Digital map is one of the most indispensable tools in our daily lives; it grounds us, guides us, helps us to discover new places and virtually delivers us into a far-away places through rich 3d imageries. During the first 2 years (2013 Jan – 2015 Jan) at Microsoft, I had an opportunity to wander around the world of maps and design numerous features for Bing maps and Windows 10 maps app. Please take a look at a collection of selected experiences I once was deeply part of.
WINDOWS 10 : TRANSIT (2014)
Not everyone drives and it’s not always straight forward to figure out the best way to arrive at the destination via public transportation. To minimize the cognitive load in selecting the best option that suits users’ need, Maps in Windows 10 emphasizes the most relevant information for transit users including “departing time”, “number of transfers” and “walking and waiting duration in-between stops” and enables people to find this information at a glance.
Not realized, but what I really wanted to push for the transit map was a simplified map that lies somewhere in between Harry Beck’s London Underground map and conventional geographic map. A map that depicts only the required details but neglect the unnecessary to minimize users’ cognitive load in processing location and route information.
Bing Maps Website Beta : Persistent Search (2013)
When we plan for an exploration ahead, we often time think about multiple, sequential stops. Such as I will visit this museum, and then this restaurant nearby. In this case, maintaining the previous search result on the map is helpful to understand the distance between and plan the route wisely. However, existing maps app do not support this feature, so we wanted to make our own in Bing maps website beta, and following is a video screen capture of the version released on 2014 June.
Every single place is more than a mere dot on the map. It is a living entity that has it’s own unique stories to tell. Detail card is an attempt to bring life to each place by integrating data from multiple sources including Satori, Bing’s knowledge repository, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Foursquare.
Windows 8.1 : STREETSIDE (2013)
Streetside provides a true-to-life 360-degree imagery you can explore to get a feel for a place and plan your activities. Travel along streets, view storefronts and parks, and navigate to destinations without an address by using landmarks and familiar spots as visual cues. It’s easy to see where you want to be, so you’ll never be lost again!
Entering to street-level imagery from a map canvas is usually an expensive operation, both technically and experience-wise. Offering users a way to preview street-level imagery before commiting to the full experience can save them time and improve the user experience. Streetside Lens offers a dynamic preview of street-level imagery that not only matches the user’s current map heading in a 3D environment, but also allows them to manipulate the heading of the street-level imagery preview in real time by rotating the map canvas view, resulting in a “portal” effect.