Designing a new feature that adds value to an existing application while still retaining its original mission.
Customers' pain points:
- Lack of pedestrian directions
- Cycling applications' payment requirement to share location
- Switching between navigation and cycling applications
Waze develops practical solutions that empower people to make better choices, from taking the fastest route to leaving at the right time, to sharing daily commutes.
What is Waze doing now?
Before diving into my primary research, I decided to gather existing data about Waze’s current functionality to add value to my user research. I learned that Waze gained its popularity due to its interactive features including police alerts, real-time updates, and best routes. However, Waze lacks community advantages and has a cluttered UI, which encourages most people to use it in conjunction with other navigation apps, such as Google Maps and Apple Maps.
What's the market gap?
As opposed to its competitors, Waze had three areas with opportunities for design: non-driver attributes, parking spot distinction, and community hotspot.
While I was able to identify and understand the competitors, I discovered that the the opportunities to stand out in the market lied between reliability and pedestrian.
The next step was to learn more about the users’ mental models by conducting primary research. I conducted 5 interviews and distributed 2 surveys on Facebook groups and Reddit to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. I soon discovered that their concerns and frustrations surrounded the lack of pedestrian and cycling directions available along with poor verbal alerts.
“In my mind, Waze seems more driver focus than pedestrian”
“I share my location with my friends via text or send the Google location to them”
“I go from my Apple Maps and also Waze”
In order to assert the value of my research, I grouped all similar data together using an affinity map.
Given that Waze doesn't currently offer non-driving directions, I used Google Maps to breakdown the steps users need to take to complete their task.
Sebastien represents the user group that may use a navigating application for directions--age 29, has clean eating habits and enjoys cycling with friends. To get a deeper insight of his mental model and emotions, I put together a journey map, which revealed opportunities for design.
Although this was a solo project, I was able to pair up with two UX Designers, Vlada Tkach and Lauren Todd, to brainstorm ideas that would add value to Waze.
The Minimum Viable Product:
The new Pedestrian feature will help customers select the best routes for non-driver users with a recording system and verbal directions that will help them avoid interruptions and welcome accessibility functions.
Find your way around and avoid interruptions on your routes, anytime of day. Made for pedestrian, drivers, and non-motorized vehicles.
When I’m cycling, I want to be able to navigate to my route without any unexpected distractions and also keep a record of my journey for future rides because it makes me feel confident and excited for next time.
Lo to Mid-Fi Prototype:
I finally brought the best ideas to life through rapid prototyping. With the minimum viable product and my user flow in mind, I created my lo-fi prototype.
Once I gathered all the suggestions from my lo-fi usability test and applied it to my mid-fi prototype, I was able to define the different states for each steps taken by the user and had a clearer vision for the final design.
At this stage, I was concerned about the flow of the feature and needed to verify if it met my user’s expectations. After testing my mid-fi prototype with 5 users, I was able to gather rich data that later help me enhance the flow of the feature.
Additional Concerns to Address:
The new feature instructions were too long
There was a confusion between cycling and pedestrian icon.
Too many screens to click through
I had a hard time locating Waze's style guide to create my final designs. I wanted to be sure I could mimic the exact color scheme, typography, and overall layout of the screens. Thankfully, due to extensive research and chrome UX extensions, I was able to identify certain visual assets.
I created a visual guide of Waze current existing design elements with additional colors added to use on new icons. This gave me a clearer direction while creating my Hi-Fi prototype.
- There are many great ideas, always select the one that will add the most value to your product and your user.
- Each step facilitates the next — trust the process.
- You have to be creative when adding a new feature to a well-known interface without any public resources available.
- Adding a meeting point to map.
- Saving routes for offline purposes.
- Ability to report hazards verbally using keywords.
- Experimenting with AR/VR implementations