THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PANORAMIC MAPS DESIGN: A PRELIMINARY STUDY BASED ON MOBILE EYE-TRACKING
Keywords: use and user representation, mobile eye-tracking experiments, effectiveness and efficiency in map design, mountain cartography
Abstract. This paper presents preliminary results from an ongoing research based on the study of visual attention through mobile eye-tracking techniques. The visual-cognitive approach investigates the reading-comprehension of a particular territorial representation: ski trails maps. The general issue of the study is to provide insights about the effectiveness of panoramic ski maps and more broadly, to suggest innovative efficient representation of the geographic information in mountain. According to some mountain operators, the information provided by paper ski maps no longer meets the needs of a large part of the customers; the question now arises of their adaptation to new digital practices (iPhone, tablets). In a computerized process perspective, this study particularly focuses on the representations, and the inferred information, which are really helpful to the users-skiers to apprehend the territory and make decisions, and which could be effectively replicated into a digital system. The most interesting output relies on the relevance of the panorama view: panorama still fascinates, but contrary to conventional wisdom, the information it provides does not seem to be useful to the skier. From a socio-historical perspective this study shows how empirical evidence-based approach can support the change: our results enhance the discussion on the effectiveness of the message that mountain operators want to convey to the tourist and therefore, on the renewal of (geographical) information in ski resorts.