Cartographic Design for Mobile Devices: a Case Study Using the UW-Madison Interactive Campus Map
Davidson, Brian David
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Despite their omnipresence in today’s society, mobile map design is poorly understood. Very few scholars have put solid research into what is now one of the most popular ways for mobile phone users to understand where they are spatially. Across those who completed the experiment, participants performed better when the maps were at a larger-scale setting. These yielded the best response times and most accurate results. For the amount of generalization, participants performed better overall while using the map display for wayfinding tasks and the satellite map for identification tasks. As stated earlier, little research has been done to determine the appropriate settings for mobile maps, how they should be used, and user preferences when operating a mobile map. This experiment was designed to provide insight into how to design for mobile maps as well as create a positive experience for the user. The following set of mobile map design considerations were collected from both formal insights from, and informal observations during, the experiment: • Choose highly salient landmarks for points of interest and basemap references. • Design for use across weather conditions • Larger-scale maps are the appropriate default for mobile maps supporting pedestrian use. • Allow users to remove the blue locator dot. • Prioritize labeling in mobile map design. • Design for heavy variation in data connections. • Include a routing feature. • Support map rotation. • Make audio directions available. • Start participants on the ‘Map’ view. There are still many unexplored facets of mobile mapping, including how people use them, what functionality should be available, and how well participants can operate a mobile map while under stress. This research was designed to reveal the basic design considerations when developing for mobile maps and to open the possibilities for future research on the topic of mobile map design.