At the end of 2009, Toyota Motor Europe decided to create a pilot website which would be entirely optimized for mobile devices. The goal was to create a full mobile version of the website instead of a scaled down, simplified version of the current website. Location-based services are one of the great advantages of the mobile internet, so on top of a fully database driven car configurator, it was planned a Google Maps API Premier based “Dealer Finder” for the mobile site. The pilot site http://www.toyota.de/mobile/ went live on time, and all of the main site Dealer Finder applications were migrated to Google Maps successfully.
It was decided to use Google Maps on both main and mobile sites for many reasons:
- The website visitors are already familiar with Google Maps and were very comfortable with using it
- One major goal of the redesign was to increase location-based information on the website
- The Google Maps API is open, to allow customize the application easily when creating international websites
- Version 3 of Google Maps API Premier is especially suited to be used for mobile sites and desktop web alike
The mobile website was tested in a usability lab with very good results. It also received very positive comments on the advanced features such as the car configurator and Google Maps based Dealer Finder.
Toyota Motor Europe, based in Brussels, provides central content, websites and applications to all of Toyota’s country sites in Europe. Thirty-six of Toyota’s European country sites are built and hosted at Toyota Motor Europe. Manuel von Rahden, marketing manager for e-services, and Michaël Notté, IT project leader, explain how Google Maps API Premier allows the marketing team to define the direction of the website and allows the developers to easily implement the website design.