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Customized one-click Maps navigation using Zooper Widget - Android customization

Maps navigation is not as easy as it should be, especially if you are already driving, bypass the hard part with Maps shortcuts, then, use Zooper Widget to make them look good and get more than one link per 1x1 Homescreen square.

Published onJune 25, 2015

I hope your device is running as smooth as ever with last week’s system checkup Android customization. Keeping tabs on your background data usage can have a significant impact on your device performance, and your wallet.

This week we quickly address a little problem I was having personally, and help you prep for your summer holidays with Maps navigation and Zooper Widget.

Before we begin

Get it on Google Play Button
You will require both a recent version of Google Maps installed on your device, as well Zooper Widget. It’s been a while, so I’ll remind you that Zooper Widget has a free version, but you’ll probably want to drop the $2.99 to go Pro. Google Maps is completely free, it is likely that you already have it installed, but if not, grab it from the Google Play Store as well.

Finally, I’ve taken the time to find a few images, a background image and some icons, that I want for my widget, you should do the same at this time.

Why create one click navigation buttons?

You may be asking yourself why you would bother taking up valuable homescreen real estate to create dedicated shortcuts to Maps navigation. I thought the same thing until a recent road trip to another state.

Google Maps Portland to Mount Hood

You’ve probably been there, you’re on a long road trip using Google Maps to find your way, all is going well until you pull off the highway to fuel or grab a snack. The moment you divert from the intended route, Google Maps gets a little flustered and re-routes you back to the highway or worse, attempts to change your route altogether, causing grief and confusion.

There are a number of other reasons that your navigation may hiccup and even turn off while you are on the road. It can be several clicks, including some typing, to get things back up and running again – which is not a great thing to be doing while driving. This happened to me often enough on my last trip, just a 12 hour drive, that I opted for the shortcuts, but not just any shortcuts, they needed some style, so I used Zooper Widget instead of the default shortcuts and icons.

The best part of using Zooper Widget to create Maps shortcuts is that you can condense them as much as your display will allow, otherwise, you are stuck with a full 1×1 Homescreen link per Maps shortcut. that can take up a lot of space.

Create Zooper Widget Maps shortcuts

Do you recall the basics of setting up a Zooper Widget widget?

Zooper Widget setup

Create your Zooper Widget widget, place it anywhere on your screen, and size it as you see fit. For our example we’ll be using a 1×1 widget that has been re-sized through the Launcher to 3×2, but again, any size will work.

Once sized, tap on the widget to get started.

I recommend creating an Empty widget.

Tap on Layouts. Or, if desired, clean up the Widget Background color first, don’t worry you can come back later.

Tap on the “+” icon in the top menu to add an element to the widget design.

Zooper Widget bitmap directions

Choose Bitmap.

Scroll down a bit and tap on Bitmap to choose an image stored on your device. Take the time to re-size and position the image as desired.

Tap on Module OnTap.

Swipe over to Shortcuts and choose Directions.

Choose your method of travel, enter the address and provide a shortcut name.

Hit Save to finish up the shortcut. Then tap the system Back button to save this bitmap element to the widget.

Zooper Widget bitmap Locations

Repeat for each location desired.

If you have a good handful of locations, you may want to fill the Module Name field in each image, but that’s up to you.

When complete, just tap the system Back button until it saves and exits out of Zooper Widget.

Give it a try, tap on one of those icons and Maps will fire up to provide directions.

What’s next

As is almost always the case when building Zooper Widgets, you should expect to jump back into the editor more than once to make some fine-tuning edits. You can also re-use some of what you build now for later directions, just change the Module OnTap settings to a new Directions shortcut.

Zooper Widget Maps navigation shortcuts short

Zooper Widget is absolutely not required to get Maps shortcuts on your Homescreen. There is a built-in Maps Directions shortcut available through your Launcher, go ahead with that if you desire. As mentioned earlier, this shortcut is not very customizable, but it is there if you need it.

Next week

We hope we’ve helped you find your way with this week’s Maps navigation Android customization project with Zooper Widget. Next week may also relate to maps, specifically, offline use maps (I have another trip coming up.)

Do you use Google Maps for your navigation needs?

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