I have gained some better knowledge and insight about the users of Google Maps from conducting our interviews. The interviews helped me gather a better idea what a user’s objectives would be from using Google Maps or other direction giving software. I have found that more and more people are starting to use Google Maps over MapQuest possibly due to the popularity of the Google search engine. I also discovered that people prefer to use MapQuest for longer trips because of the detailed turn-by-turn directions. When asked them why they still use MapQuest the general response I got is “because that’s what I’ve always used for long trips.” I think the reason for this is because they just want to get the information they need and don’t need all the other bell and whistles.
The users that prefer Google Maps are the one’s that take more time to dig deeper with the possibilities the interactive software offers. A good portion of the interviewees like using the features such as the street view option. The users can learn more about where they are going by visually seeing the surroundings of where they are making important turns and lane changes. The users of both Google Maps and MapQuest both have common objectives when it comes to finding where they are going.
The users want to:
- To find their destination
- To find the shortest route to that destination
- To have detailed directions
- To get simple directions with minimal chance of getting lost
- To have directions that get them to their destination quickly as possible with minimal delays
- To be able to find information about their destination and possible places along the way
We need to find something either that makes one of these objectives better for the user or create something that Google maps doesn’t already do. Google Maps is good at giving information from directions and places that are along the way of the destination for the user. One thing that Google Maps can’t offer from what I have gathered so far is insight to the unpredictable. The unpredictable events such as car wrecks which cause delays for the users. The user can print out their directions of where they want to go but they can’t be updated of possible delays without some other resource such as the radio. If the user has only those directions to rely on, then they don’t instantly have alternate routes to get them to their destination on time. They need to have more options then just one clear cut way especially if they need to be somewhere at an exact time. I suggest we find a way of offering the users of Google Maps more directions that are just as efficient as the original but still get them their on time. So we don’t have the users stuck waiting angrily, yelling obscenities in traffic without having a plan B to get them to where the want to be.