Maps vs lists


#1

Just wondered peoples thoughts on the use of interactive maps vs a list format.

We run events around the UK which can easily be shown on a map. We offer both a map and list view but put the list view first. I am wondering if Map first approach is now better.

I know lists will load faster but do people prefer maps these days? 3G etc is faster these days as well.

any thoughts/links to research much appreciated.


#2

I think it depends on how many markers there are on the map and how quick/easy it is to zoom in and move around the map.

I have to say I find the following map (from the Samaritans UK website) pretty useless as there are so many markers and they overlap too.


#3

yeah i’ve seen a few like that (and done a few myself :blush:). recently though on some projects I’ve used clustering code to group dense areas into a few markers until you zoom in, which seems to work quite well.


#4

That map is no use to anybody navigating by keyboard or using a screen reader. frown


#5

good point. If there was a clear link e.g. ‘Click here to view events as a list’ which then led to a page with all the events then i guess that would be ok for the accessibility side of things.


#6

I’ve worked with only a couple of map scripts - Google Map and OpenStreetMap - but not enough to figure out if there was a way to scale the markers based on the map zoom level. What looked OK zoomed in had overlapping when zoomed out. And when I made them smaller to look OK when zoomed out, were too small when zoomed in and got harder to see amidst the features. In the end it was a matter of compromise so it looked half-OK whatever the zoom level.

I was able to get much better results using the QGIS app, but AFAIK it doesn’t have a “save for web” feature.

That said, if I were interested in an event, I would want to be able to see / find the location without much trouble. “around the U.K.” sounds like a lot of territory is being covered. I don’t know how easy it is to get around the U.K. but I probably wouldn’t be interested in events I would have trouble getting to. So I would look at the map to see if there was an event near me, then if there was one, look at the table to see the details.


#7

I’m not sure what can be done with Google Maps and the likes, I have not had a serious look at the API in a while.
But with a custom map you can use an html list element with the “pins” as list items, so as far as screen readers are concerned the map is a list. If the items contain anchors they will be tabable on the keyboard.
It may get complex on a dense map that needs zooming, but a sparsely pined map than can be a static image is not so difficult.


#8

can you ‘hide’ lists for screen readers without being penalized by google. similar to <noscript> tags?


#9

You can have the text labels for the pins “off-screen” to visually hide it so you only see the pin. Then you could if you like bring it back on-screen on hover/focus.


#10

ah yes that’s a good idea. will have to investigate as it’s been a while since i’ve built a map and our organisation now seems to like openmaps over google. don’t know why as to my mind google is likely to be more powerful. but hey ho.

thanks all


#11

Lists are the best for perception. It’s more organized view.