Android Question Latitude & Longitude User Input

Discussion in 'Android Questions' started by RichardN, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. RichardN

    RichardN Active Member Licensed User

    I need a user interface that will accept a geographic Lat/Long input as DDMM.M N|S DDDMM.M E|W So that will be eventually 13 scroll changeable elements, some base 10, some base 6 and two N/S or E/W.

    I actually need two such inputs on the same panel to permit the user to enter a to/from waypoint pair at the same time. Something along the lines of the numeric dialog with +/- buttons above and below each digit would seem sensible. Clearly there is potential for this panel to become very crowded so simplicity is what I am looking for.

    I could create my own with a single string-in-label and 26(!) +/- buttons but I was rather hoping for a solution with less work required. Is anything available ?

    All suggestions gratefully received.
  2. mark35at

    mark35at Well-Known Member Licensed User

    Just a thought, what about four buttons at the side of a display. Left and right move the current cursor position and up and down change the value. Think of a label for each digit, placed close together to look like one value. Add an enter button to finish. Should be simple to track current position in display.
    warwound likes this.
  3. RichardN

    RichardN Active Member Licensed User

    Hi Mark,

    In the end I went for a hybrid solution. It became clear that having accuracy of decimal minutes was a slight overkill so I removed decimals and simplified to DDMMN|SDDDMME|W. I employed a horizontal seek bar to select the digit to be changed using a rich text string in the label to highlight the current element.

    The scrolling of the elements has to be handled individually as some elements are 0-9, some 0-5, some 0 or 1 as well as the N/S and E/W elements. As a user interface it is slightly long winded but it was necessary to capture in this format so no alternative.

    mark35at likes this.
  4. Troberg

    Troberg Well-Known Member Licensed User

    Just an opinion:

    In my not so humble opinion, selecting numbers by incrementing/decrementing/scrolling is just a pain in the nether regions. I think it's just a leftover from digital clocks, where there was no keypad.

    While not as cool looking, I would prefer a keypad every time (possibly suppleanted by an input mask). Entry is faster, requires less clicks, simpler to understand and generally more intuitive.

    I've made some applications with time entry, and I've got nothing but praise from the users for using a simple keypad entry, instead of some more fancy looking, but more awkward to use input method.

    If I were you, I'd rethink my solution. Compare the number of clicks needed and time needed to input the coordinates, the dexterity needed for the slider, and also how intuitive it is.

    Please don't take this personally, this is just a pet peeve of mine, and I see it time and time again in various apps.

    Edit: Some decent defaults also help. For example, N/S and E/W can be set the same as the user's position, and in most cases, it'll be correct.
  5. RichardN

    RichardN Active Member Licensed User

    Hi Troberg,

    I agree with your first paragraph completely and it was exactly my first reaction. We did try an alphanumeric keypad with an input mask which worked fine but took up uncomfortably too much screen space on phone devices. In the end we made mock-ups of both ideas and gave it to the users to play with. Much to my surprise they chose the scrolling numbers.... Who am I to argue ? ;) Having listened to the users we plan to go back later and revisit this issue again because we still think it is a sub-optimum solution.

    Sadly any effective default is not available due to the use and nature of the application
  6. Troberg

    Troberg Well-Known Member Licensed User

    OK, then you at least know that's what they want, and don't simply do it because "everybody else does it...". :)

    I don't know anything about the app, but is really lat/long the natural way to describe a position to most users? I think most would prefer to point in a map. But, as I said, I don't know anything about your app or users, perhaps it's a specialist app of some kind.
  7. RichardN

    RichardN Active Member Licensed User

    No it is not... but this is a specialist navigation application. The users only work in Lat/Long and digital entry was specified. We already asked all those questions.
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