Pop-up side-by-side comparison images to aid identification


I’ve been trying to help ID CNC photos over the past few days, and it seems to me that a lot of the mis-identifications come from users not going beyond the tiny thumbnails in the suggestions list - often these look “identical” to the organism observed…until you click through to the taxon page.

Would it be advantageous if, when an observation is identified, the identifier is shown the image being identified side by side with the default taxon photo, at a size that makes potential differences more identifiable?

I imagine this being accompanied by a “Does this look like (or “Are you certain that this is…”) the organism you observed?” message with a yes/no choice before the ID is accepted. (Like the “Is the evidence provided enough to confirm…” message that pops up for “potential Disagreements”.)

  • The “No” choice might return the user to the suggestions list, but add a more general category at the top, e.g. “plants”; “spiders”.
  • It would probably only work for species level IDs, as the higher categories obviously contain species that will look very different from the default image.
  • It should be a default system that can also be turned off. Slowing down the ID process for less knowledgeable identifiers (like myself) is advantageous to increasing accuracy. I’m guessing that expert identifiers, on the other hand, would find it an irritation.
  • Perhaps a “View more images of this species” choice would also be useful.

It would be good to have a system like this for new identifiers, with the more streamlined system becoming available after they’d completed some number of identifications.


How would you feel about having this available as a pop-up when the user clicks on the thumbnail image, so that it is flexible (on-demand) for various ID situations?

Or maybe have the existing Compare/Suggestions functionality (example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identotron?observation_id=24256416&taxon=15982) pop up, appropriately populated, as the behavior when clicking on a taxon thumbnail?


Yes, I think a pop-up would be the way to go, but perhaps a stripped down version of that page to make it really simple for new, inexperienced users and identifiers.


Just to make sure I understand you here, are you referring to the Identify page, or are you referring to ID suggestions when one makes a new observation?


I think it would be useful for both, but probably most-so for the new identification.