Maps are often relegated to the footer of a website page like an afterthought. If they’re lucky, the user will only have to scroll 4 pages down to stumble upon them. And then? The map is usually so far disconnected from the main body of the content, that it bears no relevance.
But, have you ever stopped to consider that maps could be more powerful than images or text alone? The old saying goes that an image tells a thousand words – but a map tells a million more.
Maps are not simply for using when you are lost. Nor are they just for getting you through a traffic jam. You need to stop thinking of maps as a way of getting you from point A to B, and rather as a storytelling device capable of inviting discovery and sparking a desire to explore. It is a stage on which to build your story, layering images, videos, narrative, tips and tales.
From maps, we can also communicate place, context, and relativity – all very powerful elements that cannot be underestimated. Content without context can feel detached from reality, and so, is more difficult for your audience to connect with. A goal from any form of online content should be the opportunity to ask your audience to take the next step, to become engaged in some way. To do this, your reader must first feel a connection with your content.
So, is it enough to embed a map within your content? Our research shows that the higher up the page – above the fold – generates higher engagement and time on page. By leading with your most powerful visual asset – your map – you are helping your readers make sense of what they are about to view. You are giving them a snapshot of your story, and inviting them to delve deeper.