The user experience on this page is close to being really smooth... there's just something that doesn't quite feel right, can't put my finger on it though.
UPDATE: New UX Changes - 31 March, 2010
Now here's the user experience
1) User hovers over a business in list, a small name label appears next to the associated marker on the map
2) User clicks a business in the list, the name label expands to show more info and a link to that business' page for more details
3) Repeat 1 and 2 if the user hovers over markers on the map
Bonus - If the marker is off the visible area of the map, the list will pan the map to the marker - otherwise, no panning.
(Also used Kuler for color changes and improved margins/spacing to make the map appear less cluttered.
What do you think now, better!?
Thanks for the help everyone, very much appreciated. This site rocks!
I find the entire layout uses its available space pretty ineffectively--making it very cluttered feeling even though there's ultimately very little going on--and the colors used seem to have been chosen completely at random with exceptionally repellant results
Even after reading your rather lengthy description, it took me several seconds to figure out what I was looking at, or what I was expected to do with any of it, and once I did, nothing enticed me to continue.
Assuming that your target audience has very few other places to turn to for this sort of information in their native language, you might not need to worry about designing a cohesive and compelling UI, but objectively, I think it's a rather poor effort that would drive people to the back button under normal circumstances.
I would suggest: More margins, fewer gradients, fewer cheesy drop shadows (just stop using the layer effects checkboxes entirely, really), better (or no) photography, and consult Kuler if you don't have any previous experience with color theory.
It all seems to work really well and there are some great features. The biggest problem for me is that the header is thin (ish) and centered, but the body is full width...that kinda looks weird. Same with the footer on short pages (e.g. page 6). I have a widescreen monitor and there are gaps approx 200 px wide at either side of the header...
It's like the middle (vertical middle) section of content has busted out of its container...
Nice one you have there. My only comment is that the resizing of the map height with the browser's window size is a bit awkward. Doesn't seems to be a fixed ratio. Anyway it's not really a big concern.
I'm used to getting a popup when clicking a marker, so going to a new page where the first prominent thing is "If you're trying to find AEON SATY Mall - Hinode, click here to view a map that you can use to find your way there." - especially as you return to a map which still has multiple markers without the one in question being highlighted, and the "get directions" interface is missing.
Also, the big red polyline (which I presume is the base) doesn't get erased when you zoom in - I ended up with a dozen versions of it at different scales on the map. (could be google's error)
At first I found it disorienting that mousing over panned the map. Then I liked it, then I noticed that the balloon that comes up on mouseover said to click it for details, then I tried and the pop up balloon disappeared.
I would highly consider making a click select the map point as opposed to a mouseover, and I would definitely make it so that the bubble stays up so it can be clicked on.
I know there are alternate means of getting to the same place, but you can never predict what your user will see/do first.