A11Y+ Google Maps

This redesign empowers travellers with mobility challenges by incorporating three features for easier curation of accessibility information on Google Maps.




People with mobility challenges often struggle to plan their trips because
they lack information about what to expect in terms of accessibility.


I redesigned Google Maps' accessibility mode to make it easier to see accessible information to plan trip smoothly.




Interview, Contextual Inquiry, Survey, Think-aloud, Empathy Map, Journey Map, Storyboards, Crazy 8

My Role

UX Research Lead
Product Designer


4 months (Sep - Dec 2022)


4 Product Designers



Trust issue with
accessibility tools.

Through desk research, I learned that people with accessibility needs often rely on family or friends for help when traveling, as they don't trust in existing tools and need in-person support.

In-Depth Exploration of Travel Challenges Through Real Stories

After realizing that desktop research alone would not provide sufficient insights, our team recognized the importance of speaking with individuals who have mobility challenges to understand their travel experiences.

Given our lack of expertise in the area of accessibility travel, we decided to use directed storytelling as our approach. This allowed participants to share their experiences in their own words and enabled us to capture a more comprehensive understanding of their challenges. Our team was able to ask questions and follow up on interesting insights as they emerged during the storytelling process. To guide our discussions, we focused on three topics: obtaining travel information, making travel decisions, and navigating between locations.

Directed Storytelling
5 mobility challenged individuals
1. Obtain travel information
2. Make travel decision
3. Navigate between locations  

I organized my interpretation notes into groups of affinity notes to identify common themes that emerged from the participants' discussions about their travel habits, the challenges they face when traveling, and their expectations for an enjoyable trip.

We believe that among the various challenges that mobility challenged travellers face, the difficulty in gathering accessibility information for their trips is the most significant. We see this as an opportunity to add substantial value to the interface design we're working on.

This decision also allowed us to fine-tune our
"how-might-we" problem statement as follow -

Let's Find Out If This Challenge Is A Real Challenge

After listening to the graphic details of mobility-challenged users' travel experiences, we were curious to know whether others face similar challenges. To confirm whether these issues were widespread and not just coincidental, we conducted a survey to gather more data. The survey aimed to gather insights into people's challenges and expectations for managing their trips, particularly with regard to gathering accessibility information.

35 mobility challenged individuals
1. Background screening
2. Commute experience
3. Accessibility information curation
4. Travel expectation
5. Technology familiarity
Building User-Empathy Within Teams Through Visualization

We created an empathy map based on the data we collected from the directed storytelling sessions and surveys. This map helped us to visualize our users and ensure that the team keeps their needs in mind while designing.

Speed-dating With Storyboards

As a group, we each swiftly created three storyboards that were categorized based on their level of safety of implementation: safe, mid, and "out there." To evaluate the storyboards, we then engaged in the "rose, bud, thorn" activity, where we reflected on the positive aspects (rose), the potential areas for improvement (bud), and the challenges (thorn) for each storyboard. This helped us identify opportunities for enhancing the design during the following wireframing session.

Final Design

01 Accessibility Filters

We added a wheelchair icon in the filter area to allow people filter places based on the availability of accessibility facilities like wheelchair ramps, accessible restrooms, accessible parking, and indoor seating for wheelchairs.

The wheelchair icon will also be visible in the location's section, providing users with an immediate indication of the accessibility of the place.

02 Accessibility Ratings & Reviews

In addition to general reviews about a place, our design now allows users to view ratings and reviews that are specifically related to accessibility. We have included the most commonly used accessibility facilities, making it easy for users to find information in a shorter amount of time.

With this design, reviews about accessibility facilities are now easily searchable, shortening the amount of time it takes to find them.

03 Prioritized Street-view Photos

We made street-view and photos of facilities a top priority in our design, as these are the most crucial pieces of information that mobility-challenged travelers look for when searching for a place.

To help users filter different accessibility facilities and see pictures of them, we added new filtering bubbles that display this information in an easy-to-use format.