Usability and GIS – why your boss should buy you a larger monitor Muki Haklay Department of Civil, Environmental and Geoma...
Content <ul><li>What is the problem? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are GIS hard to use?  </li></ul><ul><li>What is usability? </li...
The problem with GIS <ul><li>Vendors’ press releases state ‘usability improvements’ and ‘ease of use’ but actually push fu...
Why do we end up with this?
Why are GIS hard to use?
Why are GIS hard to use?
Why are GIS hard to use?
Why are GIS hard to use?
Why are GIS hard to use?  <ul><li>As Identified by Traynor and Williams (1995): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GIS is complex: it i...
GIS – organisations and people <ul><li>Nancy Obermeyer (2000) suggested that:  ‘ … an organization implementing its first ...
Many ‘accidental geographers’ <ul><li>Around 4m GIS users, spread over around 2m sites (Longley et al., 2005, Ch.17) </li>...
The challenges of usable GIS <ul><li>Complex technology, bringing in concepts from many areas </li></ul><ul><li>Not all us...
Making GIS Usable: Usability Engineering  <ul><li>Usability engineering is the output of Human-Computer Interaction resear...
Memorability?
Learnability ? Source: Coddinghorror
Error rate/user satisfaction Anita Adendorff (South Africa) wrote at 8:07pm on August 29th, 2007: “ At least yours still h...
Efficiency/error rate/learnability
Usability engineering for GIS <ul><li>Dealing with the fundamental problems of HCI and GIS </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting tha...
 
Paper maps vs. computer maps
 
Map are about context, not about locations <ul><li>Maps are different sort of information from a list of search results or...
Computer maps <ul><li>Zooming in, out and panning are not part of what the user want to do (task), they are ways to overco...
Source:  Skarlatidou, 2005
The size of the map matters
Comparing productivity <ul><li>Use exactly the same task (find files, create a map) </li></ul><ul><li>Run on a small monit...
Results Large monitor Small monitor Differences: 69% more operations on a small screen  and additional 2 minutes...
Map size and productivity  <ul><li>Requesting users to send a snapshot of their screen in the middle of their working day ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Findings <ul><li>GIS users tend to use higher resolutions. </li></ul><ul><li>More experienced users are using bigger maps ...
Summary <ul><li>GIS is difficult to use for good reason, but made harder by lack of ‘usability culture’ of vendors  </li><...
Summary <ul><li>When designing GIS interfaces, pay more attention to the map, give it all the area of the screen that you ...
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Agi 2008: Usability And Gis

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your Boss should buy you
a larger monitor'. See povesham.wordpress.com for the full paper.

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  • Agi 2008: Usability And Gis

