New Years Resolution: More Usable Mashups!

Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 11:34:00 AM

We're always blabbering on this blog about code this, program that. Well, having a working and functional map is good and all, but what about having a map that users actually enjoy using? Translating geospatial information into a small 2-d space on a webpage isn't trivial and comes with lots of questions, such as: What do you do when some of your markers are distributed across the world, and others are clustered in one tiny area? How can users navigate logically through a space where panning left/right/up/down and zooming in/out are all options? What do you do when you have too many markers? How can you have the map UI be consistent with your site's current design?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answers to all those questions. But, when I was asked to give a talk at the Silicon Valley Web Builder User Experience Bar Camp last fall, I figured I'd put some of my observations about Maps UI/UX into a presentation and share it with that group. The slides are embedded below, or you can view them in full screen glory. The youtube video is here (and yes, I know, I need to learn to not let my elaborate hand motions interfere with the mic). This is a short presentation -- so help me add to it. If you have opinions or relevant links on this topic, please post them in the group or trackback to this post. Now that we've mastered the technical side of Google Maps mashups, let's move on to improving the usability side.