The Google Maps Notify feature is a solution to a problem I had while travelling on transit to a new location. I didn’t know how long it would take to get to my stop, but I also really wanted a nap. Why couldn’t I set up an alarm or notification in my Google Maps app to let me know when I was near? Here is my solution.
Starts with a Pin.
The Notify feature becomes available once a destination is chosen and a pin is dropped.
Familiar icons, new options.
In the destination details a new ‘Notify’ icon has been added, using one of Google's existing icons from their catalogue. It’s from here that the feature begins.
Miles or Minutes?
In designing the feature I mulled over what the user would be picking. Would they want to choose time to the destination or the distance? In the end I chose time as traffic and the route taken should be taken into consideration.
In the process of designing the notification selection pop-up I went through options for selecting miles and options for selecting time. I initially designed around the Google Time Picker, but it just didn’t work. It didn’t work the same in a smaller view as it does in a full screen. I decided to take inspiration from the iOS time wheel but within the design guidelines set by Google.
Another important detail was the right words. How do you effectively communicate what you intend the user to do in a clear and concise manner. I went through a variety of ways of asking the user when they wanted to be notified. Was it too vague? Was it too wordy? Did it leave any room for questions?
Ready. Set. Nap.
Once set the Notify icon changes just enough so you know it’s been set. Now you can nap, read or not have to constantly check your current location, like I did
The new timer will appear next to the destination. Importantly it doesn’t interfere with the layout already set up in Google Maps.
Did You Forget Something?
When another pin is dropped, the Notify feature will prompt you asking if you’d like to turn off or continue the set alarm. Should you set the alarm and not actually travel to your location, Google Maps will ask if you’d like to turn off the alarm after 24 hours.
iOS vs. Android
On the Android platform, the notify feature will utilize the built-in-alarm and display a set alarm in the Status Bar. On the iOS platform notifications will need to be enabled for Google Maps (prompted when the app is first opened) to notify the user.
The Google Maps Notify feature is a personal project I worked on around a simple problem. It has no affiliation with Google.