The Importance of Local Information Exceptions

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Local information exceptions can be a crucial aspect of user experience. For example, living in Chicago, you may happen to know that Illinois State Route 64 is also called North Avenue. But public signage in this area heavily favors the street name, and displaying the IL-64 label at all depths, as Apple Maps does (see below), is potentially quite unhelpful when trying to identify cross-streets within the city limits.

Apple Maps screenshot displaying North Avenue with IL-64 label.
North Avenue in Wicker Park, as displayed in Apple Maps.
Screenshot displaying North Avenue in Google Maps.
North Avenue in Wicker Park, as displayed in Google Maps.

While the experience of using Google Maps can be more brutal in other ways, in this instance (see above), zoom in closely enough (roughly 1000ft/unit level) and you’ll see North Ave primarily labeled instead of 64. This approach splits the difference somewhat, suggesting to the user that the street is part of a broader system, without obscuring its more specific information.