A Usability Study of ArcGIS Pro: Scaffolding an Intuitive and Fluid Geovisualization Workflow

Kai Hu, Purdue University


This research investigated ArcGIS Pro’s usability problems related to the geovisualization workflow from the perspective of novice users. Using multiple research methods – case study, anecdotal word-of-mouth data analysis and a task-driven contextual inquiry, the research identified a list of critical usability problems, and proposed corresponding design suggestions and directions based on several usability heuristics, the fluid interaction guidelines, and the scaffolding design framework. In the case study, the researcher analyzed Tableau’s scaffolding strategies for the geovisualization workflow. In the qualitative research method - anecdotal word-of-mouth analysis, the researcher analyzed more than 300 user feedbacks of ArcGIS Pro from various online resources. In the task-driven contextual inquiry study, the researcher interviewed nine novice users and three expert users, observed how they use ArcGIS Pro to complete the geovisualization tasks, identified and categorized the usability problems. The establishment of the design suggestions and directions sought to scaffold novice user learning experience, thus help them envision an intuitive and fluid geovisualization workflow in ArcGIS Pro. At the end of the research, one of the design proposals - “ArcGIS Pro’s onboarding redesign to scaffold user’s learning experience” officially became an active research and design project in Esri’s UX team.




Chen, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Information Technology|Computer science|Design

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