Search faster on Google Maps

Alex
3 min readJul 6, 2024

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Years ago I teamed up with Google Maps to bring more attention to top Local searches, making it easier to discover and navigate to your favorite places. Below is a revived case study on a previous project I worked on.

Role

  • Lead designer for the project, collaborating with the Google Maps team to enhance local search features. This included design thinking, collaboration and stakeholder reviews.

Impact

  • Increased local queries and improved user satisfaction.
  • Enhanced mobile experience with a more efficient search process.
  • Set a foundation for future partner work.

Problem

  • Local and Mobile Query Volume: High search volume on mobile devices revealed inefficient UX.
  • Wider Markets: Need for inclusive and localized features beyond the core demographic.
  • Typing and Query Issues: Typing full queries on mobile devices was cumbersome, leading to user frustration and ineffective searches.

Research

  • Analyzing Competitors: Studied Apple Maps and other competitors to understand their local search methods, including transit modes and search categorizations.
  • E2E User Behavior and Transit Modes: Researched how different transportation modes (driving, walking, public transit) impacted search behavior and user needs, identifying issues with interactivity and search effectiveness.
  • Search Types and Local Verticals: Investigated user search patterns for chains and categories, emphasizing the need for more intuitive and accessible categorical searches.

Principles and Solution

  • Mobile-Friendly UI: Introduced interactive shortcuts for common categories next to the search bar, while staying true to Material guidelines.
  • Localized and Flexible: Designed for diverse demographics and multi-transit cases including writing and visual language like iconography.
  • Scalable for Future Use Cases: Prepared for future expansion and integration with new features

Outcome

  • The introduction of categorical shortcuts led to increased local queries and improved user satisfaction.
  • Users experienced a smoother and more enjoyable search process, with reduced typing and more effective search results.
    Search Faster on Google Maps
  • A set of research and design to influence future work across Core Search and Maps.

By addressing these challenges through research and design, we created a scalable, mobile-friendly solution that significantly improved the local search experience on Google Maps.

Interested in learning more about this project? Feel free to reach out at alex.lakas@gmail.com

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