Focus groups for design improvement in dynamic cartography

Mark Monmonier, Myke Gluck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Four focus group interviews provided an evaluation of the concepts of the graphic narrative and the stage-and-play metaphor for dynamic cartography. The 26 information, cartographic> and computer specialists who participated in the interviews provided a range of opinions on graphic scripts and the dynamic integration of maps and statistical graphs. Respondents in each session first viewed a graphic script designed to explore the correlation between two spatial distributions and then discussed the script’s informativeness, coherence, merit, and deficiencies. Respondents next viewed and discussed a two-part demonstration of portions of a time-series script and of user-control enhancements for the correlation script. Participants found the graphic narrative engaging and informative, were able to discern patterns in the data without identifying false patterns, and contributed a variety of suggestions and criticisms useful in refining both the prototype scripts and the theory of narrative graphics. As a design improvement methodology, focus groups should prove to be useful in addressing a broad range of cartographic problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994


  • Design improvement
  • Dynamic cartography
  • Focus groups
  • Graphic script
  • Interface design
  • Multimedia
  • Narrative graphics
  • User needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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