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Bing_Maps New_Map_Style_FINAL

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									A Guide to Bing Maps
      July 2011 Map Style Update
                                                                                                                                                      Bing Maps are rarely seen in isolation.
                                                                                                                                                      In fact, roughly four out of five people
                                                                                                                                                           who see a Bing Map on any given
                                                                                                                                                      day will see it with data plotted on top
                                                                                                                                                           of it (whether that data is a route,
For millions of users, Bing Maps is the first choice for                                                                                                      pushpins, traffic information, or
online mapping services. Designed to be quick and                                                                                                                             something else).
easy to use, Bing Maps helps people get the
information they need to make decisions quickly –
like finding the nearest ATM or exploring a destination
before taking a trip. For businesses, Bing Maps is
a powerful, flexible platform for connecting their
                                                                                             A New and Improved Look For Bing Maps
customers with their physical locations, visualizing
business data, or tracking assets like trucks or cargo.                                      With PCs on virtually every desk and GPS-powered         This process has brought us to today, where we are
                                                                                             smart phones in our pockets, maps have become an         releasing the latest update to the Bing Maps base
                                                                                             integral part of our lives. But as more and more data    map style—what you will see when you go to
Based on customer feedback, we continually hone and enhance our services to make it          becomes available to enhance maps, things can get        http://maps.bing.com or one of the thousands of web
an easier and more intuitive tool for users and a great platform for developers and          more complex, more cluttered. How do you add more        sites that have chosen Bing Maps starting in early July
businesses to build great mapping experiences. It all starts with our base road map style,   useful information while making it easier for users to   2011.
the foundation of what a user sees when using Bing Maps. This document highlights the        find what they are looking for?
changes we are making to our base map style as Bing Maps continues to evolve.                                                                        So what did we change?
                                                                                             Since its beginning Bing Maps has been following a      Simply put, we made things easier to see.
                                                                                             comprehensive process to improve and enhance the
                                                                                             user experience by improving the visual interface–
                                                                                             from the layout of the page, to the placement of the
                                                                                             controls, to the base map style itself. This process
                                                                                             always starts by listening to users—their wishes, their
                                                                                             pain points, their ideas on how to make things better.
                                                                                             We make changes based on their feedback, we run
                                                                                             experiments, we try new things, and then we listen
                                                                                             some more.




                                                                                                                                                                                                            2
Before and After




                   Based on many phases of usability testing we’ve made dozens of changes to
                   improve our base road map style. The result is a new style designed to commu-
                   nicate more important information at a glance. For instance, primary roadways
                   are denoted in a more distinct color, one way streets are more clearly marked,
                   and road shields are more visible. We’ve worked to optimize the map style to
                   fit the way people most commonly look at maps online—with data layered on
                   top of it. Moreover, we continue to break new ground with our venue maps of
                   interior spaces like shopping malls and airports.

                   Let’s look more closely at the changes. >>
                                                                                                    3
Providing a Canvas
With Bing Maps, we want to make it easier for people to
complete tasks when working with our maps (e.g. finding
a store near them, finding a hotel near a point of interest,
getting and following directions to a destination).
For our business customers, we want to make sure your data is the focus
of attention, so we’ve intentionally chosen a cool color palette to give
the audience the context they need, while still allowing your data layer
on top to stand out.

Let’s see how this works in practice.




                                                                           Warm versus cool                      Driving directions               Red-yellow-green

                                                                           The old axiom that cool colors        What is most important to        A red-yellow-green scale is one
                                                                           recede and warm colors                the viewer always pops out       of the most popular choices for
                                                                           advance holds true. Notice how        because of the contrast to the   showing data on a map. You’ll
                                                                           your eye is drawn to the orange       base map style.                  see it often when overlays are
                                                                           pushpins, showing how a                                                used. For example, here’s a map
                                                                           business’s data would stand out                                        with traffic speed data plotted
                                                                           on the maps.                                                           on it.




                                                                           Because of the predominance of these colors on overlays, we
                                                                           concluded our base map should not use primary, fully saturated
                                                                           colors to avoid the chance that the viewer could be confused.
                                                                           Other mapping providers use a base map with lots of saturated
                                                                           yellows and greens. It’s not hard to imagine the challenges with
                                                                           identifying yellow for slow traffic with a yellow road not showing
                                                                           traffic data.

                                                                           The bottom line: color should not cause confusion! >>                                                    4
                                                                                                                                                                2                        5


Greater Clarity
One of the primary objectives of                                                                     1
Bing Maps is to make important things
easy to find. To do that, we’ve made a
number of key improvements.
                                                                             4                                                     3                6




 1                                   2                                   3                                    4                                     5                                         6



Casing for all roads                Road type differentiation           New one-way arrows                   New color for water                   Distinction between building and          Making type more legible
                                                                                                                                                   road colors
New casings on every road prevent   Higher contrasts and more           Larger arrows make it clearer when   Water shows up as a deeper hue                                                  Enhanced glow on all type
roadways from blending with back-   saturated colors make it easier     a street is one way.                 of blue. Not only is this easier to   Previously roads and buildings            improves legibility.
ground colors.                      to distinguish road types and                                            see for the general user, but helps   were both grey. Now roads are
                                    instantly recognize main                                                 improve visual contrast for color-    cased and building colors are a bit
                                    thoroughfares versus secondary                                           blind users.                          cooler to provide more contrast.
                                    roads. Heavily trafficked streets
                                    show larger type.




