Integrating Users' Personality into the Yelp Narrative
Choose Your Night Out for Two or Twenty
Speculation: While Yelp is a favorite app for some for others it is only useful from time to time. It does offer preferences but not an extensive custom experience to its users. When a user wants to plan an event with friends, the users can look up a location on Yelp but need to use other applications to plan the actual evening out. What if Yelp had a personalized experience for the users? Such as the ability to save locations, create social networks within the app, and plan events within those networks. Perhaps, the number of unique visitors would increase and bring added revenue, reviews, and star ratings to businesses. According to Yelp, when a star rating increases by half of a star, selling out of dining times increases by 16%.
Hypothesis: By integrating a personalized experience called myYelp, the users will be able to create lists for saved locations, set their own search filters within those lists, or include the entire Yelp locations. The users will be able to send invitations to their own private social network and plan events through the messaging and notifications system.
What I learned: The idea of a more customizable feature for the Yelp application would delight users, especially those that do not use the app very often currently. Also, the idea of a social network integration is of value to users and businesses alike as goals and needs would be met by both target audiences. I realized ideating quickly is of great value in eliminating concepts that are not successful without using many resources. Getting the product designed well and tested by users does not have to wait until it looks all pixel perfect. In fact, at that stage, testing can be focused on style choices and not usability.
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Date Night Options
What options would you as a young couple want to explore using the Yelp app?
For my initial research, I focused on the target user of married college student couples. In the area where I was researching, most couples go on a weekly "date night" so I wanted to explore how Yelp could help in planning these weekly events.
With the integration of myYelp, the couple could save locations and have ready a list of options when the opportunity came to head out,
My most unusual insight was the couple that did not read reviews and liked the adventure of trying new places for the fun of it. They created a list called "Take a Chance"
What would this new vision and story look like?
After a few interviews, I explored through a sketched UX vision what event planning would look like. I also wanted to feel the types of experiences it might include.
I then sketched a storyboard of a couple's "date night" walking through the steps, the needs, and the goals of the user. By examining the "story" I knew what elements would be needed and when, where, and how they were used.
Quick and Dirty
Paper prototyping is the best method to fail first, fail fast in ideating concepts.
I did paper prototyping to evaluate a few general concepts and some navigation options for the search results. I decided to prototype mobile-first as the new features would be used on the go.
I wanted to test a saved list, setting search filter options, and how to navigate search results. By doing a very quick "arts and crafts" prototype, I was able to determine the users' delight or discomfort with all of these elements. Two major insights were discovered. The users enjoyed having a saved list and exploring it as they started their evening out and the search results navigation would not work as a swipe feature.
Using placeholders to start creating the experience
After a couple more paper revisions, I moved into a low-fi digital prototype The goal was to create a more expected prototype for the user to test. This version would also be a quick basic version to discover any issues.
Without the distraction of style or data, the user concentrates on just the navigation and being able to accomplish a task. I created mobile and tablet prototypes.
The main insight was again the type of navigation for the search filters still did not work well,
Putting the "meat on the bones" by adding real data and style considerations
With insights from previous testing, I was able to move into a hi-fidelity prototype. While this version is still not the last step to production, it was a step closer with real data and style. Testing at this point provided more insights to the navigation as I had again changed the elements. The users were pleased with the multiple options and it was intuitive for them to use
The prototype link will take you to a predetermined clickable prototype but not an actual functioning version where you can make personal choices.
Your task is to select a BBQ restaurant not too far from you after turning reviews off and Yelp suggestions on. Then reset your search to choose a bakery not too expensive with reviews and no Yelp suggestions. Have fun, clicking around!
What do I want to do next: Ideate and test the social integration feature and event planning. Interview research has proven that this feature is of value and interest to the users. Planning and connecting in one application was a unique addition to the Yelp application.