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Digital Map Interfaces That Work: Key Features and Why You Need Them

By Diana Torres

Our mission is to help your product or business tell effective stories through interactive maps, and we have developed a formula for it.

Arrivedo’s digital map experience has proven to increase user engagement and retention. In this article, we will explain how we’ve been able to achieve the results our customers are raving about. But, more importantly, how to make the most of our design-driven product after implementing it.


What is a Digital Map?

Simply put, a digital map is one built on layers. Each of those displays deals with a particular dataset. Generally, a map consists of the following: base map layers, features (data) layers, controls, and interactions. 

Digital maps play a vital role in providing geographical context to your content. They are the backbone for rendering your features and make up 90% of what users will visualize. Digital maps are likely to consist of a rendered background image (such as satellite view), landmass, water bodies, geological features, boundaries, and their respective labels or tags. 

What determines a great digital map is how well these individual layers complement each other as smaller parts of a bigger picture.

Why do Users Spend so Much Time Looking at Digital Maps?

Digital maps are filled with information that varies depending on zoom levels and the details necessary for interacting with them. Users typically understand how the levels function and when to expect relevant information.

Thus, digital maps deliver an enormous exploratory need: the more a user interacts with them, the more context is presented to encourage further explanation. At Arrivedo, we combine text content with map interfaces for a seamless experience.

Digital Maps Are a Visual Tool that Help Tell a Story

Typically, many users will read text articles and then go to explore maps on a separate interface. This is highly impractical when the geographical context is absolutely essential, particularly regarding travel-related content.

Arrivedo has identified this common content error like a missing link in the market, as travel based websites can and should be telling better stories with a map, but too often they are not. We understand this problem and the need for a seamless user experience.

Readers need a map that allows the written content to include an actual map trajectory. Including digital maps is a key component in helping users have a better understanding of the relationship between what they are reading and the location data (maps) they need. Creating a deeper level of information and exploration opportunities keeps them engaged for longer periods of time.

Digital Maps Designed with the Golden Ratio Naturally Draw Readers In

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio that mankind has been using for thousands of years. It’s found in art, world-famous structures, nature, and even our own bodies. It derives from the Fibonacci sequence and brings visual harmony. 

When applied strategically to design, it helps balance a layout’s structure and form. This is used to draw the users’ attention to key components that you want them to find or focus on. This design principle is found throughout Arrivedo interfaces and will serve as a base for your own development.

Mobile-friendly Articles with Digital Maps are Key 

According to a recent report by  Statista, the last quarter of 2019 saw 52.6% of website traffic originating from mobile devices. This is a fast-paced growth since only 31% of it came from mobile devices just five years ago, and by 2025 that number is expected to jump to 72.5%. 

On top, Google has set September 2020 as the deadline for all sites to prioritize their mobile versions, as their indexing will only benefit mobile-first in their ranking queries. It only makes sense that users spend the most time looking at digital maps when they have been optimized for use on mobile devices.

Functionality and Elegance Appeal to the Masses

Digital products with a good user interface offer a competitive spot in an ever-expanding market. More and more companies are starting to acknowledge the importance of great user experience. This has resulted in the creation of solutions that are functional first and foremost, while also being elegant and attractive. 

It takes only 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website, and those moments determine whether they will want to continue or leave. Including a digital map interface that is both easy to use and appealing to look at naturally compels readers to actively engage with it, and spend more time on your site. When done correctly, such interfaces are proven to work in numbers, appealing to a large percentage of your visitors.

The SEO Cycle: Happy Users Bring More Users

Google is paying more attention to signals that indicate whether users are happy or not and most of these metrics are related to user engagement and user experience. Best ranked sites are clearly the ones keeping the attention of users. 

This means that instead of focusing solely on what search engines say, and what SEO pros promote, website admins should also be focusing on what users want. It’s easy to know what users want by identifying where they spend most of their time on your site. 

When readers spend copious amounts of time interacting with your digital maps, this information, called engagement and retention, is relayed back to Google. When Google gets the information that users are happy, they will then present this content to more users for bigger results. It’s another form of SEO, beyond keywords.

Captura de Pantalla 2020-03-25 a la(s) 6.04.31 p. m.Make the most out of what Arrivedo has proven works. Make sure your content is giving enough emphasis on the digital map. Understanding how the interaction between the content and digital maps will help your users to better engage with what is written. Tell great stories with a map.

At Arrivedo, we believe it is important to integrate maps with content that allow generating and increasing dynamics and engagement in users. Our content solutions allow us to integrate with any web page through our API and SDK. In addition, we provide easy integration White Label solutions in case you don't have a development team. Want to discover more? Watch a free demo, here.

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