Jun 29, 2010

Redesigning MapQuest – It’s all about the Journey

When we started MapQuest, it was built on the simple idea of helping people get directions to their destinations. Nearly 15 years later, we remain committed to that core premise of providing accurate maps and directions to millions of people every day. And just as the Internet has evolved as a platform for discovering information and connecting us to it and each other, we are evolving to make it easier for you to find local information about places, to simply create your trip or journey and conveniently enable you to personalize and share your map with others.

Today, I am excited to announce that we are launching a new user experience on MapQuest and updating our brand to reflect our new direction.  We thoughtfully redesigned MapQuest.com to be more helpful, intuitive and engaging where the entire experience is within view and contextually relevant throughout.  As the map has become a canvas for conveying local information about what’s there, nearby and along the way, our focus is to make it easy to discover and get directions to those places, whether you are an everyday commuter or an adventurous explorer.

MapQuest Primary LogoOur new brand identity resonates with our core value of helping people find places.  The Quest in our name evokes a spirit of inquiry and exploration, whether it is a trip down the street or a journey across the country.  Like the new site, the updated brand is simple, clean and modern.  We also introduced a new icon that can mean different things to different people.  No matter what it means to you, we hope that the user experience helps you more easily navigate your world – Whatever your Quest, MapQuest.

One of the most obvious changes you will notice in the redesign is the one box search.  Whether you are looking for a specific address, browsing for a local restaurant, or trying to find the little league park, you can enter as much information as you know and we will help you locate it.  Another great feature is the map toolbar which allows you to easily search the map for brands, categories and places in a single click.

My Maps, another new feature, allows you to quickly personalize, save and share using a simplified login that leverages existing social services.  So you can login using your account information from services like Facebook®, Twitter and Google®.  The idea is simple:  you can create a collection of your favorite places, journal your vacation or create an itinerary and then share it with family and friends.  We also now provide you with the ability to further personalize your trips with notes, anecdotes and comments about each place along the way.  In a world where social and local are the new frontier, we are focused on building a place where human experiences and individuality are paramount.

We have also integrated local information from a number of key AOL properties. The new MapQuest now features rich, quality content from Patch regarding the places in the community.  Looking for a good steakhouse restaurant in Beverly Hills?  On the new MapQuest, we not only show you the detailed content for restaurants from the Beverly Hills Patch, we also have integrated with OpenTable to make reservations right from the site.  You can also search for hotels and we will now connect you to AOL Travel to book your hotel.   As we move forward, you’ll continue to see us integrate relevant local content that helps you plan your trip.

With this release, we’ve made several great improvements in our routing capabilities, enhancing the directions narrative with helpful hints like ‘Your destination is just past 6th St NW’ and HOV lane day and time restrictions.  We also continue to make significant strides in our mobile web and client applications, leveraging the intrinsic local nature of mobile and creating seamless experiences among web, mobile and other devices.  In particular, our MQ4M iPhone application continues to lead our advance.  As smart phones continue to proliferate, we are very optimistic about the opportunities to have MapQuest always with you.

As a key part of the overall AOL Local strategy, the MapQuest.com re-launch today represents our commitment to the consumer experience; one that inspires and instigates discovery,  provides you with accurate maps and directions, and allows you to personalize and share your trips and journeys.  We look forward to your feedback.