I can't but think like a programmer here, although I'm aware that this can turn out as a silly question.

Would a user prefer a slider or buttons for zooming in/out?

  • No default zooming factor
  • There is a min and a max zooming factor
  • Zoom steps are block-incremeneted; slider's moving piece would snap to zoom values

  • 3
    • ...Why not both?
      – user8889
      Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:47
    • @lunchmeat317 Overkill.
      – Georgian
      Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 20:50
    • You sure? Generally, map sliders have a plus (zoom) and a minus (zoom out) button at the top and bottom, respectively. Check out Mapquest - I wouldn't call that "overkill".
      – user8889
      Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 21:14

    2 Answers 2


    The slider has many advantages over two buttons:

    • single widget for single purpose (zooming)
    • graphically shows the relative zoom factor
    • indicates how much more zooming in/out is possible (the buttons' enabled state would only indicate when the min/max zoom level is reached)
    • selection of the preferred zoom level by dragging (compared to clicking multiple times on the buttons, which gets even worse the more intermediate zoom values are introduced)
    • Valid arguments. Good enough for me.
      – Georgian
      Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 9:01

    I know this may be a big ask, but pretty much every user has become so familiar with the functionalities available on Google Maps that they expect most zooming interfaces, especially maps, should behave in the following ways.

    • Double Click to zoom in
    • Use mouse wheel to zoom in or out
    • Additional zoom slider control
    • On a touch screen, two fingers pinch and expand control
    • That should be "double-click to zoom in", right?
      – couchand
      Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 0:22
    • 1
      It depends on what you're zooming in on, but I agree that it's generally best to support multiple forms of zooming, especially with the double-click zooming (which is consistent with double-tap zooming on mobile, and allows zooming in on a specific point, instead of the centre). Worth noting that you mean "multitouch" screen, though; not every touch screen supports multiple touch points.
      – Kit Grose
      Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 0:48
    • @couchand Yes. I meant double click. Thanks! I fixed it.
      – nightning
      Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 17:37

    Your Answer

    By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

    Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.