While browsing through google maps the other day, I was in search of a restaurant a friend of mine recommended and ended up discovering a new feature. This newest feature is called ’street view’. Street view is just one addition to the wonderful interface that is Google Maps. I will be examining the cognitive account from many of it’s angles.
Attention: The most information that jumps out and grabs your attention from the very beggining is divide into three sections. The top section, which contains the searchbar, has the very colorful google logo on the leftside to tell the user where to start. Once a search has taken place, the left bar is used to narrow down search results. In this bar, everything is very monochrome except for the blue hyperlinks and the red bullet points. Both of which grab your attention. In the central map section, the map is a very easy to read map that uses subtle colors for streets, directions, and other small assorted items. Because this is the content of the page, your attention is almost immediately drawn to this section after inputing a search.
Perception/ Recognition: As discussed earlier, google maps is divided into three sections. The user navigates from their search, to the refined search results, and finally to the map to get the visual representation. Some graphical representations such as the pin point icons are used and appear in both the refined search results on the map so the user can read the street address while also seeing a visual reference. The user also has the option to click ’street view’ which places them in a 360 degree photographed world where they feel like they are acually on the street.
Memory: Google maps provides many services that don’t require the user to overload their own memory with information. Previous searches are stored, most common searches are stored, directions from one destination to another can be stored or printed. Also, searches similar to yours will be displayed so if the user cannot quite remember exactly what to search, they will be able to browse similar results to find the exact destination.
Learning: When you have found the correct result from your search, the map is placed at a raised elavation so that you can see your search along with blocks and blocks more of surrounding streets. In the top left corner of the map section there is a series of tools that help with navigation. Not only can the user click and drag the map wherever they want, they can zoom in to a closer view, or zoom out to see a more broad view of the location. You also have the option to view the map in different modes; map view, satellite view, terrain view, and the newest, street view. The google map becomes a digitally interactive representation of the world through multiple lenses.
Reading, Speaking, and Listening: Because the search filters are very accurate, results are very accurate and do not mentally overload the user. All information on the screen is presented in a way that flows the user’s attention in the proper order.
Problem- solving, Planning, Reasoning, and Decision- making: Once the user has found their destination, one might ask what’s next? Google maps provides many additional services beyond a geographical model. Take for example, if the user was searching for the nearest Starbucks coffee shop, google maps will provide them with a list of all Starbucks in the area then the user will choose the closest one location. Once this location has been chosen, they are giving room to explore if this choice was the right one. They have the option to view a menu, write/ read reviews, provided with contact information, a hyperlink to their website, and the option to get directions.