GeoNode Usability + Long-term Strategy
Hopscotch was asked to evaluate the GeoNode’s usability and purpose for the World Bank as they developed their long-term software strategy for disaster resilience.
Client: World Bank, GFDRR
- Participant recruiting
- Remote interviews
- Remote usability test
- Software strategy
- Github repository
The World Bank invests in GeoNode’s development to bring affordable (ie. free) GIS software to every country it works with. Using GeoNode enables countries to have secure, online cloud-based data available during emergencies.
Hopscotch was brought in to assess the current state of GeoNode’s development and the associated tools within the GIS ecosystem; to ultimately develop a product platform strategy. During the course of the project we interviewed GeoNode users in 10 countries, and surveyed their global audience. The resulting strategy and recommendations was uploaded to a Github repository.
An analysis was conducted on the usability of the new GeoNode Homepage template (GeoNode version 2.6) implemented on Malawi’s GeoNode, Masdap. Invited participants were recorded interacting with the site, and their feedback on its usability solicited. At the same time, a parallel site using the old homepage template was tested to provide a comparative dataset.
Example opportunities for improvement:
The ontology of information on the site
The filter function on the search page
The “icon area”
The “about” and “get started” links
The shopping cart
The new homepage template provides many improvements over the old template (GeoNode version 2.4), including featured stories, icons, contact us sections improve accessibility. Site-wide navigation and existing feature flaws impacted navigability and user feelings of success or failure. The new template transposes novice needs with expert needs, placing expert-level support in the “Get Started” button that calls novices to action. The new template also attempts to surface the type of datasets available within the site to aid comprehension and use (through exploration icons and data stories). There are opportunities to improve these features.
Better support user types by following common conventions for accurately linking and naming appropriate content. For example, providing site details under “About” and a simple step by step guide for “Get Started”; then linking the two pages.
Simplify the exploration icons in the “icon area,” they are currently too complicated and their ontology is not clear. For example, reduce the number of icons, or sub-categorize and nest them; remove hover text and place it on a dedicated category page that is linked from the icon. This suggests the need for a new view within search that shows and explains dataset relationships. Based on these results, a better naming, metadata, and content strategy is necessary. For example renaming the exploration icons to “suggested searches,” to match the function of the icons. The “data stories” section works well.
Use common conventions to resolve issues with Applied Filters and the Cart.