Adapt GEO’s interfaces for tactile usage
- Developing responsive interfaces
GEO is a flexible GIS engine/app from Ciril Group. I spent around two weeks making sure its different interfaces had maximum usability on tactile and smaller devices.
Context & project aim
To be fair, GEO’s interfaces weren’t unusable in tactile contexts before this project. They were just not designed for it, only slightly adapted from their desktop counterparts, and that sometimes created friction and frustration on the users’ side.
GEO has a lot of different interfaces and solving this issue entirely would’ve involved rethinking the whole app presentation (layout, workflows, etc), but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to invest on this right away. That’s why we split the issue in half: the quick and easy solutions on one side (this project), and those that needed more pondering on the other. I worked on defining what should this other side’s main concerns be, though unfortunately I couldn’t implement anything related to it before the end of my contract.
That’s why 95% of the changes made in the context of this project were CSS-only modifications. This part of GEO uses AngularJS so the last 5 percents of the changes involved tweaking the templates slightly depending on the device. And that’s about it!
Problem solving strategy
The changes consisted in a million little tweaks so it was a pain to communicate with amazing product owner Loïc to know what his opinion about every one of them was. That’s why we agreed on the general ‘rules’ (e.g. a button’s size must be 45 per 45 pixels minimum) first, and then I used the browser’s devtools to quickly demo what the result would look like so that we could discuss it further. This saved us a lot of back-and-forth.
- You must test on a real device when doing responsive work because the browser’s ‘responsive design mode’ devtool can be misleading
- The devtools can be a secret weapon when you want to prototype quickly