                                                                                                                                These improvements also apply to overlays—where map data
                                                                                                                                is displayed over aerial photography—so the user experience is
                                                                                                                                consistent (and consistently better).




                                                                                                                                                                                                                         5
Levels of Detail
Bing Maps provides 18 or more levels of zoom.
Remarkably, each level of zoom is its own unique map.
Or think of it this way—we have one map of the entire
world for each level of zoom. Because of this, the
amount and type of detail shown at each level is an
important consideration.
Show too much detail and the map becomes cluttered and hard to interpret, show too little
and the map does not fulfill its purpose. In addition, it is important to understand what
people use different levels of detail for. If you are trying to determine the distance between
London and Birmingham, the location of public transportation is probably irrelevant, but if
you are trying to find the closest tube station to Buckingham Palace then it is critical.

The goal is to find the right balance, and towards that goal we’ve made some
improvements that help fit the right content onto each map:




                                                        More scalable shields                                       Moving data to different zoom levels               Fitting long road names

                                                        Roads, landmark names, transit icons and other im-          We’ve improved the placement of map data based     Labeling short streets with long names is always a
                                                        portant symbols now scale easily at any magnification       on zoom levels. For example, based on usability    design challenge (this often happens in European
                                                        level, creating a better user experience versus bit-        studies, we discovered that showing building       cities). New scalable type formats helps solve this
                                                        mapped images. Transit and landmark icons become            silhouettes at level 15 was overwhelming for       problem by fitting more text in a smaller space.
                                                        clearly visible as users reach greater levels of magnifi-   users, so they now appear at level 17 where they
                                                        cation on the map.                                          are more helpful.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                             6
Density Determines Data
Bing Maps now has a smarter way to
show information based on population
density data.
For example, the American city of Burlington, Illinois (with a population
of roughly 500) is prominently labeled because the surrounding area is
sparsely populated. It’s fairly easy to display more information on a map
without creating clutter. However, if you were to somehow pick up the
entire town of Burlington and drop it into densely populated northern
New Jersey, showing that same level of detail would quickly overwhelm
the viewer, making it unusable.




                                                                            Bing Maps now provides detail based on population density, so informa-
                                                                            tion is shown at the appropriate level of zoom, and that information
                                                                            varies depending on location. This is another way Bing Maps is working
                                                                            to put the maximum amount of useful information on the map without
                                                                            causing clutter.



7
Country-Specific Shields                                             Off the Beaten Path                            It’s What’s Inside That Counts
Most countries use unique road shield                                Bing Maps provides more detail than            Bing Maps is more than just roads and
icons; all are instantly familiar to residents                       ever on hard to find roads. Now, parks and     spectacular aerial shots. It’s about finding
and certainly something they expect to                               forest roads along with unpaved roads          what users need. For businesses this opens
see when searching a map.                                            have their own unique styles to make them      a world of possibility.
                                                                     identifiable on the map.
We’ve improved our country-specific road shields for the following                                                • We’ve added maps for more than 300 of the largest shopping malls in
countries and regions:                                                                                              the US for on-the-go users, and are adding airports worldwide for
                                                                                                                    travelers making a connection or looking for a bite to eat on a layover.
Australia               Hong Kong               Romania
Austria                 India                   Sweden                                                            • Finding an attraction within a destination is one of the top things
Brazil                  Israel                  Switzerland                                                         people look for when exploring travel options. This makes venue maps
Canada                  Japan                   Taiwan                                                              more important than ever.
China                   Malaysia                Thailand
European Union          Mexico                  United Kingdom                                                    • Our research has shown that 30% of searchers have searched for a
Germany                 New Zealand             United States                                                       resort, large retailer, or shopping mall in the past year. Increasingly we
                                                                                                                    can show maps of multi-floor buildings and building entrances, so you
                                                                                                                    know where to park.

                                                                                                                                                                                                 8
A Note of Thanks to Our
User Community
These enhancements to Bing Maps are truly customer-driven—due in large part to a devoted community of users who provide us with feedback and work with
us to improve the interface and usability of the product. From Streetside to Photosynth® to Bird’s Eye views, some of Bing Maps most inventive improvements
come directly from customer feedback. Today’s Bing Maps is no different, and we’re excited to bring these enhancements to users and businesses alike.

For more information, visit http://www.microsoft.com/maps.

								
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