User-centered design”, in Bainbridge, W. (ed.) “Encyclopedia of HumanComputer Interaction”, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, California USA
- C. Abras, D. Maloney-Krichmar, J. Preece
Recent updates in Google Earth, which provide the possibility to couple cartographic animation with real-time information dissemination, make this software suitable for environmental researchers who work with spatio-temporal data and participate on distributed research projects. Even though it seems simple, computer supported group work with geospatial information at a distance requires a careful consideration for the end-users and their interactions as a group. However, user-centered design and empirical evaluations of geo-collaborative applications and web-based virtual globes are still very rare. To fill this gap, a user-centered design approach was adopted in the development of a geo-collaborative web-based virtual globe prototype, designed for distributed teams of environmental researchers working with spatio-temporal data. User requirements were obtained through a dedicated on-line survey and a focus group discussion. Additionally, six collaborative empirical tests with animated spatio-temporal data representations were conducted and analyzed. The obtained results have implications for addressing an emerging critical issue in GIScience software development, namely, designing more useful geo-collaborative web-based tools.