It’s hard to imagine how people used to travel miles hundreds of years ago without trains or cars: how did travelers know where to direct their horses? Or even later, printed maps and a human navigator to track the route were all the driver’s relief.
Luckily, today we have technologies. As smartphones drive innovations, it’s no wonder navigation and mapping applications appeared in our lives.
Now, according to the recent research, more than 90% of US consumers in their 50s and younger use navigation apps regularly. The market is promising yet overcrowded, so you need to offer something unique and feature-packed to stand out. Let’s check what will work here.
Offering mapping services, you have to craft an app with features users will expect to see in the first place — the functions that will make your app a navigation one. So, to become a true navigator, your application has to:
When consumers decide to turn to map services, it’s because their pain-point is getting around from location A to location B. Helping them follow the route is one of the basic tasks of a navigation app, while your task is to make entering destinations into the system effortless.
Basically, there are several ways to enter the destination:
- by an address
- by a ZIP code
- by selecting a point on a map directly
- with the help of a voice assistant
It would be great if you could allow customers to use each of these. Plus, make it possible to save frequently used locations in a list, mark favorite routes, and download maps for offline navigation.
2. Count distance
The destination is set, and now users would like to know how much time it will take to get there. Consider adding an info-pane with the speed and distance indicators, as well as the estimated time of arrival.
If you aim to cover more areas and win users worldwide, make it possible to tune units of measurement up to the country. Let users choose between miles and kilometers, for example. Additionally, don’t forget about time synchronization and develop the system that will change time zones automatically for globetrotters to switch countries with no hassle.
3. Display traffic info
For an average user, a navigation app is a lifesaver when it comes to traffic jams. Provide drivers with the possibility to check traffic data in real-time and avoid the most loaded ways.
4. Direct both audibly and visually
In most cases, drivers prefer not to distract from watching a road to check the map. Thus, it’s a great idea to make your app communicate with users through voice commands. But some people would rather prefer to listen to the radio while driving. You’ll need to enable a turn-by-turn guidance display with pop-ups about the following turn for these. Also, allow them to disable a loudspeaker for voice guidance whenever they wish.
5. Optimize routing options
Sometimes, more than one route is available for getting to the destination point, and smarter destination search will help users save their time. Help drivers pick the optimal way based on traffic data, just as Google Maps does.
Show how much time each route will take, analyzing both distances and traffic jams. Add automatic rerouting option that will calculate a new way if the driver misses a turn. Also, keep in mind pedestrians and bike riders and add route options for them. Display bike paths and sidewalks as well.
The beginning of our list is a backbone of a navigation app — you can already roll out a good product by packing these five functions only. But if you strive to deliver the next-level mapping services, develop an application with upgraded features. Or, in case of a strict budget, leave a room for further extensions and possibilities to expand. And we continue with the advice:
6. Parking finder
Finding a parking slot is a usual challenge in urban areas, especially in large, congested cities. Make sure your GPS can gather and process real-time data about the nearest parking locations, as well as navigate through parking garages. Coupled with availability and pricing information, this feature will definitely hook drivers to your app.
7. Show facilities
A good step to help users get around new places is to display facilities nearby. Gasoline stations, hospitals, police stations, restaurants, and hotels should be definitely included in your maps. Moreover, let users customize their lists of favorite spots or add new places.
As most navigation engines can show facilities in a radius around the driver’s current location, your app can provide a better variant. Go beyond a simple radius search and offer a destination search along the ongoing route.
If a user is halfway down his destination point but decides to stop for gas or food, show places they’ll pass anyway along the chosen route with minimum backtracking or sidetracking.
8. Forecast weather
This one will move your mapping app to the next level. Being able to provide weather reports, your application will help users adjust their travel plans accordingly.
9. Integrate with contacts
Let your app’s GPS systems sync up with the contacts on user’s phone or in social media to track their latest check-ins. Lots of people add addresses to their contact files, so it’s a nice idea to integrate these lists into your app. In case the driver needs to catch up with any person of their contact list, the application will navigate them directly to the targeted address.
Plus, sync up with Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare will let your app track the current location of driver’s friends and create routes accordingly. Let users customize lists of friends whose check-ins to follow.
Reaching the Destination Point
Today, mobile navigation systems evolve with tech trends and user needs. To develop a navigation application that will win the market, expect your project to go a long way. We have an established know-how technology that can decrease your time-to-market tenfold. Contact us to learn how you can benefit from it.