Giving directions

When you give directions, it’s important to remember that you know where listeners are, and to use that information to keep things simple and conversational.

The part of the tutorial that explained choosing locations suggested that you imagine using arrow signs, with nothing but instructions to turn left or right, but another way to think about giving directions is to imagine talking to somebody over the phone, while they walk. We’ve all had conversations like this:

Listener: I’m standing at the corner of Long Street and Wale Street.
You: Okay, face the mountain and turn left.
Listener: Okay, I’ve turned, and I’m walking past a church now.
You: Just past it, you’ll see the entrance to the Company’s Garden. It’s a brick-paved avenue. Turn right when you get there.
Listener: I’m on the brick-paved avenue now, and I’ve walked up a bit. I can see a small gate off to the right.
You: Go into the small gate to your right, and up ahead you’ll see a tall tree. I’ll meet you there.

Look at the conversation again, and you’ll notice that everything the listener says is telling you where they are. With VoiceMap, their GPS receiver is doing exactly the same thing, and if you place locations carefully, your directions can be equally simple and conversational.

Two Examples

The first, with all the directions to the next location given at once


Walk until you reach the corner of Example Avenue and For Instance Street. Cross at the lights and turn north. After three blocks, look for Anywhere Lane on the right. Follow it for about a minute and you’ll see Some Place on your left. Go inside it and have a look around! It’s really worth your time. Carry on now, and in about 300 meters you’ll get to Some Other Place.

The second, with the directions split up to play at different locations


Carry on walking now.
Cross the street here, at the lights, and turn left.
Turn right here, onto Anywhere Lane.
Some Place is on your left. You can go inside if you like. When you’re ready to leave, just carry on up Anywhere Lane.