Ford Motor Company

Search Along Route

The Opportunity

I'm driving my electric vehicle on a road trip and am starting to get hungry. I'll be ready to eat in about 45 minutes, but I'm worried if I wait until then, there might be no restaurants close by when I pull off the highway. Where should I stop to eat?

Answering this question via Google Maps, Apple Maps, or any in-vehicle navigation system involved some variation of the following three-step process: estimate the point along my route 45 minutes ahead, pan the map to that location, and search for restaurants. This was cumbersome and distracting to perform while driving.

I wasn't satisfied with this solution, so I set out to invent a better one.

My Roles & Responsibilities

UX Design

User Journeys


Patent Acquisition

Data Sourcing

Software Development

Who I Collaborated With

This was a self-initiated exploratory project I completed entirely on my own.

My Solution

The Timeline Interface

My solution was a timeline interface that supplements traditional turn-by-turn navigation. The timeline limits driver distraction in two important ways. First, it displays upcoming points of interest (POI's), as well as traffic and precipitation, at-a-glance without requiring the user to pan or zoom the map. Second, it restricts the time window to the next 60 minutes, thereby focusing the driver on the most relevant route information.

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Accessible via One Tap

When the driver wants to know what's coming up ahead along their route, they can invoke the timeline via one tap and quickly return their attention to the road.

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Category Filter

A category filter limits the cognitive load on the driver. Categories are limited to core human needs (food & restrooms) and vehicle needs (charging). POI's are grouped into clusters.

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Traffic and Precipitation

Unexpected slowdowns or downpours can cause anxiety. The timeline helps put the driver at ease by informing them of upcoming congestion and heavy precipitation.

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Adding a Stop

The timeline interface features progressive disclosure. When the user taps a POI cluster, they see the location of each POI in that cluster relative to the route. With one additional tap, they can add a POI as a stop on their journey.


If the user so chooses, they can overlay upcoming POI's on top of traffic to help them make informed decisions. In the example here, rush hour traffic looks bad, so I'm going to stop to eat at the four-restaurant cluster while the congestion clears.

Electric Vehicle Charging

I explored the idea of a miles-to-empty countdown that helps the user ensure they don't drive past their last opportunity to recharge their electric vehicle before it runs out of energy.

Field of View

Regardless of the map's current zoom level or framing, selecting the traffic tab in the timeline ensures upcoming congestion is always in view.

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To demonstrate the technical feasibility of my solution to my managers, I took a class on Swift programming and used the skills I learned to develop a proof-of-concept iPad app, powered by real-world mapping, routing, and POI data from HERE Technologies.



On June 30, 2020, I secured a patent for my novel timeline search-along-route interface.

Key Takeaways

Figma doesn't always cut it. A proof-of-concept using real maps that can zoom, translate, and rotate does a better job of capturing the nuances of an on-road navigation experience than a clickthrough prototype in Figma with static screens.

It helps to tell a story. Crafting stories with people, places, and events helped me communicate the different facets of the timeline interface to various stakeholders.

Observation and curiosity can lead to innovation. At the time of this project, I was driving 25,000 miles per year for my job. I observed a pain point with search along route, and I was curious enough to find a better solution.