zahid lilani

NaanMap: Making it Easier to Find Halal Restaurants & Stores

Halal is to Muslims what Kosher is to Jews. Majority of Muslims eat at restaurants that have a sign saying “HALAL.” Up until now there was only one website Zabihah.com that provided a list of Halal restaurants. The problem with Zabihah is that it tries to do a lot and ends up destroying the user experience.

NaanMap is trying to change all that by providing a user friendly interface for anyone to look up a Halal restaurant to dine at. I recently learned about the service and after following them on Twitter decided to DM and see if they would answer few questions of mine. Response was positive and I got to learn a lot more about NaanMap and the person behind it.

Mudassir Azeemi, who blogs at Bongeek, is the developer of NaanMap. He is a UI or User Interface designer and feels the same way about Zabihah the way I do, cluttered and confusing.

Following is his response to my questions:

Q: Who is behind NaanMap?
A: Qurtaba LLC Team owns NaanMap – it’s their product.

Q: Your biggest competitor is Zabihah.com with large market share. How will you differentiate yourself?
A: If you’ve been keeping up with NaanMap and Zabihah for the last couple of months, you would notice that the current Zabihah site is actually a shameless copy of NaanMap.

We are here to show a better approach to searching for halal restaurants and stores. We have many other things that are already in the pipeline and are quite different from what Zabihah is doing.

Sure, they may have a bigger market share, but NaanMap is pretty new. Our distinct advantage is the usability factor. In fact, we want to make this our core strength. NaanMap is simple and usable, not clumsy and annoying.

Q: What can we expect from NaanMap in future?
A: We plan to integrate many new and innovative features. For instance, we’ve noticed that the current review system on Zabihah is a total mess that wastes the user’s time and frustrates them. We have devised a solid and usable review system that we’re going to introduce pretty soon.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Keep in mind we are still in the process of innovating and refining the initial idea of NaanMap. This will take some time but it shouldn’t be for years on end. We are agile and our focus is on creating a satisfying user experience. The business owners come second. We know what users really want, and the market out there is big enough to cater to more than Zabihah or NaanMap.

Personally, I would like to see the following new features on NaanMap:

– iPhone App
– Reviews
– Ability to add new restaurants and stores without registering
– Facebook integration

NaanMap can do a lot more because of the vision it has to provide crucial (its FOOD) information in the simplest form. I wish them all the success.