    1. 1. Usability and GIS – why your boss should buy you a larger monitor Muki Haklay Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCL
    2. 2. Content <ul><li>What is the problem? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are GIS hard to use? </li></ul><ul><li>What is usability? </li></ul><ul><li>Usability engineering for GIS </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of screen size on productivity </li></ul>
    3. 3. The problem with GIS <ul><li>Vendors’ press releases state ‘usability improvements’ and ‘ease of use’ but actually push functionality over interface </li></ul><ul><li>GIS users find it difficult to switch between products - and can’t perform basic operations on a GIS </li></ul><ul><li>Many GIS experts are employed to produce basic maps </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why do we end up with this?
    5. 5. Why are GIS hard to use?
    6. 6. Why are GIS hard to use?
    7. 7. Why are GIS hard to use?
    8. 8. Why are GIS hard to use?
    9. 9. Why are GIS hard to use? <ul><li>As Identified by Traynor and Williams (1995): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GIS is complex: it is based on knowledge from Geography, Cartography, Databases, Statistics, Computer algorithms and data structures… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires users to have or acquire considerable technical knowledge in order to operate the system </li></ul></ul>Traynor and Williams (1995) ‘Why are Geographic Information Systems hard to use?’
    10. 10. GIS – organisations and people <ul><li>Nancy Obermeyer (2000) suggested that: ‘ … an organization implementing its first GIS is less likely to have great familiarity with the technology, a clear idea of the qualifications that will best meet its needs, or the expertise and experience to evaluate the candidates who apply’ </li></ul><ul><li>This later type of organisation is rapidly becoming the norm </li></ul>Source: Unwin (2005) ‘ Masters of what? Educating the GI labour force’
    11. 11. Many ‘accidental geographers’ <ul><li>Around 4m GIS users, spread over around 2m sites (Longley et al., 2005, Ch.17) </li></ul><ul><li>ESRI (2000) estimated about 500,000 users of its products world-wide and around 50,000 full time GI professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Most with little or no training in GIS, Geography, Cartography or Geomatics </li></ul>Source: Unwin (2005) ‘ Masters of what? Educating the GI labour force’
    12. 12. The challenges of usable GIS <ul><li>Complex technology, bringing in concepts from many areas </li></ul><ul><li>Not all users and developers can be expected to take degree programmes in GIScience </li></ul><ul><li>Over 40 years of development, leading to a rich set of functions and applications. Many of them complex and sophisticated </li></ul>
    13. 13. Making GIS Usable: Usability Engineering <ul><li>Usability engineering is the output of Human-Computer Interaction research. It attempts to measure a system’s usability in terms of its: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learnability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Error rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User satisfaction </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Memorability?
    15. 15. Learnability ? Source: Coddinghorror
    16. 16. Error rate/user satisfaction Anita Adendorff (South Africa) wrote at 8:07pm on August 29th, 2007: “ At least yours still has the decency to apologize! Mine crashes without any indication leaving me wondering for 5-10 minutes whether it's just taking ages to open the doc or if it has called it a day. I have become VERY familiar with consulting the task list. Ag man, dis als so boring!” Source: Facebook, F*ck you, ArcMap!
    17. 17. Efficiency/error rate/learnability
    18. 18. Usability engineering for GIS <ul><li>Dealing with the fundamental problems of HCI and GIS </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting that the user community as it is – do not assume a ‘GIS driving licence’ </li></ul><ul><li>Methods should be easy to implement, cheap and relevant for the developers and users </li></ul><ul><li>An example: some basic aspects of computer maps that we seem to ignore </li></ul>
    19. 20. Paper maps vs. computer maps
    20. 22. Map are about context, not about locations <ul><li>Maps are different sort of information from a list of search results or URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Maps are about context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Showing the information over background map </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing the reader enough area to see the context </li></ul></ul>
    21. 23. Computer maps <ul><li>Zooming in, out and panning are not part of what the user want to do (task), they are ways to overcome the abysmal resolution of computer monitors! </li></ul>
    22. 24. Source: Skarlatidou, 2005
    23. 25. The size of the map matters
    24. 26. Comparing productivity <ul><li>Use exactly the same task (find files, create a map) </li></ul><ul><li>Run on a small monitor (1024x768) and on a large monitor (1920x1200) </li></ul><ul><li>All actions were video recorded and analysed to measure pan and zoom operations </li></ul>
    25. 27. Results Large monitor Small monitor Differences: 69% more operations on a small screen and additional 2 minutes...
    26. 28. Map size and productivity <ul><li>Requesting users to send a snapshot of their screen in the middle of their working day </li></ul><ul><li>Examine what they are using and how their screens look like </li></ul><ul><li>Analysing how many applications are running, size of task bars etc. </li></ul>Source: Zafiri, 2005
    27. 39. Findings <ul><li>GIS users tend to use higher resolutions. </li></ul><ul><li>More experienced users are using bigger maps </li></ul><ul><li>In GIS, the map area ranges from 70% to 25% </li></ul><ul><li>ESRI users: smaller map area (average 56%) more inactive toolbars. </li></ul>
    28. 40. Summary <ul><li>GIS is difficult to use for good reason, but made harder by lack of ‘usability culture’ of vendors </li></ul><ul><li>GIS Usability knowledge exists within the research community, and differs from the knowledge of general usability consultants </li></ul>
    29. 41. Summary <ul><li>When designing GIS interfaces, pay more attention to the map, give it all the area of the screen that you can </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, your boss should buy you a larger monitor – it will pay back in productivity </li></ul>

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