GEOG 468
GIS Analysis and Design

Lesson 13: Geospatial Systems Design and Human Factors


This lesson attempts to introduce to you the basic concepts that describe people with respect to designing geospatial technology for them. I describe this aspect of people throughout this lesson by speaking about users. This lesson could easily be a semester-long course on users, human-computer interaction, human factors, or interface design. There is a wide range of issues, and while I cannot cover them all here, you should be prepared by this lesson to learn about these additional issues and know how to put them in context of a geospatial system.

As Tonda Bone and Dena Johnson state in their article, little has been done in the way of delimiting key human factors that mediate an individual’s use of a GIS to solve spatial problems." Understanding the individual factors of interaction should determine how designers approach system development. This lesson addresses the important skill of user interface design. Students learn how to design a spatial system user interface that will provide a means by which the user can interact with the application to process inputs and obtain outputs. The lesson introduces the role of operating systems, Web browsers, and other technologies that impact user interface design. These factors and a number of human interface considerations and guidelines are presented along with several strategy styles for designing the user interface for a system.

Lesson Learning Objectives:

  • Distinguish between the types of users.
  • Apply human factors to the design of a spatial system.


If you have any questions now or at any point during this lesson, please feel free to post them to the Threaded Discussion Forum. (That forum can be accessed at any time by clicking on the Communicate tab, above, and then scrolling down to the Discussion Forum section.)