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Google Maps Case Study

Making new features easy to find

This case study is a personal exploration and is not directly affiliated with Google.


Opportunity: Research, User Testing, UX/UI Design

Challenge: Uncover pain points, Improve the user experience

Role: Product Design, UX/UI Design


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Billions of people rely on Google Maps everyday to move through the world safely and quickly. It is one of the only apps that I would be lost without.


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Learning from the users

I decided to learn as much as i could about Google Maps from people who rely on it everyday. I wanted to find any pain points they had and try to make improvements 


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I ran a usability test with a group of people in San Francisco who use the app everyday.



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The scenario

Search for a restaurant to meet friends and start your driving route.

On the way you need to get gas and cash, so you want to add stops to the route.

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“I didn’t know you could do that.”

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There is a discoverability issue that is keeping people from finding the feature that allows you to search along your route and add multiple stops .

Searching for multiple stops is an amazing feature that I use daily. It allows me to plan out my day, Make last minute stops on my route and saves me time and stress. 

Many people had not found this feature even though it is a few clicks away on their main screen.


The Current Process

To achieve the best solution I had to understand how people currently used the app when they had multiple stops to make.

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People use google maps when they are on the go. The user behavior doesn't lend itself well to exploring unknown new features. 


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The “add a stop” feature is so valuable that without knowing about it the app is only performing at a fraction of its potential.


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If 90% of users don’t know the feature exists, we are collectively missing out on a lot of saved time and reduced stress. I wanted to figure out a way to inform everyone.


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I knew this was a valuable feature to me, but I wanted to make sure other users agreed. So I surveyed another group of google maps daily users.

I asked them:

  • Would adding a stop be a valuable feature that they wish they knew about? 
  • Would It save them time? 
  • Would it reduce daily stress of going several places?
  • How frequently would They use the feature?
  • Would they appreciate a notification to introduce them to the new feature?
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The feedback made it clear that the users who knew about the feature used it frequently and loved it. the users who didn’t know it existed thought it would be highly valuable and they thought they would use it daily to save time and reduce stress. They would appreciate being notified of the feature.


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I wanted to find a simple and clear way to let users know that they could search along their route to add stops.


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To achieve the best solution I had to understand how people currently used the app when they had multiple stops to make.

70% Of the people who did not know they could add stops cancelled the current route and searched for the new stop they needed to make.

30% pushed a few buttons and figured out how to add stops.

I needed to create a clear way to inform users without distracting or annoying them.


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I created a time sensitive and case specific note that informed the user that they can add stops to their route.

I tried a few message options to test them out and see what worked best.


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The note will only appear for users who have never used the feature to avoid notifying people who don’t need the information. Once a user clicks the note it will not appear again.

The note will appear after a search has been made and will disappear after 30 seconds or when driving to avoid distractions.

The note will be placed strategically on the screen to avoid blocking any important information. 



The majority of the people I asked said that the "search along route" notification was the best option. It is straight forward and communicates the  purpose of the feature.

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The majority of the users I tested said that they would like to get the notification for this feature and any other important features they weren’t utilizing.

There might be a huge amount of google maps users that are only taking advantage of the very basic features of google maps like search and start route. By incorporating notifications of features that they are not using and an optional and short term tutorial of google maps we could inform users of the full potential of the app.