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NaanMap Makes the Search for Halal Food Mobile

May 23, 2011 12:01 am

 

By: Hyacinth Mascarenhas

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and asked the waiter, even before looking at the menu, “Do you serve halal meat?” You wait with baited breath and hopeful expectations only to be met with a courteous smile and a disappointing “No.”

This is often the frustrating reality for many Muslims in the Western world. Halal, which means “permissible” in Arabic, is a religious diet observed by Muslims that forbids the consumption of alcohol, even in cooking, pigs and any meat that has not been slaughtered according to Islamic law.

NaanMap.com, however, is one of the few websites that strive to make the search for halal restaurants and stores a simple click away.

Conceived in 2005, NaanMap.com was created by M. Mudassir Azeemi and Arjumand Azeemi as a ‘hassle-free halal food locator site with a clean, simple design.’

“I came to US around 2002, and then around 2003 my friend introduced me to a website used as a local halal restaurant/store finder. I looked at their website and, as a simple aficionado, I noticed it lacked usability from the ground-up,” said Mudassir Azeemi, Experience Director for NaanMap website and apps built under Qurtaba LLC banner.

Using friends, family and Yellow Pages to define and verify the parameters of these restaurants and stores, they began to sketch the simplest user-friendly interface to search for halal restaurants in their own local vicinity.

According to Vendy Award Winner Sammy’s Halal Food, NaanMap is ‘an excellent tool for customers to use to locate our restaurant chains. Not only is it easy to use, but now with its iPhone application, it’s a quick and convenient way to find us on the map!’

With limited advertisements and new social media features, NaanMap.com is certainly a popular tool for many. The iPhone and Windows 7 apps, launched in March 2011, even work without using the data-connection!

“I think it would be a great tool if ever in a new city and not in a GPS zone, I think it would be golden,” says Rika Prodhan, New York.

NaanMap is continually evolving and working towards a mobile initiative. This includes incorporating Canadian data, launching v1.2 next week and having world data available within a couple of months.

“We are here to provide users with the best and easiest way to find halal restaurants and stores,” says Arjumand Azeemi, IT Business Analyst for NaanMap. “We are experimenting with tons of things and introduce them to the user when the time is right.”

To visit:  www.naanmap.com

To follow on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/naanmap

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  • The founder’s reason for creating a completely new service for finding local halal restaurants is the lack of usability in the sites that already existed in the space (I think we can safely assume he’s talking about zabihah.com). In my opinion, their UI is just as bad, if not worse. Moving some elements around doesn’t mean you have created a new user experience.It took Zabihah.com over 10 years to create a database of over 10,000 restaurants and 12 million users. They are considered the Yelp or Zagat of the halal food industry. Taking that into account, I’m very curious to know about NaanMap’s growth strategy.

    • Asalamwalikumm,@saadmalik:disqus : ” In my opinion, their UI is just as bad, if not worse. Moving some elements around doesn’t mean you have created a new user experience.”Moving around some elements required some analysis and deep understanding of the user, and I would like your attention on this: http://blog.naanmap.com/post/578960129/good-artists-copy. There UI and the total user experience is pathetic and awful, it is NaanMap who is the trend-setter about the UI what you are seeing on there website. Please write it down somewhere and also visit the ‘archive.org” and check out the way they were abusing the user, and now trying to “catch-up” with the us.Zagat was before Yelp, right? However why the Zagat is not so popular to search for “around the corner” stores and restaurants as compare to Yelp? Reason is simple. First they Zagat charge you money, it is exclusive to the Restaurants & Store, where as Yelp is for everyone. However when it comes to check-in to the places, Foursquare & Gowalla leading and trending and then that piece become the “feature” is then available in Yelp, FaceBook. Facebook took 5 years to grow that big as compare to MySpace. However we are not competing with Zabihah and our strategy is totally different.There is always a growth point, if there was AltaVista, then after some time there is Google, and then now Bing. Things can get innovated, and things will innovated with the fresh blood coming in to the field and experimenting, and we are just setting the trend in the Muslim Community specially the Young Bloods, who are creative and energetic and can out-class the old ritualistic approach and provide the fresh air to the world and let everyone can sneak in to our food, not just “Muslims”. Thats the reason we chose the name “NaanMap”, where as telling someone there name takes some time (go do some usability study on it too)My friend idea is not owned by one company or couple entities, it is innovation that drives the trend and things ahead.About our Growth Strategy, we have couple of stuff under our sleeves and we will for sure display it to the world in coming days. First and foremost, this site will remain free of ad, this is my promise and Qurtaba LLC promise. We won’t put any “Netflix” or “Matrimonial” banner. Second we are not just working on the “data” only, there are few things already under-construction with our super-star team that will for sure make a big splash. However please do note, we prove this in the very monopolistic market that things can grow and can get innovated. So all younglings who are dying to do something different can step forward and show there magic, we don’t need “only one” site for something we need more different perspective and views and vision around us in that niche market that is about Halal Restaurants & Stores etc. etc.Here is an idea for someone who wants to do some magic and show the world about there creativeness, why not build a website where I can see the Mosques in such a way that I can also see there “Timings & Schedule”, do you have this courage about that type of Website? Where I click on the Mosque and see the updated schedule for prayer? Come on! There must be someone who should do it? Why I need to go to my local mosque website and see the listing there for the prayer timings? And more often it is out-dated. Why not the Consortium for Mosque in North America?See thats how the idea grows, lets encourage each other and grow together.W’salam,Mudassir, the NaanMap Dude

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