2 small UI suggestions

Chris Pomeroy

Long time customer and happy with the service.

But there are 2 things that are super basic UI things I always stumble with when using Caltopo on web.

1-Changing maps.  I know you have that nice big orange button in the upper right corner, but "your data" for some reason never speaks to me as the place to go to find my maps.  I think of "your data" almost like a privacy policy link.  I always click around thinking "how to I change to another map????"  perhaps looking at how this text is phrased, or some way to make this more obvious that its the customer's "dashboard" or something might help alleviate this confusion.

2-Opening a different map.  I always click everywhere on the "Your Data" page trying to open my other maps but never can figure it out.  I click on the map icon, i click on the map title, I click on the date, I click on the pencil button which brings me to the ability to edit the metadata, but doesn't open the map.

Turns out you have to double-click... 

I know Google Drive and several large web based services use this click pattern -- one click to select or drag, two clicks to open -- but it's not very common anymore on the web, therefore I think you might want to reconsider it. 

The reason why I think this works in apps like Google Drive is because they open in a new tab.  This cements the behavior that a double click is needed. 

CalTopo, while a phenomenal mapping app, is still a one-page app, and not as complex as Google Drive, so I suggest taking another look at this... 

Perhaps moving the "One map is selected" callout after a single click to the top of the page would make it more obvious. 

Or perhaps making this "Your Data" page full page rather than opening in a modal window would make it more obvious to the customer that this is not a quick operation, but a place where drag/drop/organization takes place, making the double-click more obvious to the user. 

Another idea is in the edit metadata modal (change map title, etc.) you put in a big "Launch" button or link, so people like me can atleast remember how to open the map. 

After 5 minutes I remember there is a Right-click modal window which provides the option to open as a new window, but again, the mindset of the user with one, two, five maps is not to expect there is a right click, so it's not obvious to even try right clicking.  I never even remember to try and right click.

Either way thanks for listening to my rant!





1 comment

  • Comment author
    Zach Adam

    Hey Chris! Thanks so much for the feedback. 

    1. What you're describing is known as 'information scent', and I could see how the 'information scent' of `Your Data` could be poor. I could also see how it could give the scent of 'privacy policy' or 'cookie management' or something to that effect. We'll think about the wording on this and see if we can come up with anything better! Unfortunately it's not as simple as 'Your Maps', because there are several types of data that can exist within the 'Your Data' dialog, but we'll try to come up with something. There may be other ways to address this besides wording. 

    2. This feedback about the double click interaction echoes other feedback that has started to trickle in since we released the new version of the Your Data dialog. Candidly, we tried several different implementations of the 'open' behavior internally before settling on double-click. Despite our best efforts, it seems that it's still frustrating people. Addressing that frustration is on our roadmap, but I have no details at this time regarding what we'll do to address it and when those changes might occur. But we'll definitely be re-reading this feedback when we get around to making that change. You make a lot of interesting points about the context in which we're using double-click and how that context impacts user's expectations. For what it's worth there is an 'open' button in the 'info' ('i' icon) view of the Your Data dialog for maps/bookmarks/tracks/etc., though it sounds like that's not a place you find yourself navigating to frequently. 

    I need to note that we're a small team and we're working on several other projects at the moment, so I can't promise a timeline on any of this. But I want you to know that we're happy to listen to your 'rant', as it's full of insights about how you, and other users, experience our product. 

    Thanks again,


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