Using a phone to navigate from behind the wheel can be tricky -- you have to balance distraction against safety and still reach your destination. For Uber drivers, that job is about to get a bit easier.
Uber is releasing a new in-app navigation system for its iOS app. Android users will no doubt be overjoyed to hear that the ridesharing company is finally offering in-app navigation for Android phones, too. Drivers are still free to use other navigation apps, but Uber believes its system is quite good on its own.
For starters, the system now includes a night mode, which uses a darker palette to reduce eye strain and distraction at night. The system also adds lane guidance and real-time traffic updates to give drivers a better idea of what's coming up and how to prepare.
A new Route Preview function also gives the driver the first direction after picking up a rider, so they can begin a ride right away, instead of waiting for the navigation to kick in.
In a Medium post, a member of Uber's cartography team discussed what went into these changes. They talked to drivers, followed along on rides and listened to feedback both good and bad. The group built an eye-tracking rig to see how distraction factors in. Hell, the company even built a paper map of Amsterdam to work on annotation.
The full story is worth a read, if only to see what designers have to take into account when revamping a system this critical. But the end result is what matters -- a cleaner, safer navigation app that makes it easier for drivers and speeds things up for the rider.