How we're putting design thinking on the map
Whether it’s on our phone, our watch or in the car, most of us use online maps every day.
But how well designed are they? How intuitive (or frustrating) to use?
This is where the world of geospatial mapping meets the world of design.
The digital economy is booming and new and exciting apps with mapping functionality are released almost every day.
Such applications need to be designed for ease of use, and to cater for users whose web experience is guided by swiping left or right.
This rapidly-increasing audience can no longer be expected to wade through complex interfaces or wait more than five seconds for a map to appear on screen.
Yet there often seems to be a big divide between UX & digital design professionals on the one hand, and geospatial professionals and cartographers on the other.
ThinkPlace Senior Designer Laura Kostanski is an expert in this fast-developing field. This week she’ll be in Adelaide, helping to run Locate18, the peak conference for geospatial experts across Asia.
This year, the conference is incorporating elements of design thinking, debuting a new “Interaction Zone” that aims to bring the community of experts together with major users to explore key challenges and aspirations for the geospatial industry.
We caught up with Laura (pictured above) to see what’s in store. And what ThinkPlace is doing to apply design thinking to this growing field.
Q: Obviously there’s a design element to any piece of software, any app. What is it about design thinking that can really change the geospatial mapping world for the better?
LK: Geospatial is like any expert industry. It's filled with experts who have a passion and deep knowledge of their craft! Sometimes it can be really hard for experts to remember or understand what the novice experience might be like, and to know how to deliver systems and products that cater for general user needs rather than technical expert needs. There is often a disconnect between the people whose companies and agencies could benefit from a refresh of their geospatial systems, and the technical experts who can deliver these enhancements.
Design thinking offers a way for experts to come together with system owners and users to design mapping systems which are not only accurate and detailed, but provide a superb user experience and enhance the business processes of an agency.
CLICK HERE TO READ A WHITE PAPER ABOUT GEOSPATIAL MAPPING AND HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN CO-WRITTEN BY LAURA KOSTANSKI