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Testing the Usability of Interactive Maps in CommonGIS

: Andrienko, N.; Andrienko, G.; Voss, H.; Bernardo, F.; Hipolito, J.U.; Kretschmer, U.


Cartography and geographic information science 29 (2002), No.4, pp.325-342
ISSN: 1523-0406
ISSN: 1545-0465
Journal Article
Fraunhofer AIS ( IAIS) ()
Fraunhofer IGD ()
Geodata visualisation; usability evaluation; usability test; geographic information system

The paper reports on an experimental study aimed at assessing the usability of five different interactive tools for exploratory analysis of geographically referenced data implemented in CommonGIS. Usability was assessed in terms of tool learnability, memorability, and user satisfaction. The study provided valuable data concerning the usability of each individual tool; we also derived some conclusions relevant to geovisualization techniques in general. We found that users were, in principle, able to understand and adopt the new ideas of map interactivity and manipulability. However, these ideas needed to be appropriately introduced; people could hardly grasp them just from the appearance of the maps and controls. An introductory demonstration was sufficient to understand the purposes of the interactive tools, and a short training session enabled people to use them. The importance of educating users is a particular challenge for geovisualization tools that are intended to be accessed over the Internet.