Building Real World Experiences in Foursquare City Guide
Nicole Formica

This is an interesting take on the redesign, I’m not gonna lie I was rather disappointed by the result.

I am gonna comment on my experience with the beta primarily as a user and not as a designer.

First thing first, the information architecture seems all over the place and as a user I’m left searching more for my information than before. This could be expected when the user is faced with a stark change in navigation but I thing that by trying to reduce clutter, you have actually increased it.

  • My main beef concerns the “highlights” and “info” tabs:

I guess that you guys might be A/B testing but the content that is been shown to me had me disconcerted. My highlights tab shows primary the address/hours/category but ratings is nowhere to be seen (as opposed to the screenshot shown here). As a user rating is the first information I am looking for, and while more detail about the computation of the rating is always welcome, it’s presence should be made from the start.

Also I did not care much for the hierarchy of content shown in the section “what you need to know”. The first and bigger excerpt has been in my experience less significant than the information later shown (or at times not even understandable without the context of a full comment), then the 2 columns excerpt seems cluttered and makes readability harder. My advice: stick to a single level of hierarchy and horizontal one column content.

I was actually presently surprised to have the floating button “add to list” on the primary tab, as it is one of the feature that is for me — as a user — particularly useful, and which was not as easy to get to in previous version (especially when it was under the “saved” copy).

But then again finding a single principle action is always a bit tricky and can be confusing for the user. For exemple in my “info” tab the button is to access direction, but in my version there is no address information on that tab (it is in highlight), so there are no direct link between content of the tab and action… This would be confusing for the user.

  • Secondly “tips” is usually the second information I am looking for as a user after the rating and surely before pictures, yet it is the last tab. I guess you may already have studied that, but it remains surprising to me (again just one user talking here ;) )
  • Third, is the topic of visuals and overlay gradient. While I know that it is always a delicate task to work with text and icons over picture and I salute the technical challenge, I must say that the result is rather displeasing visually. Let’s not forget that pictures are user generated content, usually in low lightning or closeups situations. In 95% of the case this resulted in a thick bland grey, brown, or beige gradient — all within the “sad” color spectrum if I may — with its adaptation of white or black overlay text over a barely visible single photo. Moreover the transition of the loading placeholder (white on dark background) to black text on light background is not so appealing.

Also, as a user I may have get used to the header with a selection of 3 squared pictures that where a better representation of the variety of the place rather than a single poorly chosen picture, that more easily prompted me to click on them even while much smaller.

Anyway that is about it for critics as a user of this design since it appears in my beta version. I do hope my feedback is going to be useful and keep up the good work!