A successful software system requires both a strong software architecture and a great user experience (UX). However, UX is surprisingly often neglected by software architects. The roles of UX designer and software architect are very different and require distinct educational backgrounds. Thus, designers and architects often don’t understand each other very well, resulting in a lack of respect for each other’s profession and their contribution to the overall success of a software system.
Using Google Maps as an example, Matthias Naab and Marcus Trapp show how to bring these roles together as they explore the architectural decisions behind excellent UX and the relationship between UX designers and software architects. Matthias and Marcus walk you through the features of Google Maps and explain how they are realized in Google’s architecture—some that many architects would not even consider architecture decisions. This includes features like seamless panning and zooming, different information overlays and street view, route calculation, and integration with flight-booking systems as well as architectural concepts like data structures for different level of details, loading data in tiles, global distribution of data centers and data delivery (content delivery networks), optimized data structures, and calculations for live changes of routes.
Matthias Naab is a software architect, consultant, and researcher for Fraunhofer IESE, where he is responsible for the area of architecture for information systems and works with customers from many industries to build innovative products and modernize legacy systems. Matthias regularly speaks at scientific and industrial conferences and teaches software architecture in the Fraunhofer Academy. Previously, he was a developer in the logistics domain. Matthias holds a master’s degree and PhD in computer science from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.
Marcus Trapp is software engineer and department head for user experience and requirements engineering (UXR) at Fraunhofer IESE, where he supports companies in the areas of user experience for business applications, creativity and innovation workshops, requirements engineering, interaction design, and user interface prototyping. His motto is “Software is no end in itself; it always supports or enables business.” Since software is the most important driver of innovation for (almost) every business domain, software should not only be of high quality but also contribute to a great user experience. Marcus is an enthusiastic speaker on the topics of innovation and (user) experience.
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