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I am trying to determine would the best user experience would be for a particular flow, and I though maybe getting a fresh perspective on it would be helpful.

I have three screens that I am currently working with:

  1. Is the Dashboard, the user can access a list of locations from this page

  2. The list of locations that chose from the landing page (push)

  3. A map of the plotted locations (modal)

Now this is more of a design question than a logistics one, I need to figure out the correct wording and placement of the buttons to be sure that the user knows where they are going to go.

Currently, the user moves from the Dashboard to the list, and can switch back and forth between the list and the map, but cannot move from the map back to the Dashboard.

I want the user to be able to return to the Dashboard from both the list and the map, but 'Dashboard' is to long of a word, and 'Back' implies returning to the screen you just saw not a screen that you may have seen 5 minutes ago. I've though about icons, but it's not the kind of Dashboard that a speedometer would make sense for, and anything else that I've tried to represent what it is gets very busy at that small size.

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If the map is in a modal, doesn't it make more sense to close it to get back to the list? From there you can have a button called "home" which is a more commonly used term. –  jazZRo Dec 19 '13 at 16:20
1  
The map is in a modal, or at least it's called a modal transition. It doesn't popup on top of the list, and to the user it is more like a new screen. Should have mentioned - iPhone development. –  MrWobbles Dec 19 '13 at 17:01
    
Minor detail haha. Now it makes sense why "Dashboard" is to long :-) –  jazZRo Dec 20 '13 at 8:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Apple's iOS interface guide is a great place to start when looking for ways to implement interactions in an intuitive, standards-aligned way. This will help reduce buy-in time with your new users, as your interactions and visual schemes will be consistent with a vast array of other applications they use.

I would recommend thinking about a flat hierarchy under your dashboard, with a [list] page as one of the children. It as well, then, has two states associated with it: a filter/facet modal, and the map modal.

  • The list would be a first-level child of the dashboard, and could be accessible through a navigation aid like bottom-row link buttons, top-row icons, or perhaps a "sections" drop down accessed through a button somewhere conspicuous. If it is going to be a primary feature of the app, an always-there option like the top or bottom row is appropriate.
  • You can use the commonly understood side-sliding tool panel concept to reveal, interact with, and close the filter/facet modal. Here, you can choose between the various options from the dashboard. Following a link from the dashboard would open the list with a predefined set of facets already configured.
  • The map modal would use the standard full-screen slide-up interaction. Cancelling / closing the map would return the user to the list.
  • Getting back to the dashboard from the list is accomplished by selecting it in the first-level nav panel (the bottom or top row buttons/icons).

It's a good idea to have modals return to the previous location after completion/cancellation. The navigation mental map may otherwise be broken, reducing the usability of your application.

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Just an idea... Is it easy to animate a screen moving up and down, left and right? If so, you could take advantage of directional guides.

When you move from the dashboard to either screen, have the dashboard animate off to the left. On the List and Map pages you can use Back or Home with a left arrow or <. The user can associate moving left as heading back to the dashboard.

Then... when the user moves between List and Map, have the screen animate up and down respectively. Next to these buttons you could include an arrow as well. This way the user can user begin to build a mental directional map of where things are in your app.

You could easily switch the directions around to whatever makes the most sense (maybe 'Dashboard' is always up).

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I understand that your flow is like

Dashboard -> List of Locations -> Map

And problem statement is you want to come back on to Dashboard from both List of Locations and Map and From Map you may come back to List of Locations too.

I would Suggest instead of having map inside List of locations View itself. The list would be expandable ( like accordian on web pages ). Once you select location from list you can expand TableViewCell to show up map with one small hide map button. Just cover up as much screen area as you can for Map, to have clear visibility of Map.

Now you can close Map to see complete list as well you can hit back button for Dashboard.

I hope this helps.

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