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Does Yelp.com Seem Like a Useful Tool to You?

28 Oct

My third Research Article Analysis is concerning about Yelp.com website. The author concluded that information-seeking is the most prevalent motive for individuals who use Yelp.com. I have a question: Does Yelp.con seem like a useful tool to users? In order to answer the question, I create a Yelp account and use Yelp.

When I open the website, the search box is prominent in the homepage. I notice that my address is already filled in one of the search box. As a user who is looking for a wonderful frozen yogurt shop, I enter Frozen Yogurt and my address is West Lafayette, IN.

It shows that there are no results for Frozen Yogurt. However, it gives me a link of a category of Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt and lists two shops. Below these things, there is a clue: Do you mean frozen yogurt?

Have you noticed that I misspelled the word Frozen? Oops, it is the reason why there are no results. But Yelp did understand my meaning and give me a hint. So I click frozen yogurt. Wow, there are 18 results for that! Just see the screenshot below. With the goal of information-seeking, I want to search quickly and easily by typing some keywords rather than a clear word. As a novice and lazy user, I am not very familiar with Yelp’s search keywords and sometimes I did make a mistake. Notice that the term “forzen” is misspelled, but with a fuzzy search, results containing the correctly spelled term “frozen” are found. It will not confuse and overwhelm. The home page contains a wealth of information in an attempt to be helpful. If the searching function has many restrictions, it will annoy user and make them feel very uncomfortable.

Well, now I finally arrive on the webpage of frozen yogurt. There is a map! Maps convey a lot of important information. Crap…What is the meaning of Mo’ Map? Need Decipher again. After clicking the label, I know it allow users to expand the map and provide more details of the searching results. For a first-time user, the meaning is not obvious and it is time-consuming to decipher the words. Why not use the normal word More instead of Mo’ just like Less Map label used in the website. I think it will be more recognizable as well as consistent. The design of the map should not require user to learn them but make their overall experience fluid and easy.

As a user who loves to read and write reviews, does Yelp.com seem like a useful tool? I go to the Red Mango Yelp page and find 26 reviews for it. There is a rating distribution which shows five star levels of comments. I want to read all five star reviews. Unfortunately, they are not clickable. If I’d like to browse through the worst reviews, the two star comments are not clickable too. Yelp sorts the reviews by rate, useful, funny, cool, total votes, friends and elites. The default Sort By choice is Yelp Sort. I am confused what such a sort entails. Why not sort by different rate levels? By doing so, I don’t need to scroll down to scan all the reviews. It will save time and make users more convenient to find what they need.

What’s your opinion? Do you think Yelp.com is a useful tool to you? 🙂

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5 Comments

Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Good/Bad Interface Design

 

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5 responses to “Does Yelp.com Seem Like a Useful Tool to You?

  1. Xin Chen (@Magic_Cindy)

    October 29, 2012 at 1:58 am

    I noticed that you actually typed “forzen” rather than “frozen”. You swapped the o and the r 🙂 This is probably the reason for the search, rather than case-sensitive 🙂 Yelp does have lots of space to improve, but I do find it useful especially looking for restaurants when traveling.

     
    • cgt512chenguo

      October 29, 2012 at 9:05 am

      How careless! Thanks, XIn. I will change it. It is not Yelp issue but my mistake. I am using Yelp now. Hopefully I can find more interesting things and share it. Thanks again!

       
      • Xin Chen (@Magic_Cindy)

        October 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

        🙂 Actually, though you had the typo, I think the interface should be designed to make it clear that it guesses you had a typo, rather than confusing you by using a different case. If Yelp had displayed also using the same case as you had typed, then you would not think it was a case-sensitive issue. Also, since it guesses you mean “Frozen Yogurt”, it should display all the 18 results in order to be consistent. This inconsistency is an issue.

         
      • cgt512chenguo

        October 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm

        Agree! The search is not bad. But given that there are so many results, the sort function is very important. It seems that Yelp need more improvement in that area.

         
  2. Mihaela

    November 1, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I use the Yelp app a lot on my phone to find restaurants when I travel, and to check in when I’m in town. I rarely use the website – only to write reviews.

    Yelp is a very useful service for many. I think the utility trumps usability. You make good points about improving the design, though.

     

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