Discovered ways to improve Google Maps via various usability tests.
Google Maps is a well-established product that assists people with navigation. As part of my Usability Evaluation course, 3 evaluation methods were used to test and identify areas that work and need improvement. The findings were then analyzed to suggest ways to improve Maps.
Heuristic evaluation, Task construction, Conducting Usability Tests, Assist recording metrics
Team: 3 Designers (1 Moderator, and 1 to log Qualitative & Quantitative metrics respectively)
College students heavily rely upon navigation to get to places such as campus and work. The purpose of these tests is evaluate the usability of the Google Maps website and see how helpful it is for college students.
Users & Audience
Scopes & Constraints
For this project, the testing was limited to the Google Maps website. The tests were focused around using the website, how it helps find locations and use navigation.
We first started with heuristic evaluation to quickly assess the interface and identify where the usability issues were. We used the findings from here to create a task booklet that was then used for first, face-to-face and then remote usability tests.
In the end, the results were compiled to identify what Google Maps does well and needs improvement on.
- Reviewed website using ISO 9241 principles
- Identified issues and assigned severity ratings
- Aided in creating task booklet
The testing was conducted by one Moderator and two Observers, to log quantitative and qualitative data respectively.
Duration: 30 minutes per participant.
Face-to-Face Testing – Quantitative Logs
Remote Testing – Quantitative Logs
Most participants found the left-search pane most useful. Tasks involving this pane took them the least time and effort to complete.
Reverse Origin & Destination
Tips and Tricks
Needs more prominence and a descriptive name. Display a short list of most common “How do I…” help topics right in the sidebar.
Design for consistency between browser and mobile versions. The mobile version is more widely used and hence the browser version’s design could borrow from mobile to increase familiarity.
There are various ways to access this feature which could be made consistent and more accessible. When viewing a location, giving more focus on Street View could increase its discoverability.
Travel via multiple transport options
Currently, Google Maps allows us to navigate from a start to end point via a single transport mode. However, people often times take multiple modes of transport to reach their location and could factor this into navigation.
Learning & Key Takeaways
- Differences between desktop and mobile versions cause friction
- Each user learned something new about the interface
- Google Maps is in a very usable state but there are opportunities to improve
- Helped better understand the product
- Gives an early direction on where to focus on
- Aided in task construction to test our findings
- Participants could feel pressured to complete tasks and hesitant to freely express opinions
- Non-verbal cues could easily be deciphered since participant is in-person
- Moderator’s ability to establish trust and comfort directly affects a participant’s performance
- Harder to engage participants in active communication
- Participants are in a more comfortable environment - express opinions more freely