As readers of our site know, I have become a big fan of the Waze app over the past year. I originally wrote an article on Waze pronouncing this to be one of the greatest applications ever. I still think it’s a great application but it isn’t perfect. In this article, we discuss some opportunities for improvement.
I use this app a lot. A real lot. So much that I have achieved a level of Royalty Wazer. That means that when people I don’t know see me on their map, I am wearing a crown. I wish I could turn that off. It’s amazing the things application developers do to get people to use their product.Simply put out a good product and let that be the reason why people use it over and over again. In the case of Waze, they did just that. The silly promotional stuff isn’t necessary.
So I mentioned that I use Waze a lot. Unlike a traditional GPS device, I use the app even when I know where I am going. That’s because of the integrated traffic and hazards feature. Waze will plan the fastest route to wherever I am headed with the traffic delays known up front. This is superior to almost all of the GPS devices out there. Yes, there are GPS units with traffic built-in but that only works in large metropolitan areas. I live in Northwest New Jersey. Apparently that’s not considered a large metropolitan area so traffic integration is unreliable and sometimes not available. Waze, however, works perfectly.
When Waze is aware that I am on a well-traveled road, it works perfectly. However when in some more obscure parts of the state, it sort of loses common sense. I was driving in the sticks a few weeks ago and looking to go home from wherever I was. Instead of telling me to make a right out of the driveway which is the way I was expecting, it had me make a left. It then took me over a mile down the road, had me turn onto a side street, then make a u-turn to come back the other way right past the driveway I just turned out of. Apparently the app must have thought the road had a divider in the middle.
The next area of improvement is Bluetooth integration. The Waze app runs on your phone, so Bluetooth is already present and you would think that Waze would integrate perfectly but it doesn’t. When using the Waze app on an active route and a call comes in, Waze disappears to the background and the telephone application takes over. Your map is off the screen. You can get the map back by closing the phone app and opening Waze again but that’s not safe while driving. Additionally, while speaking to your party that just called, Waze will interrupt and override the speaking party. This one is kind of surprising but that’s how it works on my iPhone. Android users might be able to benefit from an application called Waze Up but sorry IOS users, you’re out of luck. I can’t be the only one to complain about this because it’s really annoying.
The last area for improvement is the whole user interaction. We are all familiar with the risks of texting while driving. While I am a big fan of using the Waze application, I’m not a fan of the way it handles reporting of traffic and hazards. The application encourages someone in the car to report these incidents. Unfortunately there is no easy way that I know of to do this via voice command. You need to press several buttons within the application to do this. I suppose if you have a bored passenger, it gives them something to do but I’m betting a lot of these reports come from the drivers themselves. Yes, you get six points for doing this but it’s really dangerous and I think the developers need to come up with a safer way to report traffic or hazards.
As I said at the beginning of the article, I am a big fan of the Waze app, and will continue to use it on a daily basis wherever I go. Fix these annoyances and you have a near perfect application!
If you would like to read a good article on smartphone car mounts which are useful with GPS applications such as the Waze app, you may view it here. If you aren’t a fan of Waze and instead like the traditional GPS units read our Guide to Buying a Garmin Nuvi.