Thanks to Greg, I now have a collaborator…or as I like to think of it, a new best friend.  Jon Pipitone is a Masters student working with Steve Easterbrook, who is interested in creating a Climate Change modelling application that is intuitive and interactive (did I get that right?). Hopefully we will be of some help to one another.

We met yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to talk to someone about my Web-Mapping Accessibility topic for longer than 10 minutes before their eyes glazed over.  I now have many things to think about that are a little more well-formed in my mind than before.   Here are a few of the things I was able to take from the conversation:

  • I’ve never actually discussed how this textual description will be presented.  It was pointed out that I seem to already be  settled on displaying the description in the longdesc tag.  This is what I have to do in order to satisfy accessibility standards, in its most basic form.  I see this as being much more than just a longdesc though, definitely more interactive.  So maybe I have to stop talking about the longdesc so much.  I see it displayed, just as a map is.  At first the most basic, general description is offered, and you are able to drill-down into the information depending on what aspect of the map data you are interested in.  The organization of course will be tricky as we are working with huge amounts of data, so I need to know my audience better….
  • Creating detailed use cases would be a logical next step in order to get to know and understand what people are looking for when they come to a map.  These cases could then provide me with the basic structure of the description.  But do I use my current NPRI mapping application as the subject, or do I use a basic map, with land mass, water and streets, nothing more?
  • I need to figure out my process.  I always thought I would start out by getting a clear understanding of the base map or at least a section of it such as the province of Ontario, and then gradually add the layers one by one, to get a clear understanding of how they could affect the description – Bottom-up approach.  But through the use cases and understanding the users of the current mapping-application I’m working on, NPRI would require me to start by looking at the NPRI data first and continue drilling-down into the map – Top-down approach.
  • Jon kept asking why my description can’t just be a bunch of lat’s and long’s…which I just kept crying “It can’t, it just can’t!” hmmmm maybe I should come up with more eloquent reasoning.
  • I also ran through my plea for a unified map, one that does NOT siphon users into two stream, therefore two separate interfaces, accessible and non-accessible.
  • I see a possible user study in my future, based on the verbosity game I listed below.  I could present subjects with various images of a map and ask them to describe it.  Within these descriptions I would hopefully be able to pick out common keywords used. I’m enrolled in Steve Easterbrook’s course CSC2130 Empirical Research Methods, where I’ll get to explore this idea further.

Ok, now the next step is to coin some sort of nickname for Jon, because every best friend requires a nickname.