Informatik, TU Wien

Step by Step in London and Berlin

Understanding transit maps by systematically exploring design rules

In this presentation, Maxwell Roberts will discuss the criteria necessary for effective visual information design, and suggest that the optimum rules for a schematic map depend on the structure of the network, and that octolinearity may sometimes be inappropriate. To illustrate this, he will describe usability studies in which people’s planning performance is measured objectively using different map versions. Maxwell Roberts will also show how an exploration of design, in which rules are manipulated systematically, can highlight issues when applied to the London and Berlin networks.


Maxwell Roberts completed a BSc and PhD in psychology at the University of Nottingham, UK, and has lectured at the University of Essex since 1993. His research interests have included reasoning and intelligence, but now focus on schematic maps. He creates challenging designs and tests their usability and aesthetics. He has authored two books on maps, and his work has been exhibited in Germany, the USA, and the UK, and is currently on display in Vienna.