• Clean up the overall layout for better user experience
  • Increase user engagements and encourage people to use the search feature to generate new search or refine existing search
  • Increase user engagement or clicks to get map or directions
  • Minimize revenue impact as the result of a much reduced advertisement spots


The search result page is the highest revenue contributor on before Google launched the smart pricing program for publishers. After the smart pricing was launched, this page suffers a tremendous revenue decline and MapQuest saw this as an opportunity to improve the layout of this page and put user experience as top priority and at the same time, maintaining the revenue level as much as possible.


The Old MapQuest Search

Redesigning the search feature is one of the biggest and most important project at MapQuest. Not only because this feature is integrated almost anywhere on site, but it also generated the highest revenue stream.

The first action is analyzing the current user task flows for searching a business by plotting a simple block diagrams and conducting usability testing and observed how users are performing a local search on, paying special attention to any bumps and failures.

The old search page was over-monetized with many advertising placements, that often were more relevant than the actual search result, causing many “accidental” clicks. After Google launched the smart pricing program, the revenue declined drastically because of this behavior.

The title of the search result and feature set to allow users to refine the search quickly were not easy to find and required extra clicks.

This page was a long scrolling page, so double scroll bars that served the page length -and- the search result content confused a lot of users. Often they thought that MapQuest could only find 5 businesses on every search performed.

The features to allow user to map the listing and/or get directions to the listing was separated. Also users were confused with the word “To” and “From”

The map is small, and user often mistakenly thought that the advertising placement on the right was part of the search result, thus generating even more “accidental” clicks.

The New Layout

The first thing I did was start with a blank canvas, removing all the advertisement noise that were cluttering the page. Then increasing the width of both search results and map to 50%, moving the Refine Search feature to the top, as part of the search form

Working together with Product Manager, we identified other revenue sources we could put on the page that are less intrusive. Also we negotiated the “revenue loss” that we could afford without crippling the company.

After creating several design candidates, several usability testing sessions were conducted with interactive prototypes. The results shown that with cleaner page and single scroll bar on the page, users were able to perform the task better.

The Result

By removing the advertisement clutter, utilizing only one scrollbar on the page and making the search control panel more prominent, MapQuest search immediately saw an noticeable improvement within days of its launch:

  • Increased user interaction on search result listing by 10%
  • Increased user engagement on editing search by 350%
  • Increased user interaction on refining search using the filter by 10%
  • Minimized revenue decline to 11%