Mona Bartling , Clemens R. Havas , Stefan Wegenkittl , Tumasch Reichenbacher and Bernd Resch
Mobile map applications are increasingly used in various aspects of our lives, leading to an increase in different map use situations and, therefore, map use contexts. Several empirical usability studies have identified how map design is associated with and impacted by selected map use context attributes. This research seeks to expand on these studies and analyzes combinations of map use contexts to identify relevant contextual factors that influence mobile map design usability. In a study with 50 participants from Colombia, we assessed in an online survey the usability of 27 map design variations (consisting of three map-reading tasks, three base map styles, and three interactivity variants). We found that the overall map design is critical in supporting map-reading activities (e.g., identifying a location on a map was supported by a simplified base map, whereas selecting points on the map was supported by a more detailed base map). We then evaluated user patterns in the collected data with archetypal analysis. It was possible to create archetypal representations of the participants with a corresponding map design profile and establish a workflow for modeling patterns in usability and context data. We recommend that future research continues assessing archetypal analysis as it provides a means for context-based decision-making on map design adaptation and transferability.