Commuting has become an essential part of our lives and living in the smartphone age, driving apps make our life easier. Tyler Gough, a Product Designer gives us Get Places: Driving Companion, a simple direction app that gets you from point A to B as easy as possible.
I started working on it while I was hanging out at the 99U conference in New York. I had been thinking about the idea for a few weeks and started by sketching some things out in Photoshop while watching talks. The first step was structuring the app into as few sections as possible. I landed on three main sections. Timing (How long is this going to take, and when and I’m going to get there?), speed (How fast am I traveling? Am I speeding?), and direction (Where am I going? What’s my next turn?). I took a lot of hints from what Apple and Google are doing with the car integrations (Car Play and Android Auto). Pulling out the most critical pieces of navigation UI, without over complicating it with pieces that weren’t helpful. I also love the simplicity of Square’s Cash app — having one primary purpose and doing that thing really quickly and well. I tried to replicate that for a car navigation app.
Living in the Bay Area, I commute by car a lot. I also rely heavily on apps like Google Maps to help me get where I’m going. On a particularly rushed and busy trip to Cupertino a few month ago, I realized how distracting apps like this can be when trying to use a relatively small screen like an iPhone. It’s a lot of information and you don’t have a lot of time to ingest that at highway speeds. I thought there must be a more focused and simple interaction to accomplish the same task.
I think the legibility and simplicity are different. Important notifications popup and present you with their information, then get out of the way. The elements on each screen are limited and given a lot of space and padding. This helps make sure you can read a given section easily without the information blending into its neighbor. The emphasis on your speed is also different. It’s something most navigation apps don’t usually handle, but can be really helpful on long drives where you tend to forget how fast you’re traveling. The speed warnings are a simple, quick interaction, and if it can help keep you from and expensive speeding ticket it seems like a low cost/high benefit feature.
Explore as much as you can. Both on the web and in the real world. There’s a lot of amazing stuff out in the world and experiencing it will only serve to broaden your perspective and improve your creative work. Also, work on stuff you enjoy and care about. Even its not your 9-5 day job, find time to dedicate to stuff you feel passionate about. It helps remind you why you’re in the industry or aspiring to be in the industry.
About Tyler Gough
Tyler Gough is a 26-year-old Product Designer on the Behance team at Adobe (based out of San Francisco). He went to school for Chemistry but decided that he felt more comfortable designing software than hanging out in a lab, and he’s been doing that ever since. He is also an avid car nerd/petrol head and spends most of his weekends working on his cars, or driving them around Bay Area racetracks. Find more of his works at Behance or website.