I redesigned the Yelp mobile app for a UX prototyping class. I worked alone and had 3 months to complete this project. I spoke to users and discovered two pain points— Users were trying to avoid traffic to get food in the quickest possible and being able to incorporate food research, like in Eater LA or Thrillist, within Yelp. I incorporated design solutions based on their feedback so users would have a more intuitive experience.
I was responsible for every aspect of design— heuristic analysis, surveys, interviews, creating an affinity diagram, sketching concepts, and low/high fidelity prototypes.
I went through the Yelp app and gave myself a task to find the best all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurants. I noted observations and suggestions to improve UI and UX for a more intuitive experience.
Next, I spoke with people to find out their experiences with Yelp. I wanted to learn what they liked and disliked to improve the experience.
I learned that people are doing research on Google (Eater LA, Thillist, etc.) and Yelp before they make a food purchase. When people are hungry, they are trying to get to the restaurant as quickly as possible to avoid traffic.
Other user challenges were slow access to the “bookmark” feature on mobile, unnecessary features users rarely clicked on or used like “Events,”and users want to tag food photos to the menu of restaurants so they can see the exact photo for each meal.
I kept seeing over and over in my research that users didn’t trust Yelp reviews and have a flawed rating system where positive reviews were being hidden affecting the livelihood of small businesses.
I grouped the pain points that are similar and belonged together. I learned there were technical and social challenges users faced. I put my focus and prioritized on designing for user’s consistent patterns and problems I see in the data.
When users are really hungry, they search for the restaurant address and are led to google maps. They could be stuck in traffic since it’s not taking into account real-time traffic. Users didn’t want to go back and forth between the Yelp app and safari when they did research for food— they wanted to have the experience in one platform. From looking at common patterns and pain points, I decided to design to solve those issues.
But the biggest problem I kept seeing was that users didn’t trust Yelp reviews. I wasn’t quite sure how to design a solution to address the transparency issue and how the algorithm chooses one review over another.
I started sketching out flows of how users could get food in the quickest way possible and I thought about Waze since it provided real-time traffic updates to avoid traffic. I also sketched flows on how I can incorporate food searches in safari within the Yelp platform.
From the surveys, I learned that 57% of people have used Waze within the last week and people have found value and great experiences with Waze.
I created a high fidelity flow of Waze within the Yelp platform. This could prevent accidents and distractions when users copy and paste addresses between apps.
I learned that users were doing research for food on Eater LA, Thrillist, and Yelp before they bought food. These experiences are currently separated, but these experiences are intuitive and the user’s current mental model.
In the redesign, when people search for Korean barbecue, for example, results show up normally with restaurant suggestions in addition to articles with the “best” Korean barbecue restaurants.
THINGS I LEARNED
I tested out the design and users found it easy to use and they didn’t have any troubles accomplishing their tasks. I would have liked to speak to stakeholders to find out their goals and current challenges so I can provide solutions for the business, not just the user. I’m curious to see the analytics of Yelp and what features users are “clicking” on the most to iterate and improve those features.
I worked on this project alone and it would have been nice to work with other designers to think of ways to solve the transparency and algorithm issue. If I had more time, I would like to have done more user tests with the app to get more feedback on the redesign vs. the old design.