Our group gave a lot of interviews to students, friends, and family about their use of navigational tools such as Google Maps, Map Quest, car navigation, etc. We found a lot of interesting information after analyzing our answers and seeing where all the connections lie with each tool.
One of the ties that we made from our interview answers was that the average user was looking for a simple way to get specific directions. We found that the users who were looking for these easy directions, were the people who said they typically use Map Quest as their navigational tool.
So in order to convert these Map Quest users, I believe Google Maps should come up with a more simple way of asking for directions. When first logging on to the site you will see a simple “A, B”, asking you for the street addresses. But if someone who was not familiar with this site were to log on they would not know at first that this is where they were to put in their address. So if Google Maps would be a little more thorough in showing where certain things belong I think it would be easier for the first-time user.
I also saw a connection with people using Map Quest for long distances and others using Google Maps for local places of interest. I would assume the reason for this is because you’re not necessarily looking for a satellite image of the highways you’re going to take when you’re traveling across the country. But when you’re going right down the road Map Quest may not be as much of a help because you already probably know the general direction but you need to know specifically where you’ll be going (therefore a picture/satellite image of the place would be extremely helpful).
To make Google Maps as popular as Map Quest for this type of scenario I think there should be a built in function that shows you a normal map (not satellite image) when you’re looking at two different places that are very far apart and then give you the satellite image when the computer can tell you’re looking at a place that is close to where you are located.