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.
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.
yeah i’ve seen a few like that (and done a few myself ). 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.
That map is no use to anybody navigating by keyboard or using a screen reader.
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.
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.
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.
can you ‘hide’ lists for screen readers without being penalized by google. similar to
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.
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.
Lists are the best for perception. It’s more organized view.
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