Waze – 2014 version

The good bits:

  • For folks familiar with past versions of Waze, the app’s new first run experience has much improved. It used to be that new users needed to watch a video/swipe through an animated intro tour before they could access the map. But now, the new user gets quickly placed into map mode. The videos and feature content are still there, but accessible instead through an introductory message from the map and through it’s help/about section. 
  • The app provides modeless, inline tips for users to read at the bottom of the map screen, instead of interrupting them with modal popovers or an intro tour.

To be improved:

  • As first impressions go, the new user may be put off by the 2 “messy” screens seen on first run. Aside from the sometimes-unpredictable manual location selector (I triggered this despite having location services turned on), the required end user license agreement can come across as especially daunting. The EULA not only raises questions early on about privacy, but gets in the way of that quick entry into map mode. 
  • The introduction to the user’s avatar on first launch via the “Meet your Wazer” popup may be unnecessary, and can certainly be confusing. This is because it appears out of context from what the new user sees next. When she enters the map for the first time, this pink Wazer icon is not shown. Instead, the new user is represented as a blue arrow. There’s no clear link between that “Meet your Wazer” dialog and the user’s actual avatar. The dialog seems to suffer a problem that also plagues intro tours: describing features that are not yet relevant to the new user, which can ultimately confuse instead of inspire.