Michael Gaigg: Über UI/UX Design

9May0

Start calling your Web Map “Map App”

Posted by Michael Gaigg

I design map applications for the web. I talk a lot about it but I just don't seem to find the right term for it. Should I call these applications "Web Map"? "Web Map Application"? "Mapping Application"? "Map Application"?

I decided to let my decision be driven by the people and what they are used to. Therefore I turned to Google Trends to match the terms against each other.

Mapping Application vs. Map Application

First I compared "Mapping Application vs. Map Application" (Figure 1). The shorter Map Application was the clear winner. The term mapping just doesn't seem to fly.

Mapping Application vs Map Application

Figure 1: Mapping Application vs Map Application

Map Application vs Web Map

So I decided to match the winner (Map Application) with the common term Web Map (Figure 2). While Web Map is clearly the favorite it's also evident that the term itself is on the decline which made me think whether another term is actually on the raise.

Map Application vs Web Map

Figure 2: Map Application vs Web Map

Map Application vs Map App

If Map Application cannot hold up, how about the short term "Map App"? As Figure 3 shows this expression has only been around since 2008 but it really seems to have taken off in Q2 of 2010 and has outranked the longer brother (Map Application) quite considerably ever since. I wonder how "Web App" would match against Web Map.

Map Application vs Map App

Figure 3: Map Application vs Map App

Map App vs Web Map

Now this comparison looks very similar to Figure 2 (Map Application vs Web Map) - just a little closer. We did expect that since Map App measured better than Map Application. The comparison (Figure 4) already hints us towards the term Map App, but let's zoom into the past 12 months to have a closer look.

Map App vs Web Map

Figure 4: Map App vs Web Map

Map App vs Web Map (past 12 months)

That's a really close call. It seems like the two lines in Figure 5 are converging. Is this good enough to call a winner?

Map App vs Web Map (past 12 months)

Figure 5: Map App vs Web Map (past 12 months)

Map App vs Web Map (past 12 months, USA only)

By looking at the individual regions though, I saw that the USA - which is our main market - looks slightly different. Figure 6 shows that the term Map App is actually already more popular in the USA than across all countries and languages.

Map App vs Web Map (past 12 months, USA only)

Figure 6: Map App vs Web Map (past 12 months, USA only)

Conclusion

At this point I think it's too close to call it a clear winner, but what we've learned is that

  • it's safe to remove the term "web" from map
  • the term "map" is better than "mapping"
  • the trend leans toward Map App, so let's start calling your Web Map "Map App".

What do you think? How do you call your map apps?

2May0

Highlights of Week 17/2011

Posted by Michael Gaigg