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    Designing Map UI? What makes a good Map Design? 

    28 February 2021

    Maps are nowadays crucial elements for many websites and applications. People are relying on their electronic devices like mobile and computers to get directions, explore and find different places. So, the design of a map must be easy to read for all users.

    Designing Map UI

    The user interface or UI design is responsible for the look of a website. To make the overall appearance of a website user-friendly, it is important to know the design from a user’s point of view.

    Maps may seem easy to design, but looking closely, you will find it much complicated. It has multiple layers of information to help the users find the specifics.

    This information can be divided into three layers:

    Base Layer: as the name indicates, this is the base where you display all the features.

    Feature Layer: this layer contains features with importance, which are typically placed on the top of the base layer.

    Control Layer: this layer contains controls to help users interact with the map.

    There are several ready-to-use mapping tools like Google Maps that can help you create a map for your website in no time. They contain various templates that you can use to build an attractive appearance for your map.

    Limit the number of colors: When it comes to designing, color is one of the most powerful tools. In any design electing the right color and using it appropriately is crucial. Not only do colors increase the visual appeal of a website, but it also boosts the user experience. 

    For map UIs, there are some rules you need to follow while using colors. Maps are sensitive, and they can often get messy if colors are not used properly.

    Always try to use a color palette with limited colors while designing a map. 10-12 colors of the full-body color palette are perfect to balance the visual harmony of a map. 

    To make it easy to identify for the users, always use the same hues of colors for similar features.

    Keep in mind that all people do not have a perfect vision. So, while selecting colors, make sure to select the proper contrast ratio for people with limited vision.

    Typography: Labels are essential for a map. The readability of the labels is important for a successful UI. To ensure good readability, you can use sans serif fonts with a spacing of 120‌‌‌% to 145% point size. Writing the road labels in uppercase also increases legibility.

    Contrast: Contrasts are used to draw attention to the emphasized elements of the map. It determines how well the interactive elements stand out from the base map. In most cases, the background of the map has subtle colors while elements with emphasized importance are highlighted with bright colors. It helps the users to keep their attention to the focus point.

    Visual hierarchy: visual hierarchy is a major point when it comes to mapping UI. It is needed to increase understanding. Visual hierarchy in a map can be achieved using texts or colors. You can make the text bold, light, and normal, or you can use light and bright colors to establish visual hierarchy. 

    Information density: Information density is important to save users from being overwhelmed with information. Users visit maps to get information, but too much of it can get terrifying. So, the best way to engage users in a map is to reveal less information at first and then go into details once the user stats interaction. 

    The importance of icons: Along with other important elements, map icons help strengthen map comprehensibility. Make sure that you use icons that are familiar to the users so that they can recognize the intention immediately. The size and scale of the icon should also be legible. Finally, make sure to use icons with similar visual styles for better aesthetic value.

    Creating both light and dark themes: For better legibility in any situation both dark and light themes should be incorporated into a map.

    Predictable controls: Digital maps are easier to use than traditional printed maps for their real-time user input. Controls should be put within the bounds of the maps to make it easier for users to understand their purpose. 

    A good map designed perfectly can be helpful for many around the world. It not only creates a delightful experience for the users, but it also shows them where to find you easily, enhancing the åbrand’s credibility.