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Usability Engineering For OSM - SOTM 2007
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Usability Engineering For OSM - SOTM 2007


Presentation from State of the Map 2007.

Presentation from State of the Map 2007.

Published in Technology
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  • 1. OSM and the public - what barriers need to be crossed? Muki Haklay
  • 2. Content
    • Fundamental challenges with digital maps
    • Usability Engineering – few concepts
    • A user-centred design for OSM
    • Getting to the masses
  • 3. Why digital mapping hard to use?
    • As Identified by Traynor and Williams (1995) ‘Why GIS are hard to use?’:
      • GIS is complex: it is based on knowledge from Geography, Cartography, Databases, Statistics, Computer algorithms and data structures…
      • Requires users to have or acquire considerable technical knowledge in order to operate the computer system
      • Data structures and information also rely on multiple concepts .
  • 4. There are many ‘accidental geographers’…
    • There are around 2m users of GIS in a client server environment, over a million who use it on their desktop computer, and perhaps a further million in other sectors, including software developers. About 4m GIS users, spread over around 2m sites (Longley et al., 2005, Ch.17)
    • ESRI (2000) estimated about 500,000 users of its products world-wide
    • And add to this the users of sat-nav, GPS mobile phones, users of consumer grade GPSs…
    Source: Unwin (2005) ‘ Masters of what? Educating the GI labour force’
  • 5. What do we know about their skills?
    • Guesswork follows:
      • Very heterogeneous, from PhDs in other sciences to what Mike Goodchild calls ‘Google hackers’
      • Motivations for working with digital maps are many
      • Most have no previous contact, formal or otherwise, with academic Geography/Geomatic Engineering
      • Most of the don’t care about this skills and learn about them slowly, or not at all
    Source: Unwin (2005) ‘ Masters of what? Educating the GI labour force’
  • 6. The core challenge of usable GIS and digital maps
    • On one side: relatively complex technology, bringing in concepts from many areas
    • On the other side – lots of people with interest in everyday Geography, but without the knowledge of ‘technical geography’
    • Many of them with very limited technical knowledge
  • 7. OSM users now
    • About 8000 users, contribution to the map in various of ways from few segments to a whole city
    • About 400 users with higher commitment (OSM Talk, other mailing lists)
    • Smaller number of developers (50-100?) dealing with a range of issues (cartography, software, database, ontology)
  • 8. Potential OSM users
    • Because OSM is about communitysourced geodata and not about programming:
      • The 2m GIS users mentioned above but also …
      • Tens of thousands of Geographers worldwide (around 12,000 graduate of Geography in the UK and US every year) but also …
      • Millions of School children worldwide (only in the UK there are over 7,000 Geography teachers)
    • So how we get them engaged?
  • 9. Rogers model of diffusion of innovations Crossing the chasm – move from early adopters to early majority is more tricky and requires adaptation of the product Image source: Wikipedia
  • 10. Challenges
    • Over time:
      • More users join with less technical skills
      • The sophistication of the database and the tools (JOSM, Potlatch) Increases
      • Jargon also plays a role (How do you pronounce OSMarender)
    • Need to avoid alienating the majority…
    • Majority is silent: on wikipedia 99.8% lurk, 0.2% contribute very little and 0.003% are the most active
    Technical skills Time Users Sophistication
  • 11. Challenges (2)
    • Also over time:
      • The scope of technical flexibility diminishes (decisions about tags, data structures)
      • Learning curve lengthen
    Technical skills Time Technical scope Length of learning
  • 12. Is Usability Engineering useful for this challenge?
    • HCI aims at enhancing the quality of interaction between humans and computer systems within the physical, organisational and social aspects of the users’ environment
    • Usability Engineering aims at meeting software users’ requirements so that they can carry out their tasks ‘safely, effectively and enjoyably’
  • 13. Usability Engineering
    • Usability engineering is one of the more practical elements of HCI research. It attempts to measure a system’s usability in terms of its:
      • Learnability
      • Efficiency
      • Memorability
      • Error rate
      • User satisfaction
  • 14. User-centred Design/ Development/ Deployment
    • A concept that emerged in Usability Engineering/HCI research in the 1980s.
    • Creating systems and tools that take into account the user’s needs, skills, abilities, limitations and wishes.
  • 15. Types of usability and users
    • Programmer usability : Google Maps API vs. ArcObjects API
    • Administrator usability : Linux GUI Control Center vs. cd /etc, vi
    • Power user usability : Linux GUI Control Center vs. phone a sys admin
    • End user usability : Google Maps vs. Streetmap
  • 16. OSM Task 1 – Getting the data in
  • 17. OSM Task 1 – Getting the data in
    • Main task: creating the map
    • Users: highly computer literate, highly motivated (current cohort)
    • Technology is a challenge, not an obstacle
    Image source: Microsoft and OSM
  • 18. OSM Task 1a – Getting the data in
    • With the introduction of Yahoo! Imagery, there is the potential to engage new users.
    • Potential users: map enthusiasts, got Internet connection (and time)
    • However, there are obstacles:
      • Sophistication of Potlatch
      • Help and introduction
      • Undo/Redo function
      • Moderations (future spam)
    Image source: Microsoft and OSM
  • 19. OSM Task 1b – Getting the data in
    • N95, iPhone – and the new generation of GPS-enabled phone
    • Needs:
      • Very easy data entry
      • Basic data collection (not more then 2 minutes per item)
      • Easy upload and update
      • Applications exist – but can you give it to a school teacher?
    Image source: Microsoft , OSM, Nokia
  • 20. OSM Task 2 – Getting data out
  • 21. OSM Task 2 – Getting data out
    • Over the web: mashups, API
    • End user: GIS
    • End user: Geogadgets
    Image source: Microsoft and OSM
  • 22. OSM Task 2 – Getting data out: GIS
    • Users profile:
      • Can’t afford/don’t want to use commercial data.
      • Likely to be in a small organisation (private, charity, commercial).
      • Likely to have basic GIS (ArcView, Mapinfo, Manifold GIS)
      • Likely power users to end users, very limited technical support.
    • Needs: easy to use download area
    • Potential source of revenue?
  • 23. Image source: OSM
  • 24. Paper maps vs. computer maps Image source: A-Z
  • 25.  
  • 26. OSM Task 2 – Getting data out: Geogadgets
    • Users profile: end users. No technical knowledge.
    • Needs: easy to use automatic download, in formats that are suitable for their Geogadget
    • Require: high coverage, licensing
    • Implementation: likely by Geogadgets vendors
    • Source of revenue?
  • 27. OSM Task 3 – updating data and adding additional information
  • 28. OSM Task 3 – updating data and adding additional information
    • 3-5 years from now (well, right now for NL)
    • Users profile: end users, discovering errors while using a derived product
    • Needs: very easy way to record and inform the change, moderation required.
    • Maybe a scope for change intelligence sub activity?
  • 29. Solutions
    • As OSM gets more sophisticated, ensure that newbies are included in testing of tools – they are the future of the community
    • Develop applications specifically to newbies so they can develop their understanding and skills
      • Example: an application that picks streets information with street name for a start, providing more functionality as the user graduates
    • Who will develop these applications? (they are not necessarily cool and cutting edge)
  • 30. Summary
    • OSM got an amazing potential for outreach
    • Usability principles and user centred design can help in ensuring the long time success of the project