The role of user context in the design of mobile map applications

Mona Bartling, Anthony C. Robinson, Bernd Resch, Anton Eitzinger, Karl Atzmanstorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mobile map applications are typically used by a broad range of users. Users can be diverse in their context attributes (e.g. map use experience, activities during map use), and several previous user experience (UX) studies have focused on understanding how some contextual factors influence the UX for designing maps that satisfy users’ needs. A need for research remains to evaluate the relationship between user context, UX, and variants of mobile map element design. In this article, we present our research investigating the interplay of these factors through an empirical user study with citizens in Austria. We created an online survey and generated 84 map variations, combining seven map-related tasks, three base map styles, two map detail densities, and two time-pressure variants. We tested these map variations with 107 survey participants and related their UX to user context. Map-related tasks emerged as a dominant factor modifying the map design UX. Further results showed that interactivity loaded map-related tasks were aided when paired with low detail-dense base maps, contrasting overlay features. We recommend future research to analyze an extended set of context attributes with additional participant data, to evaluate dynamic variations in context, and to find ways to dynamically monitor mobile map design UX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-448
Number of pages17
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of user context in the design of mobile map applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this