Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Shadow on the Map


Since the first release of Google Maps sixteen years ago the user interface tools of interactive maps has changed very little. The '+' and '-' buttons used for zooming in and out on the map has pretty much been a constant feature. As has the use of a search box (so that users can quickly find a location on the map) and map layer buttons (so that users can switch between satellite and road map views). 

Over the years the designs of these navigation tools have adapted and changed a little but the basic UI has remained essentially the same. Another user interface feature which has changed very little in the short history of online digital maps is the design of the mouse pointer. It is therefore surely time to revolutionize the appearance of the humble mouse pointer - to change the boring small white arrow into something larger and more dynamic. 

Let me introduce you to Willy Maps' Shadow Arm.Shadow Arm is an interactive online map on which the traditionally arrow mouse pointer has been replaced with the shadowy outline of an arm, hand and pointy finger. The result is a map with far more visual impact. A map where much more emphasis is placed on the location being identified by the map user. The mouse pointer even changes to a flat hand when the user is panning the map so there can be no misunderstanding that a location is being pointed to while the map is being moved.

I'm guessing that Shadow Arm was released at least partly as a joke. However, as an ex-teacher, I can assure you that the Shadow Arm map could be a useful tool for the smart board during whole class teaching. 

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