Map Design

Design Overviews

6110.2 - Evaluating Map interactivity design process

Thursday, July 6
8:50 AM - 9:10 AM
Location: Coolidge

Map design can be assessed and analyzed using the point of view of interaction design. HCI literature adapted for Cartography domain introduced the interaction design process, which related research investigates not only the map interface use but also the target domain by taking a user-centered approach to map construction. This means that users' concerns and demands direct the development of the cartographic representation rather than technical ones. In addition, interaction is about the process of making some form of manipulation at first possible, then effective and finally, enjoyable. In the case of interactive maps, there are some gaps to be fulfilled, one of them related to the role of interaction in efficiency of map use.
Once maps became interactive, getting closer to a permanent stage of construction – just as in GIS environments – there is a rising interest on how map design can consider this process and how it could be more effective or produce insights more often. Maps are full of possibilities, including all the appropriations mapmakers could not foresee at the time of map construction. These products are not finished devices, which intention of use is clear. And we still do not know exactly when interaction means betterment of the map use. In fact, more interaction does not always imply in better results (Dou et al, 2010).
Our hypothesis is that not only the complexity of use but also the learning curve for the cartographic interface can be related to the implemented interaction tools. Furthermore, the way these tools are presented and designed at these interfaces has the power to modify knowledge and decisions made with support of these maps. In order to measure these aspects, we designed a set of user tests to evaluate interactivity tools in interactive maps. The user tests were designed for different use contexts and different user’s characteristics, and results have to be analyzed together.
Considering the use of maps to solve basic map tasks, i.e. map reading and map reasoning, we designed the evaluation in several levels of complexity. For example, by comparing different proportional symbols, we can identify if the use of a specific type of tool correlate with effectivity; by comparing decisions made with the support of under-demand changes in symbology and without it, we can measure these tools desirability in map reasoning processes. All the user tests seek to evaluate the HOW and WHAT adapted aspects of interactivity tools (ROTH, 2013), isolated and combined, in order to have statistically correlated results.

We list these aspects in a simple model, developed to classify map interaction by its potential complexity. The structure points out common functions (WHAT) and input capabilities (HOW) for interaction with a cartographic interface, considering at least one of each side feature for these products. These elements should be understood as a continuum from ‘use’ to ‘modify’ (WHAT) and from ‘low DoF’ to ‘high DoF’ (HOW). Thus, each category would be of similar nature. Each topic has particular concerns and varying degrees of design/evaluation complexity. As the category changes, more complex interaction is expected and consequently more design/testing should be employed. The same when functionalities are mixed out. The goal is to encourage this structure to be tested against several contexts, users and objects, in order to answer where and when interaction complexity is desirable.
Expected results can show if there is a relation between the grouped functionality interaction tools. Moreover, if different groups of users are influenced not only by the degree of complexity of the interaction but also by its design. This may allow the development of more friendly and natural interactive map tools.

Luciene S. Delazari

Professor
Federal University of Paraná

Dr Luciene Delazari is a Senior Lecturer in Cartography and GIS at Federal Unviersity of Paraná. She is he Head of Graduate PRogram in Geodetic Sciences and Editor-in-Chief of Bulletin of Geodetic Sciences. Her research interests focus around geoinformatics, Cartographic interfaces and interactivity and mapping.

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Andre Luiz Alencar de Mendonça

Assistant Professor
Universidade do Estado do Amazonas

André holds master’s and doctoral degrees in Geodetic Sciences (specifically Cartography and GIS) from Universidade Federal do Parana ´
(UFPR) . He teaches at the Amazonas State University and works as a consultant in maps, surveying, environmental, land-use management and monitoring projects for government agencies. His academic research focuses on use and user issues for maps; spatial cognition; cartographic legislation; interactive maps; FOSSGIS; spatial databases and applied geotechnologies for sustainable development of the Brazilian Amazon.

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William Cartwright

Professor
RMIT University

Professor William Cartwright AM is Professor of Cartography in the School of Science at RMIT University, Austtralia. He teaches in th fields of Cartography and Distributed Mapping. His major research interest is the application of integrated media to cartography and the exploration of different metaphorical approaches to the depiction of geographical information.

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