Map VS Route

» Glossary » Map VS Route
Bill Verplank considers one of the three main task a designer should define for the product is how the user would interact with it: does it need a global vision (map) or follow a sequence of steps (route)?


marioRoute interaction patterns would be:

  • in videogames: the character can only move in a lineal way, as in SuperMarioBross – it may contain some shortcuts.
  • in digital products: the checkout process in an e-commerce store, the parallax scrolling technique to get that rhythm in telling the story, or the system configuration screens.
  • in the physical world:  IKEA floor designs, o a self-service queue.


Map interaction patterns would be:

  • in videogames:  some videogames, such as TheWitness, have an open space you need to explore, and you move according to your goals.
  • in digital products: web sitemaps, blank pages for draw or writing applications.
  • in the physical world: a supermarket floor design.


Some route interaction patterns are used to up-sell things to the consumer: