We covered Naan Map back in 2007 here. Since then it had gone into a deep sleep since it was probably a side project, but recently Mudassir Azeemi and his team have launched the site with newer interface and new enthusiasm.
The use case is simple, every time I have to visit US the thought which disturbs me most is what am i going to eat for the few days I am there, last visit each night I had to suffice with Vegetables And Salads (That too with limited choices of dressings).
First about the site itself, itâ€™s fairly simple to use, the user interface gives you two boxes, one to tell you what you want to eat and second tells you the area you are looking around. Putting in these two should bring out restaurants from their data base, the content is being populated from user or peoples input, and result is shown in a map. UI is clean simple no complex forms, member ships etc.
Some things they can add are
They should consider distance in providing the results, as I learned in my trip the Desis are willing to travel up to 2 hours for good food, so if lets say its a Saturday morning and i want to eat good nihari, i should be able to tell or filter out results based on distance from my zip, maybe i am willing to drive a couple of hours maybe i want to walk so this should be an option, Google maps provide this by default so i guess it can be hooked up.
Some kind of notification mechanism, if lets say today there are no listed eateries in or near my area, i should be able to give my email address some where and naanmap should be able to provide me a notification when a place near mine opens up or gets listed (So lets say i get an email saying a nihari outlet just got listed want to try it out). It will give a two way benefit, one i wont have to visit the site every day to check this, second and most important it will give naan map a targeted add platform, here is the deal i am customer who wants to try out a niharee outlet, if you are some one opening such a place what would you spend to get to me directly instead of posting on local new papers, if Naan map can say hey guess what I have 50 people waiting and will give a direct notification to them, guess you would be more than happy to pay for sending out this info, maybe a discount coupon an opening sweet dish etc.
Power of them scaling quickly would be ability to generate the content from community if they can get this part right they would quickly outgrow the competition..
Competition wise they have one already in market zabihah.com already is providing these plus they have probably a bigger database because of their time in market. Where they have an advantage is that the UI is cleaner.
The naanmap team was gracious enough to take time out to answer few queries I had (And I am really thankful because at launch time you donâ€™t even have time to sleep) here is Q & A
G n W> Tell us about the team behind naanmap.com?
Naanmap> Qurtaba LLC is the team behind the NaanMap.
G n W> If i see your profile correctly you are a UI Experience expert, how does that play a role in the design of naanmap.com?
Naanmap> It is actually User Experience, and yes it is theÂ core part of NaanMap’s parent company Qurtaba LLC. We thrive for the best experience, comparing from our Competitors like Zabihah and few others we did nail the right user experience from the start.
G n W> How do you plan to monetize this, i believe advertisement can be one aspect but have you thought about any other ways?
Naanmap> Yes so far we have a unique advertisement model, which won’t effect the user experience while they are searching. We will be offering it very soon
G n W> You are targeting a very niche audience inside united states, how do you plan to penetrate and market this to your target audience?
Naanmap> Market is already there, there is only one big player in this market, there website is full of advertisement banner spilled everywhere thus hurting the experience and annoying the user. We asked couple of friends and family memeber to do the search comparison before NaanMap officially launched response was marvelous and they totally love the NaanMap experience.
Thing is it didn’t matter if it gonna be easy to capture the share from the giant. however what we think is more important is to deliver the right experience to the right audience. By the way loads of non-Muslims are the big fan of Halal Restaurants n Stores, that’s the another reason we name it NaanMap, to get attraction from the non-Muslim audience too. Easy to remember and no-tongue twister
G n W> Is this amÂ community driven portal; because i did not see any place to recommend or add ha restaurant?
Naanmap> Yes it is community driven, at the moment we didn’t open the data related feedback interface. We are getting emails about new restaurants and stores and we are incorporating it.
G n W> also how do you plan to verify the submissions (How do you prevent some random user to come in an recommend a non-halal restaurant as halal)?
Naanmap> we have a team behind this procedure who does make sure about the data delivered to us.
G n W> what are next steps for this?
Naanmap> We are considering one community related Review system. However our approach will be different from experience point of view. Right now if you noticed most reviews system are not fun to read we are working on it and will introduce it when we will feel it’s ready for the prime time.
G n W> do you plan to expand this to other countries, which would be next choice?
Yes, we are considering some. But nothing is concrete yet.
G n W> Any advice for our readers in launching a community based website, any road bumps they should look out for coming from your experience?
Naanmap> Better get the product out in the market as soon as it’s core is ready, in case of NaanMap our core is search and display in a user friendly way. So we just launched it. Don’t go for perfection let say you want that there should be twenty-or-so features, stop right there. Revise your wants and keep your focus on core(need)Â keep repeating till you end up with 2-3 core item. Put all your strength and creativity on those 2-3 core items then you will see when you are done with it, you will see the best of the both world.
Also don’t waste too much time on asking and surveying what users want, they don’t really know until you show them. Follow your guts take baby steps and then build it. We at Qurtaba have that mind set. We respect user but we know exactly what is really missing and that’s where the NaanMap came in to being. As Henry Ford said “if I asked the user what they want they would demanded the fastest horse”
G n W> What are the current numbers for naanmap in terms of traffic and use base?
Naanmap>Too early to say yet.
Good luck to them, here is a link to their