It was time for a change
MapQuest had been losing market share to Google Maps for years. While MapQuest still had millions of users, they were in search of a new product to make their recognizable brand relevant once again.
They set out to build a new application called MapQuest Discover which would be like Pinterest, but with an exclusive focus on travel. Instead of A-to-B directions, people could serendipitously discover places to visit.
What Slice of Lime achieved in the first two weeks of our project would have taken us 6 months.”
- Christian Dwyer, VP, Operations & GM, Business Solutions, MapQuest
Research & Discovery
Discovering MapQuest Discover
MapQuest engaged with Slice of Lime to make this project a reality. We started by collecting everything that was already in MapQuest’s head (we call this a “scoping session”). We began talking to users of MapQuest.com, Pinterest users, and those unfamiliar with MapQuest to figure out what resonated with people in the travel space. There was also a plethora of other travel apps to explore and learn from.
Traveling alongside developers
Projects go best when we’re working side by side a back-end development team. In this case, we worked with MapQuest’s developers as well as an external development agency. We all worked in weekly sprints, going from concepts to design to functional prototypes in a matter of weeks instead of months.
I’ve never worked with a UX Agency that understands on such a deep level how to collaborate with developers. They are fantastic.”
Michael Barinek, Title, Pivotal Labs
The journey from sketches to wireframes to designs
We started with sketches. Drawings are a so temporary and messy that, as a result, makes nothing seem sacred. MapQuest’s self-described “non-artists” could easily jump on the whiteboard and draw new ideas (or scratch out others). As ideas begin to solidify, we created high fidelity wireframes and ultimately designs.
As we iterated, we explored clever ways to integrate ads (MapQuest main source of revenue) as well as explore other, new sources of revenue (booking flights, hotels, and attractions).
At every sprint, we had the opportunity to validate our ideas with the outside world. This iterative prototyping allowed us to validate our ideas with real users, learn what was working (and what was not), discover new ideas, and catch technical hurdles early in the process.
One concept that sounded good at first but was tossed out based on user feedback was “gamification” and “badges”. Unless real value was attached to a badge, “virtual gifts” had lost their appeal for users.
Please prepare for take-off
Slice of Lime created the front-end code for the website, including the responsive code for mobile devices. The complete site was launched into the wild along with a lot of press and promotion through AOL’s properties (AOL owns MapQuest).
MapQuest Discover was a huge success and has continued to evolve and improve since the launch.
Per Slice of Lime’s recommendation, MapQuest acquired Everlator, a travel journaling company, and folded that into MapQuest’s Discover’s functionality.
MapQuest continues to add to the product, most recently partnering with Priceline to offer booking for hotels, airlines, and car rentals.
It was exciting to help put MapQuest back on the map!