We all know that distracted traveling is a major problem nowadays. Whether it’s talking on the phone, texting or eating a burrito we all could do with fewer distractions during our travels. Here at MapQuest we’re on a mission to make receiving and following mobile navigation simpler and easier.
What, When and Where
Some inspiration for the new design came from the way car dashboards are designed. In a driving context, icons, buttons and dials need to be simple and intuitive with high contrast and legibility. A driver shouldn’t spend time trying to figure out what the various instruments mean and how to activate them. The controls mesh seamlessly into the natural movements and tasks a traveler executes during the trip.
In a mobile navigation context, we tried to follow these same principles. For example, rather than directions such as, “Turn right onto Broadway” the screen now displays a large right turn arrow and the word “Broadway” in large type. This method provides the user the same information but in a simpler, more graphical way. The visual clutter of a long sentence is replaced by an easily digestible direction that is understandable at a glance.
Less is More
In previous versions the navigation controls were always on display (even when not needed) which added to the distractions during the navigation experience. With the new release, theses controls such as List View, New Route, Edit Route and Stop Nav are nested within an “Actions” menu that reveals with a simple tap. This leaves more room for the things that really matter during a trip—directions and the map.
Are we there yet?
A commonly requested feature now in the latest version of the application is the ability to see the estimated time of arrival (ETA). This comes in handy when you need to give someone an estimate of when you’ll be arriving or when you just want to know how long the trip will take. As a bonus, tap on the ETA display and you’ll also get time remaining and distance remaining.
Testers of these new upgrades raved about the simplicity and intuitiveness of the navigation interface. All users were able to easily read and interact with the new design even in a driving or walking context. Similar to a GPS, the app still offers voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions, but now the matching visual directions are quicker and easier to comprehend.