Why your web map sucks

alt Do you remember back in the good old days of early web development? We had neat things like marquees and “under construction” pages with real, moving construction worker gifs. Those things were flashy, maybe even cool? Only truly talented web designers could make these effects happen. Because, surely the more animation and movement a page had, the better it was. I mean that’s obvious, no? As a developer, I was motivated to show off my deep understanding of the blink tag.

And dude, my call to action button BLINKS, how can people not want to click it? Everyone’s going to sign my guest book now!

But since that golden age of HTML, we’ve learned some critical lessons. Here’s one:

Just because we can do something on the Internet, does not mean we should.

I’m not just talking about inappropriate photographs here, I'm talking about web development practices, design patterns and presentation interaction. We have learned that some things work well and other things don’t work at all. But, most of all we have learned that through the use of analytics we can employ experimentation and data driven design to increase the effectiveness of our web investments.

By making better design choices driven through experimentation, our web sites can make more money.

Geospatial has become an insanely big business. Web maps are a key piece of that puzzle. In many ways the web map or map platform is the tip of the geospatial spear. It’s where you are able to distribute or deliver a key piece of your business value. As consultants or internal business leaders we tell our stakeholders that we can “turn your business dial with better visualization”

Again, just because we can do something on the Internet, does not mean we should. There is a lot more to a good map than just being able to show a lot of data.

But we are challenged. Increasingly our data reserves are large (and growing), so we have more data to visualize. Increasingly we can transport large amounts of data to a mapping environment. Increasingly that mapping environment is competent at consuming the data.

What a quandary. Well, at Maptiks in response to this we started asking “what if?”

What if the mapping community could see how people used their maps? If we really want to “turn the business dial” shouldn’t we actually know what numbers are actually on the dial? What if we started asking our maps to convert? What if data could help us build better maps, like data helps the web community?

The result of that questioning is Maptiks. It's like Google Analytics for your web map.

We’ve built a way for map developers to get feedback on how users interact with their maps. Those developers also get to see valuable to performance data.

Business people care deeply about our ability to indicate where people are indicating with their maps. Are there hotspots of activity in LA or London?

We are changing the way business think about building maps, if you also want to build better maps for your users you should take a look at Maptiks,

Or, you could go back the blink tag?