So we’ve started a slack community for Maps UI/UX/Carto/DataViz. The group was born after organizing the UI/UX special interest group (SIG) meeting at 2017 Esri DevSummit in Palm Springs. 38 participants - partners, distributors, users – came not knowing what to expect but with questions that go beyond what Esri offers or teaches. So I thought: it takes a community to raise a child...
This slack community is a great place to:
- listen to our partners and users (be interested, not interesting)
- network and share with designers/developers from other mapping companies
- show our great work and cool stuff AND get instant feedback
- help others with their problems
Request an invite at http://www.designingmapinterfaces.com/patterns/join-maps-ui-ux-community-on-slack/ and feel free to forward to your buddies 😉
Please join https://maps-ui-ux-community.slack.com/ and participate. Hope to see you there...
Here the video for my talk about best practices for designing map applications on the web from Esri DevSummit 2015.
Every map application has two characteristics in common: it tries to solve a problem, and it needs a user interface (UI) to do so. This session presents best practices for solving well-known design problems and how to create easy-to-use and compelling interfaces. - See more at: http://video.esri.com/watch/4316/user-experience-and-interface-design-for-web-apps
Thanks once again for encouraging me to write this blog, this really keeps me going! THANK YOU!
I also started a blog about Map UI Patterns where I summarize and publish my experience by describing common patterns, principles, and practices when working with map apps.
Highlights from last year
- Web Mapping Application Interface Design Best Practices and Tools | Slides | Follow-up
My Tech session talk at the Esri DevSummit 2013 in Palm Springs, CA
- 10 Design Lessons learned from my Sons
- Top 10 Design Influencers
- The best way to predict the future is to shape it
Map UI Patterns
Starting into the new year with a short list of high quality links. As always, your feedback and suggestions are greatly welcome 🙂 Cheers!
- Cross Browser HTML5 Progress Bars In Depth (by Zoltan “Du Lac” Hawryluk)
- 15 Web Design Trends to Watch Out For in 2012 (by Jake Rocheleau)
- Profiling CSS for fun and profit. Optimization notes (by kangax)
- Google Maps: Designing the Modern Atlas (by Willem Van Lancker)
- Password strength verification with jQuery (by Jim Nielsen)
Maestros, at this point a quick note that I will be back writing my own content shortly (have quiet some stuff in my queue). So long, the highlights of week 6/2010:
- Paper iPad - you don't have the money for a real iPad? Make one out of paper 😉
- Using a Pre-Launch Checklist for your Website (by Ben Gremillion) - building a website is fun and believe me, it's funnier to follow a protocol. This one is a great start.
- Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy (by Derek Sivers) - Value your first follower, embrace him/her as equal, the rest will follow...
- If 1 of 5 users has a problem in a usability test will it impact 1% or 20% of all users? (by Jeff Sauro) - take observed usability issues serious, there are more than likely critical issues.
- Google Maps Get Labs With 9 Cool New Features (by Stan Schroeder) - nothing fancy when you work in a mapping company like ESRI, but probably a heck-full of work for google.
Following I will identify areas that make web-based maps inaccessible as per WCAG 1.0 (please see section: 'Questions and Possible Research Areas').
Shout for Help
Question: How can Internet Mapping Applications be made accessible for users with disabilities?
If you are currently working on resolving any (or all) of these issues, know of somebody that is working on them or even know existing solutions, I would greatly appreciate if you pointed them out to me.
It is absolutely impossible to continue with our current approach to seek exceptions as a 'work-around'!
It is important to note that I'm not talking about simple Google maps like driving directions or locate services that could be described through alternative, textual output.
Many times a map is the means to select, query, mix and eventually analyze data across multiple layers from multiple services. The input requires good vision and motor skills (mouse) and same applies to the output that is highly visual as well.
A simple example that illustrates this fact pretty well is shown in Figure 1, Drive Times from a specific location based on traffic grid.
Section 508 as explained by Authority 29 U.S.C. 794d: “Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.”
This law is extended and applicable to companies that develop applications for the agency, i.e. ESRI has to adhere to the Section 508 Standards.
The Section 508 Checkpoints were translated into Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which cover most of Section 508 and describe its implementation in terms of HTML & CSS.
So far, exceptions to this law have been granted for the specific case of online maps. It is believed to impose an ‘undue burden’ to the agency/contractor to make maps accessible. In many cases a 1-800 number was provided that would help the user to get the same information.
Questions and Possible Research Areas
Currently the following WCAG checkpoints are Level 1 (A) show-stoppers and need to be solved/researched/implemented:
Checkpoint 1: Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content
How to read a map when blind? E.g. redundant text for active regions/content.
Checkpoint 2: Don’t rely on color alone
Map application could provide different color schemes/black&white/shades of gray?!
Checkpoint 6: Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully
How to provide a map (or alternative) that can be used when scripts are turned off?
Checkpoint 8: Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces
Do not write event-handlers that rely on mouse-coordinates (device-independence; see also Checkpoint 9)
Checkpoint 9: Design for device-independence
How to navigate a map without a mouse?
Checkpoint 12: Provide context and orientation information
How to describe the content of a map (especially after a change, e.g. query)?
You know of a solution?
Please get in touch with me if you know of solutions to these problems!
I hope that solutions for these problems can be found and maps become available to everyone. As always, not only users with disabilities will benefit from these efforts but also the applications themselves, e.g. better SEO (search engine optimization), alternative support for mobile user agents, assistance for elderly people, etc.