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Making Apps That Don't Suck

Kirk van Gorkom

UX Basics for Enterprise GeoNerds

Presented at the 2011 ESRI Developer Summit in Palm Springs, CA.

For too long, GIS developers have been laboring under a terrible legacy of enterprise app design. These unwieldy applications have drained many a young geographer of their passion, but in recent years a small movement has emerged to challenge the status quo. Many of us are so immersed in the technical challenges of “just making it work” that we assume all that touchy-feely stuff is solely the realm of designer magicians.

The good news is that it isn’t magic. This presentation will cover the basic goals and mechanisms of User Experience (UX) design with a focus on how they apply to typical GIS apps on the web and mobile devices.

If you have any input at all into the design of the apps you build, your enlightened ideas will have a positive impact on the final experience. We’ll also cover a few strategies for subverting the dominant paradigm at your organization. Soon you’ll be leading a guerrilla band fighting for UX wherever a piece of software cries out for the better experience we all deserve.