After we had finished our history map, we invited feedback from Hope. We planned a time we could connect through FaceTime, and she offered some general tips about assessing a map product, and then offered some very specific feedback for us to consider.
For starters, she explained what she calls “the ten second rule”. Within ten seconds, a viewer of your map should have a clear idea of the purpose of the map and understands the information that is presented in the map. This is helped by a clear title and map features that are easily seen and identified within the legend. She thought we had done well and passed the ten second rule.
A different thing she mentioned is that our eyes do is follow a certain pattern as we take in visual information. As readers, we read from left to right and start at the top. Therefore, our eyes first look at information presented at the top right, then the information across the top, and then down the right side. That means, our most important information should be at the top left on our map.
Something we had never thought about was the professional standards for how to order or symbols in the legend. Hope told us that it is customary to place points first, then lines, then polygons when making the legend. Our symbols were all mixed together in our legend. She also mentioned that many people forget to put a “locator” in their maps. We already had one in our map so we were happy about that and the other parts of a map we included, that any map should have. Our symbols needed consideration however, along with its overall size in comparison to the map image size.
While we were getting feedback about our map, we shared with Hope the kinds of information we included around the map in the overall display about the history that we had learned during the project. She thought our information was very interesting and told us our work surpassed that produced by some college students she teaches!
Based on her comments and tips, we decided to make sure people knew it applied to not only the map, but all of our display. We made it bigger and moved it’s position. We also made some changes in the order of our symbols and the size of our legend, and moved the location of our author’s names. We wanted to do the very best we could to follow GIS cartography standards.
We are proud of the work we’ve done and have learned many new skills. It was really helpful to have a professional critique our map so we could learn even more and create a better map as we considered her feedback and made decisions of what to revise. Thank you Hope!