8 Features That Could Leverage Most Navigation Apps

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Navigation apps went a long way in improving their interface and features, starting from better ETA estimation, through live updates and ending with updated map data.

Now I think it’s time for navigation apps to leverage their user experience to the next level.

Moving from distance to time

When the app says “turn left in 850 meters” it tries to notify the user when he needs to turn left (“after 850 meters”), and since when is the primary purpose here, it is more intuitive for the user to use a time estimation rather than a distance -> “turn left in 2 minutes (850 meters)” will be better, since people know what 2 minutes means, not 850 meters.

Base navigation orders on noticeable visual objects

Most navigation apps zoom the display at this point to help the user make the right decision, but in many cases, this is not enough.

One improvement we can make is to use noticeable objects out there to generate a more human-style message.

For example, if the turn is right after a school, then the message can be “turn right in 150 meters, right after the school” or “turn left on the next exit.”

It is just like directions from a friend “Drive 2 minutes and after the kindergarten turn right”.

Integrate Car Pool to your trip

While this approach sounds logical, it has one big flaw — it creates constraints both for the driver and the passenger. The driver needs to pick the passenger in a specific time and place, and the passenger needs to be there on time; otherwise, the ride will fail, and the users will lose faith in the service.

The best thing to do is the use the fantastic data that we have on current trips, and to match them to ride requests in real-time.

When the user requests a ride to a specific place from a particular place, a message needs to sent to the relevant drivers that are registered to the carpool service, and their path pass at the user pick up point and heading to his destination.

Match a ride request to a current trip is the best way to coordinate a carpool without any constraint, and the most intuitive way to that is to integrate it right into the navigation app.

“Notify me when the traffic is lighter.”

Navigation apps can add a feature that will detect when the traffic jams are lighter in real-time, and message the user to leave. While Siri does it with planned events, it doesn’t cover use cases when the user doesn’t have an event, and he wants to leave his office when the traffic is lighter.

“Direct me to the closest parking lot.”

Compute walking distance

Car Energy Consumption

Sometimes we have several routes with minor changes in ETA, but with a big difference in energy consumption, so why not giving the user better advice about his path decision?

Help the app detect your car direction


Head of Mobile Any.do, Author of “Pro iOS Testing”

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