Google's Inconsistent Maps UI

by @edent | # # # # | 4 comments | Read ~243 times.

There gets a stage in every large company’s lifecycle when there are too many people working on a single project.

This usually manifests itself in strange internal struggles over the heart of a product as different teams compete for their “vision” to succeed.

What often happens is that the user is forgotten and a manager, somewhere, has to make a compromise which sacrifices usability for intra-company harmony.

Let’s take, for example, Google Maps for Android. This is an app I use every day and it’s becoming clear to me that it is a battleground in some internal Google war.
Have a look at this map. What is the difference between these two starred locations?
Google Maps-fs8

No? Me neither. I’ve starred both at some time in the past. Now I want to un-star them. Yet, for some utterly incomprehensible reason, the UIs of the two locations are totally different!
Google Maps Yellow White Star

Why? I mean WTF?

I sort of get that one is a “place” whereas the other is just an “address” – hence the “reviews” section.

But that doesn’t explain why does one of them has a white star to indicate there is a yellow star on the map – and the other one has a more intuitive yellow star.

Even if there is a good reason that this user is missing – I can’t understand why the stars are in totally different locations on the screen.

Why is there a big picture on one and a small picture on the another?

I can’t rely on muscle memory to hit the “directions” button” because it’s displaced by a couple of thumb widths in the two different screens.

And all that is ignoring whether a score of 22 is good! (Is that a percent or is it out of 25?)

Even within a single product, Google’s teams aren’t held to a single UI standard. It’s similar to the Android project as a whole – there is no single design language which every team is complying with.

It’s unprofessional and deeply frustrating to the user.

4 thoughts on “Google's Inconsistent Maps UI

  1. I thought you’re smarter and more perceptive than that. The difference is that IET London: Savoy Place has a Google+ page. The other one is just an ordinary location on the map.

      1. Where does it say that on the page?
      2. Why should there be any difference?
      3. Even if there’s a good reason for different information – what’s the rationale behind moving the Starred button?
      1. I’m not defending Google, but they must be thinking that:
        1. The result page is more attractive in the 2nd situation. They try to stick in more information in this case.
        2. This should be an incentive for businesses to create Google+ pages linked to their GMaps address.

  2. artesea says:

    Rating are out of 30, which I only found out via a normal web search where it was shown.

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