GOOGLE MAPS VS. MAPQUEST
Course: HCI 460- Usability Evaluation Methods
Team Members: Vicky Moreira, Gelayol Moradzadeh, Mauli Shukla, Frank Sweis
This report describes the best practices of two mapping applications: MapQuest and Google Maps. These two applications are popular worldwide due to their free navigation services. We studied both to determine the best design practices of mapping applications. Our team prepared a test plan to gather the required data that defined our research question, objectives, hypotheses, measures, tasks, participant criteria, and study design and guide all team members. We also framed our research question in a way that helped us identify the best practices of incorporating elements for saving a destination and obtaining directions on mapping applications.
Our team prepared a test plan to gather the required data and it defined our research question, objectives, hypotheses, measures, tasks, participant criteria, and study design. We also framed our research question in a way that would help us identify best practices.
We conducted a total of 16 usability evaluations with both male and female participants who were between the ages of 21 and 30 and commuted by walking on a weekly basis. We had each participant walk to two different locations in Chicago using both applications. However, we counterbalanced the applications when testing participants to control order effects. Half of our users first used Google Maps while the other half user MapQuest first.
Within each task, we decided to note various quantitative measures. For tasks that were conducted while the participant was not navigating such as saving a location, searching for a location, and locating a saved address, we noted the number of steps it took and whether or not the participant completed the task as we had defined. We noted success and failure to measure whether one application would have more successes versus the other. We also expected participants to take more steps to complete the task of saving a location and noted the number of steps on both MapQuest and Google Maps to compare the two. We collected the same number of steps data for locating a saved address.
Since we were unable to test all of our users in the same location, for our navigation task, each member of our group selected a location that was exactly 0.5 miles in distance which had a minimum of two traffic lights and two turns on the way.
When we asked participants to navigate to a specified address, knowing that they were not familiar with the area to control the biases in our study, we tracked the time it took the participant to walk to their destination against the the time they were expecting to take based off the estimated time of arrival the application displayed. The moment the participant selected start on the application to jumpstart the navigation was the time we jotted down. The moment the participant arrived at their destination and acknowledged that they had arrived was the time we jotted down for end of task.
We utilized questions on a Likert scale to understand the level of difficulty user’s encountered. Our group also evaluated the tasks based on qualitative measures such as user comments, feedback, and through wrap up questions that specifically asked how they felt at certain points through the tasks and overall what they liked and disliked.
Save current location and go back to the home screen.
Imagine that you have to go to _______ (we will specify address). How would you do that using MapQuest / Google Maps?
Now that you reached your destination, you are hungry! Can you find the closest bar or restaurant near you?
Locate the saved address
What elements are better between Mapquest and Google Maps for pedestrians to search for locations and obtain directions?
Script withTasks details
Space for Appropriate Notetaking
To identify the best practices for designing a new mapping application with features that benefit pedestrians the most. As a third party, we are interested in the overall best practices between Google Maps and MapQuest. Identifying these practices will ensure researchers use the best experiences to shape and revise their own projects. The scope of our research was the user’s experience when searching and navigating to destinations on the go, and to answer the following questions:
How many steps are required for a pedestrian to save a destination on a mapping application?
Which application more successfully allows participants to save a destination for future use?
Which application has the most successes with locating a saved destination?
How do pedestrians prefer to locate nearby spots on a mapping application- Search bar or Explore feature?
Which mapping application’s ETA is more accurate?
Which mapping application offers an easier overall experience?
METHODS AND PROCEDURES
Six best practices were identified for managing addresses and using directions in navigation applications. Such best practices are explained in detail below.
Ensure that users know the exact path to save a location based on the application’s user interface.
Ensure that users have quick access to their saved locations to build repetition within the user experience.
Allow users to search for locations and directions on all screen.
Emphasize accurate ETA times to gain the user’s trust.
Focus on a user experience that is simple rather than complex, and performance issues from the user.
By conducting the usability evaluation sessions, we found out that all these issues trigger frustration and dissatisfaction with using the application in the user. The most common problems that were observed were unresponsiveness and slowness in the application the difficulty of finding the closest Forever 21 store.
FUTURE PROJECT CHANGES
Test all of our users in the same location, for our navigation task.
Test a larger pool of people in different countries.
Ensure that all testers understand the measures for the task and record findings the samem exact way.