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

    • ...Why not both? – lunchmeat317 Mar 26 '14 at 19:47
    • @lunchmeat317 Overkill. – GGrec Mar 26 '14 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". – lunchmeat317 Mar 26 '14 at 21:14

    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)
    | improve this answer | |
    • Valid arguments. Good enough for me. – GGrec Mar 21 '14 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
    | improve this answer | |
    • That should be "double-click to zoom in", right? – couchand Mar 21 '14 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 Mar 21 '14 at 0:48
    • @couchand Yes. I meant double click. Thanks! I fixed it. – nightning Mar 21 '14 at 17:37

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