We are building an analytics platform for our system, now focusing on introducing new metrics or reports. We wanted to introduce a map that shows visits to the websites of our Users. However, what we can do in terms of time and development, we can only afford to create a map grouped by countries. However, this will prove the most useful to those Users who have their customers coming from several countries, which mostly is not the case. Most of our Users have their activities in 1.8 countries. What should be the decision here?

  1. Develop the basic map showing only traffic grouped by country - the map looks cool, however, it will not tell us anything useful. On the other hand, it is placed at the very bottom of the interface, so even if it's not useful, it's not cluttering the interface very much.
  2. Wait with the development until version 2.0, with the map that allows grouping by country, city, region, etc. - we introduce it in another iteration, use our efforts towards building a proper map mechanism. The map is cool :P
  3. Don't develop it at all. Not worth the time and effort.

3 Answers 3


It's a very common misconception that geographic data must be displayed on a map. The real question is whether the insights that this data is supposed to provide are indeed of a geographical nature, where the actual location of the sites on the map, and their spatial relationship with each other, are meaningful.

For example, if I've launched a marketing campaign that targets a specific metro area, and I see that my sales get a dramatic improvement in the center of that area and they gradually decline as we get further away from it - that's something that can most effectively be seen on a map. If I just get a table containing many dozens of these locations, with the sales data, it will be super difficult for me to notice this trend. I've made a geographical decision and I need to measure and validate its effect geographically.

On the other hand, if I run a campaign targeted at programmers and I get a spike from the big tech hubs - places that are known to me - it will be at least as easy for me to spot this trend in a table as it is on a map, and probably much easier (because it doesn't rely on my knowledge of geography and doesn't provide lots of irrelevant info). So that information, although it technically has to do with locations, isn't really of a geographical nature.

You need to understand whether your use cases require high geographical awareness, and prioritize the importance of the map based on that.


Just my suggestion

Rather than having a beautiful interface, it is always valuable to have a useful interface for the user that is designed neatly.

So I would prefer to hold the feature for now and implement it at a later stage. Also, conduct a research activity on identifying the value addition of this map view with the target user.


As you mentioned in option 1, it will not be very useful for your users at this point. Also, it will take up time and resources.

With that said, you should still consider showing this information in another form, such as a table. This way, the data is available to your end users.

I agree with option 2, as maps are indeed a better way to visualize data. This will allow your users to zoom into a particular city, within a region with a country; revealing more granular details as they interact with the map.

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