added to the google database, they will become available in the Friend or Foe site for rating.