Google Maps has introduced a brand new colour scheme to its service and users are not happy.
The mapping platform owned by tech giant Google rolled out a new design update with some major colour updates that some have claimed are now user-unfriendly. One of the most noticeable design changes is that roads have gone from white to grey while motorways have changed from yellow to dark grey.
Meanwhile, a lighter blue has been chosen for places where there are large bodies of water such as rivers and lakes while areas with lots of greenery will now show a darker hue of green. The new colour scheme was initially revealed in October, with a wider amount of users now receiving the update.
However, many Google Maps users are critical of the change. Chief among them is Elizabeth Laraki, a UX designer who said she helped design Google Maps 15 years ago.
Writing on X, formerly Twitter, she said: "15 years ago, I helped design Google Maps. I still use it everyday. Last week, the team dramatically changed the map’s visual design.
"I don’t love it. It feels colder, less accurate and less human. But more importantly, they missed a key opportunity to simplify and scale." She admitted that while major roads and traffic stand out more in the new version, the new colours feel "colder".
Similarly, other users have hit out against the new design on social media. User @ChorozonX said: "What a sick idea to change the colour scheme. Do you plan to kill the app?".
Meanwhile, user @gracegimson said: "@googlemaps your new UX update is really not user friendly! I’ve been google maps over others forever but it’s lost its efficacy/simplicity with recent changes." Similar sentiments were shared on Google Maps's App Store review page, with one user writing: "Can whichever yoof has sanctioned the change of colour scheme please be mindful of the very many older people in the world who will find this lack of contract in the new version impossible.
"I literally can't work out what you are seeing and why you would see this update as acceptable. This is supposedly for navigation where a simple view is crucial for following. You guys have lost the plot."
However, some users have defended the design change, arguing that Google Maps has become more functional and convenient in the new update. User @Eclipzify said: "Say what you will but being a massive Google maps and android user, I love the new design changes.
"It's so frustrating when more and more developers are pushing for minimalistic UI's instead of functional UI's."
Meanwhile, user @CavernousLines said: "Function and safety over design; the overlays as currently shown in Google Maps are useful and easier to access while driving. The new colors on the other hand, I'm not a big fan of, but reserving judgment as all changes take time to adjust to."
According to Google, it carried out extensive user research to help ensure that the new update would be helpful for all users, especially those who are either colourblind or have visual impairments. It added that the new colour combinations focus on creating appropriate comparisons between light and dark hues to allow things to be more distinguishable to those with seeing difficulties.
Google also confirmed that it is consistently examining Google Maps' design to more accurately reflect the real world. With this philosophy, it said darker roads were added to look more akin to actual roads while providing more details to lanes.
While some have criticised the new brighter water colour, Google claimed to have designed it in a way to more accurately capture the beauty of water.