HERE Maps for Nokia X launched in March along with the Nokia X devices at Mobile World Congress. Now we have updated the app to make it even better: usability has been considerably enhanced and the app now allows true global navigation, with voice directions, in any of 97 navigable countries.
Owners of the new Nokia X2 can pick up the new version of HERE Maps straight from the Store. Purchasers of the original Nokia X, X+ and XL will be able to download the latest app from the Nokia Store in the coming weeks and after they have updated to the newest firmware.
The new version of the app boasts several improvements over the initial release. And they all came through user feedback and testing after launch.
Into the labs
But how are features for improvement identified and prioritised?
There are three methods in place to find out what needs improvement.
- The first is live user testing. HERE recruits people to come into our labs and we ask them to perform tasks with the app. Experts watch and record every movement to see where there’s any hesitation or confusion. If people fail in a task, or it takes a long time, then it needs to be streamlined.
- The second is the in-app feedback. People can rate the app and send messages right back to us to tell us what they think. We compile all of this and look very carefully at the underlying trends. If we get a lot of feedback about a particular feature, then it’s clearly something that needs attention.
- Third, the app has its own analytics. The results are anonymised, but we can tell how often people use the app, and how they use it. This can tell us where things are and aren’t working. If, for example, we discover that a lot of people don’t download a voice pack for spoken directions, then maybe that means we need to make that feature more easily discoverable.
The different measurements and tests came up with some really valuable information about the app, which we could only properly see once there were a significant number of users.
We found out that the first-time-use experience was unnecessarily complicated, as people weren’t making use of all the map and voice download steps that we offered them.
The app has a lot of features we were keen to introduce in the wizard, and several things you needed to do, like download your choice of maps, and switch on GPS in settings.
What we concluded is that we were asking too much when people just wanted to start using the app. A lot of us have a tendency to skip through these wizards because we want to get to the app itself – ‘It can’t be that important, can it?’ we think to ourselves.
So we have considerably reduced the number of steps required, and instead added later notifications of additional things people might want to do – like downloading a voice pack – after they get started. Once people have worked out why the app is valuable, then they’re more likely to have the patience to carry out extra steps to enhance the experience.
Locking onto users' needs
The Nokia X is targeted towards developing markets. For a lot of the devices' owners, HERE Maps on the Nokia X was their first experience of a navigation app with GPS. This meant that they didn’t necessarily realise that they had to switch on GPS in 'Settings' for it to find them accurately. Also, the first time use takes a little while to ‘lock-on’ to the user’s position and download the map around them.
Since these people often had less-than-ideal mobile signal conditions, maybe struggling with a 2G connection, this meant that in the initial version, they sometimes faced a blank screen after launch and incorrectly-but-understandably concluded that the app wasn’t working. Now, it informs them that the app is gathering and downloading data and that the map will appear shortly.
Our addition of global navigation to the app is the most notable addition for more experienced users. Requests for this varied across the world. People living in large countries, like India, were more satisfied just having their home country, since it’s so vast. People in smaller nations, such as our users in the Middle East, were much more likely to visit neighbouring countries on a more regular basis, and so there was more demand for extra maps.
Either way, everyone can now take advantage of global navigation across the world.
More pixels for pleasure
There's also improved satellite imagery in the new version of the app, and we have changed the user registration to a HERE account. This will be explained as you log in – you can pick up any existing favourites from the log-in screen by choosing ‘get my favourites’.
How to get the updated app
1. Open the Nokia Store on your phone.
2. Search for 'HERE Maps' and select it from the results.
3. Select 'update' and wait for this to complete.
We hope owners will enjoy the new app – we think it’s a lot better – thanks almost entirely to their input.