Two Maps are Better Than One

If you want to make sure that people can get a birds-eye view of the area, and also navigate at street level, having two maps is a good idea. Illustrated maps are a powerful tool, but they tend to abstract out a lot of important details. This means that they’re useful for highlighting that the cathedral is in the northern part of the city, but not so handy for someone that wants to know how to get to the cathedral from their hotel.
One interesting example of how illustrated maps and detailed maps can be vastly different from each other is the fictional world of Achaea. This text-based game features two maps on its website. One is an illustrated map of the entire game world, which offers a simple overview of the locations of important cities. The second map is a location by location map of every single “room” in the game. There are thousands of “rooms” in the game, and the detailed map is so complex that it makes a map of the London Underground look like a child’s sketch.
A new player, or a first-time visitor, looking at the detailed map would be confused and bewildered, and would probably give up before exploring it in any detail. The illustrated map provides enough information for such a casual observer, and offers it in a more familiar, and much more easily understood, form.
It’s unlikely that you, as an event organizer, would need to produce a map on a level of Achaea’s detailed map (although some trade shows do have a huge number of booths these days!). However, the lesson remains the same. By putting usability first you can ensure that your visitors get the best possible experience, and don’t end up feeling lost before they even set foot in the area.

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