Design & UX Tips for Maps – Patrick Arlt

Design & UX Tips for Maps – Patrick Arlt

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Talk about mapping application design at Dev Summit 2014

On Github patrickarlt / dev-summit-talk-design-concepts

Design & UX Tips for Maps

Patrick Arlt

Experience Developer - Esri Portland R&D Center

@patrickarlt -

Why Make Maps?

  • To help people find things
  • To help people make decisons
  • To visualize information

Lets find the… Nevermind…

Map Portals… Not even once

Not Just Map Portals

Lets go to the park… Not…

Some Real-World Metrics

Single-Topic maps get 3 times the traffic of the traditional Map Portal

Lession: Be consice your map should do one thing well.

People Actually Interact with Balloon Content

Lession: Don't neglect your popups.

People Rarely Change Default Map Settings

2% of visitors changed basemaps, 0.5% used fullscreen.

Lession: Less is more. Reduce your tools and layers.

People Look Up Info on Maps, and Leave

Auto completing search is key. Average visit was 1:43.

Lession: Get users in an out as fast as possible.

Only 12% of users browse information for more than three geographic features during a single visit.

Lession: Users care about a single feature.

  • Reduce noise
  • Let there be search
  • Pages for individual features
  • In and out at NASCAR speed
  • Focus on a single topic

Treat Everyone Like An Idiot

  • You
  • Your Users
  • Your Coworkers
  • Your Boss

Learn How Much

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Summit

1pm-6pm Wednesday

Santa Rosa/San Jacinto

Your design is C.R.A.P!

C is for Contrast

R is for Repetition

If its good enough to put on the page once its good enough to put on there again.

  • Show popups on hover AND click?
  • Filter a map AND and a list?
  • Introduce shortcuts and keyboard commands?

A is for Area

Are the biggest things the most important?

P is for Proximity

How far apart are important elements? How long will it take a user to find them?

Design Is All About Balance

Ugly is Good

Remember Me?

Good and Bad


  • Single focused mission
  • Individual pages for features
  • Search first design


  • Search is really hard
  • Maps are klugdy
But my boss wont give me time to design something!

- You - Right Now

UX Fund

In 2006 TeeHan+Lax invested $50,000 dollars in 10 companies they thought enbodied good design and UX.

One year later their investment matured 39.3%. Better then NASDAQ, The S&P 500, and the NYSE.


Twitter : @patrickarlt

Slides :