Design Portfolio


App Critique: Yelp

Yelp's search result page (left) and restaurant information page (right).

Yelp's search result page (left) and restaurant information page (right).

The Target Audience

The target audience is college educated (65.8%), upper income (46.3%), between the ages of 18-54 with the 18-34 demographic and 35-54 demographic being pretty evenly split at 36.5% and 36.7% respectively for 2017 (https://www.yelp.com/factsheet). The interface was recently updated so it feels more cluttered than it used to. However, the users in the target audience are tech savvy and can likely navigate the interface fine. The app uses typical UI elements as explained below. 

Does the content, organization, and navigation make sense for a mobile or touch context?

Yes, the content, organization, and navigation makes sense for mobile. 79% of searches on Yelp were done through a mobile device and 65% of new reviews were written on a mobile device (https://www.yelp.com/factsheet).

Yelp is information heavy and includes both text and photographs. The challenge is displaying all the information in a way that is easy for users to find what they are looking for. Yelp employs many different types of content display and navigation including a top search bar with filters, horizontal sliding collection views embedded inside a table view - this is mostly used to display photos or filters for the search results,  as well as a bottom tab bar for navigation to different sections of the app itself such as nearby, search, profile, activity, etc.

I like, I wish, what if?

I like how Yelp orders reviews by displaying your friends’ reviews first in the list before other users. I am are more likely to trust my friends’ reviews, giving them more weight than reviews of people I don’t know. I also like the cute icons for sandwiches, American, burgers, etc. above the restaurant ads.

I wish Yelp went back to their old search result display where the list of queries shows up first and the ability to toggle to the map view is off in the corner, instead of their current update with the map and list both displayed on the initial search result screen. The map is on the top half of the screen and the list is below it. In most cases, I am searching in an area I am familiar with, and thus do not need the map (or I can look at the map location for a specific restaurant that interests me). I would rather just see the list since it shows a location’s distance (ex: .01 miles) from the user anyways.

What if Yelp hid some of its ancillary content in its UI through dropdown menus or other elements in order to streamline the app and make it feel less overwhelming.

Additional Thoughts

Yelp tries to do too many things at once. It started out as a simple search app for local businesses, but now you can order food off the app, view curated lists of businesses, make reservations, or even save a real-time place in line for a restaurant. There’s also a gamification aspect where users’ check-ins earn them badges. When there are too many features in an app, it can feel cluttered and that the main purpose of the app is diluted. I still use Yelp as my go-to search for restaurants, and I generally just use the search functionality and not the other features.

DesignElla ChiangComment