GEOG 468
GIS Analysis and Design

Summary and Final Tasks


The lesson is a primer in the critical and reflective questions about how geospatial systems users work with the technology being created. While there is some discussion, the lesson's focus is not about interface technologies since the choice of the technology changes rapidly. You learned how to design a system user interface that provides a means by which the user can effectively interact with the application to process inputs and obtain outputs. These unique geospatial factors and a number of human interface considerations and guidelines are presented. You will be presented with several strategy styles for designing the user interface for a system.

In summary, the purpose of the human factors (HF) practice in geospatial systems design is to ensure the usability of tools, devices and artifacts in general. More specifically, human factors are concerned with providing a good “fit” between people and their work environments. The “fit” can be made in either direction. You can “fit” the environment to the person or we can fit the person to the environment. Therefore, ultimately HF work is a trade-off between considering the user and economic and political constraints. Key points are:

  • HF is concerned with fitting the environment to the person.
  • HF is a human centered design philosophy.
  • HF in design is complemented with consideration of worker selection and training.
  • Design decisions have consequences for the user's behavior/performance.
  • "Errors" and "mistakes" may often be circumvented by good design.
  • Often design decisions are made on the basis of perceived need and market forces which drive a focus on functionality and not suitability and learnability.
  • Design options are enormous, although a number of factors reduce the design options: e.g. standards, cost, and time.
  • There are always constraints and trade-offs involved in design.
  • Human adaptability is incredible, but it comes with a cost of time and mental and physical resources.