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Reimagined Realities:
Unveiling a Cutting-Edge Design of
GIS Landscape


We are a dedicated team pursuing our Master's in Information Experience Design at Pratt Institute,

we made 3-redesign recommendations for the GIS mapping systems for the Long Island Zoning Atlas website. And we gained extremely positive feedback.

Let me introduce you our process.

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 Long Island Zoning Atlas

The Long Island Zoning Atlas is a GIS mapping system which provides a bird's-eye-view of zoning patterns across Long Island as well as providing detailed information for each of the over 1,200 individual zoning districts across Long Island's 13 towns, two cities, and almost 100 incorporated villages. To those who are curious about housing patterns across the region, the maps give a quick picture of where 1, 2, or 3+ housing units can be built. Additionally, it is readily apparent how many districts allow housing to be built as-of-right versus those that require a public hearing.

Project Goal

1. Enhance the usability of the website, so that the target users of the website can include a wider variety of people, attract new users and enhance user retention.

2. Improve user experience for current users catering to diverse users to make data more discoverable.

Target User


  • Professionals from Related Organizations

  • Professionals of Urban Planning and Architecture


  • Long Island Residents

  • Pratt Students at the School of Urban Planning, School of Architecture 

My Role

Kacey Xu


Radhika, Manjot, Ivory, Calvin

My role was to conduct user interviews, create high-fidelity UX designs, prototyping, and usability testing.

My Working Timeline

Duration: 7 weeks

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Client Purpose

Clients want to improve the visual layout of the current website and maps, and they want to know how this website currently matters for the power users and casual users.

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We invited 15 participants to have a user test with the original Long Island Zoning Atlantis website.

User Test


45+ mins in-depth moderated usability testing & interviews

Identify the research question & participants

Make research plan & tasks

Conduct interviews



Data analysis using affinity mapping

People from Related Organizations
People of Urban Planning and Architecture 

Long Island Residents
Pratt Students at School of Urban Planning, School of Architecture 



Pop up guide and map interface

1. Users do not realize the pop-up guide is a part of the website and do not use it. 

2. It’s important for the users to know the from who the website is generated by.

3. Without the reference of the map and its features, users find it difficult to understand the use cases on the pop-up guide.

Information Hierarchy

1. Map layers can be overwhelming, especially for non-professionals who may need extra help understanding the technical terms.

2. After selecting an area, participants find it hard to read through the zoning information due to the compact layout.

3. Professional participants expressed their need to download map images and zoning data.

Massive Silence: No feedback, No reach-outs

1. Insufficient visibility of the date and sources of the current data for credibility of information.

2. The website contact information is not clearly discoverable by professional users.

Final Design Comparison


Previous Homepage(pop up page)

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92% of users closed the pop-up and asked for the credibility of the data

1. Text heavy, need more visual data
2. Users miss the pop-up guide as a part of the website and do not use it. It’s important for the users to know the source of the data.


Pop up guide and credibility answered by the Landing page

1. Users can browse detailed information on the Long Island Zoning directly. 
2. For different kinds of users who have different familiarized with using the map, they can choose to learn how to use the map or go to the map directly.

Previous Map Page

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80% of users felt hard to discover Information


Streamlined Information Hierarchy and Map Interface

1. Lack of visibility of applied filters
2. Users find it difficult to find the information result after selecting an area

1.  Bigger mapping area
2. Clear Information Hierarchy
3. Simple intractable mapping filters and downloadable information. 


AI optimizes data search

1. Prompt-based chatbots guide the conversation along predefined paths or topics, ensuring a structured interaction. 
2. Areas of digital inclusivity, for example addressing color blindness, identifying the meanings of terminologies used across the website, etc.


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Usability Test 

We invited 5 participants to test out our final designs. They all love our new designs.

Positive Quotes from Users

“I am glad to see the introductions of the mapping system at the beginning of the whole page, it is much more clear than the pop up. “

“I really like that you split different type of content into sections, and now I can clearly tell how to adjust layers and what to expect for the zoning information.”

“I love the “LI Bot”, the avatar is so cute! It is easy for me to find anything I want as a new user.”

Next Step

Future scope for UX design

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One of the participants thought the download button was too small to recognize. We decided to change it much more obvious in the future and have more test.

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One of the participants mentioned that he preferred list + multiple choice instead of selection tag because the list view is convenient for comparing different color legends. for the future design, we will make another version of layers and filter to have more A/B tests.

(future design reference)


It is a great opportunity for us to meet clients in person to present our work. The clients can feel much more comfortable giving us their suggestions and feedback.

The clients love all the suggestions we provided. The only thing they concern about is how they can build the AI bots in the future which can provided accurate data for the maps.

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