jack feng _1094930_

					Jack Feng (1094930)
CS 290B

Section 2: User Interface and Interactivity

2.1 User Profiles:

Beginners: Beginner users may include those who have little or no knowledge of the inequality
map concept, or those who use the website for the first time. For example, a beginner user may
be someone who wants to know how population is distributed around the globe, but has no idea
how to use the system to get that information.

Intermediate: This group of users may include GIS students, journalists or community workers
who work with inequality maps. They have general knowledge of both the interface and
inequality maps, and they want to use the data obtained from the maps for their own purposes.
Some general tasks these users would perform include comparing indicators between countries,
analyzing how indicator changes within a country over time and downloading the inequality map
data in different formats.

Expert: Expert users may include researchers and trained professionals doing global inequality
researches. They use these websites frequently and demand short response time. Tasks these
users perform may include spotting global pattern, anomalies and causes of inequality.

2.2 Tasks:
In this section tasks from different websites are compared. The websites being discussed are UC
Atlas, Gapminder, NationMaster, The World Bank and Worldmapper. Users of inequality map
system usually perform one or more of the following tasks:

Comparison between indicators within a country: Gapminder allows easy comparison
between indicators within a country through scatter plot. UC Atlas and NationMaster also allow
easy access to this functionality. These websites are all effective in this task, and can attract users
from all levels.

Comparison between indicators for several country: Gapminder provides intuitive, interactive
and easy-to-use interface for users to compare up to 4 indicators between countries using scatter
plots. UC Atlas, NationMaster, Worldmapper also allow user to compare between countries
easily, but the interface is less interactive, and only 1 indicator is compared at a time. The World
Bank also supports this functionality, but users require a little more navigation through the
interfaces in order to find the information. As a result beginner users may be more attracted to
using Gapminder for this task.

Comparison between indicators for a country over time: Both UC Atlas and Gapminder
support easy user interface for access to this functionality well. Users at all levels should be
attracted by both websites. However some beginner and intermediate users might be more
attracted by Gapminder because of its interactive animation functionality. The other websites
either don’t have this functionality, or the information is buried under layers of interface.

Comparison between indicators for several countries over time: All users should find both
UC Atlas and Gapminder helpful for this task; Both websites provide easy access to the
information. However they might like Gapminder better for its interactive animation. The other
websites are less supportive in this feature, and may be less favored by users at all levels.

Obtaining list of indicators: UC Atlas, Gapminder and NationMaster all provide effective
interface for this task. The other websites either don't have this functionality or the information is
hard to get.

Global pattern: This task is tied with comparing between different countries. Both UC Atlas
and Gapminder are useful in performing this task.

Finding anomalies: The websites currently focus more on finding general trend among
countries. However they did not provide useful tool for finding the anomalies in those countries.

Cause of inequality: The websites are mostly focused on letting the data speak for themselves.
However explanation for why inequality exists is an important task and users should be able to
find the answers to their questions easily on the websites.

2.3 UI design rules:
Successful user interface design should aim at achieving the following criteria:
shortening learning time, increasing speed of performance, decreasing users’ rate of errors,
maximizing retention over time and increasing users’ subjective satisfaction. The following
includes a discussion of the pros and cons of the interfaces for each websites which affect the
effectiveness of the websites.

UC Atlas provides good coverage over a large source of data, and it provides an interface that is
easy to understand. It can attract users at all levels. However beginner users might be
disappointed by the lack of visual design.

Gapminder has great visual presentation and interactive user interface, which is appealing to
beginner and intermediate users. However it might not appeal as much to expert users since there
is not enough depth in the data.

NationMaster has a broad breadth of data, but its interface is a little more complicated to use than
the others. So the website is more appealing to intermediate and expert users than to beginner

The World Bank doesn’t have an interface providing easy access to inequality map and gra ph, so
it might be less favourable to users at all levels. However it is more suitable for intermediate and
expert users since it contains a large amount of data.

Worldmapper provides easy interface to access the maps, so it might be favoured by beginner
users. Intermediate and expert users might want more data than those available on the site.

Expert users might not be attracted to any of these websites since none of them provide shortcuts
for frequent tasks in their interfaces. Websites that permit users to create presets of inequality
maps or cache users’ frequent map visits may be a plus to expert users. Besides, expert users
might be disappointed in these websites because they are less useful in finding anomalies and
causes of inequalities.

There are a few principles which evaluate the effectiveness of a system. The following table
compares the websites with the principles that are relevant to designing a global inequality
website. Consistency means that the layout need to be consistent. Informative feedback is the
feedback users get upon each action. Internal locus of control means users should feel they are in
control when using the system.

               Consistency     Shortcut for Informative       Internal locus Reduce short-
                               frequent users feedback        of control     term memory
UC Atals       No              No             Yes             Yes            Yes
Gapminder      Yes             No             Yes             Yes            Yes
NationMaster   Yes             No             Yes             Yes            No
The World      Yes             No             No              No             No
Worldmapper    Yes             No             Yes             Yes            Yes

Designing the User Interface, Ben Schneiderman

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