Designing maps applications for usability on mobile and desktop #io2011 #android #geo

Jez Fletcher

Luke Mahé

Defining “user experience”
Difference b/w desktop and mobile
Pain points

What is user experience
UI, layout, controls

1. respect the intent of the user
2. don’t give them a problem, give them a solution
3. ensure their experience matches their mental model
4. what is the intent of a user using a mapping application

What is desktop used for?
Sorting through information
Evaluating different options
Decision making

What is mobile used for?


Desktop vs Mobile
mouse vs touch
screen size and resolution – not as much real estate on mobile devices
location – hard to narrow on desktop

processing power
cache – browser is limited

Why do we care?
If the user experience sucks, people aren’t coming back

If _______ is done badly, the user experience sucks.

     Things not being where the user expects them to be
          Have the map and the content
          break out the content
          detailed info windows
          map or the content
          avoid info windows

     Trying to show too much

     Obstructing what the user is interested in
     Not giving them the info they want
     Breaking the mental model of the data

Controlling the map
     Breaking the mental model – not having desktop controls where users expect

     making interaction obvious
          mouse over/tooltips
          consistent buttons
          click vs touch
     removing functionality from mobile – don’t dumb down, simplify

     don’t break the mental model
     dragging is slow
     latency in dealing with requests

     Reliability data doesn’t show on the map
     Latency – don’t rely on single homed db 

     Sharing between desktop and iphone

          planning vs active
     sharing b/w people
          storing data
          sending this to friends

Map styling

Justin O’Beirne
Styling Google Maps for Data Overlays
“Styled Maps Using Google Maps API Version 3”
1. You can remove map elements
     NYT – 2010 Census

     Trulia – Price reduction map
2. You can simplify elements
     NYT – Mapping America
     WSJ – Champions’ Guide to the New York Marathon
     Google uses it for bicycle paths

3. You can modify the color of nearly everything
Goal: To bring your data front-and-center

1. Don’t be afraid to take stuff off the map
     Don’t hesitate to remove the maps roads if your mashup has nothing to do with navigation

     Be careful
2. Sketch out your ideas


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