“Yelp” Search Function Design Critique

— Improvement of interface to access the restaurant database —

A design critique of information design on “Database Model” — concepts based “Inventing The Medium- Principle of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice” by Dr. Janet H. Murray

Yelp is a restaurant searching service with combination of social networks. As a large database of restaurants, yelp provides a transparent interface design for interactors to access information, despite some possible improvements.

· Searching filter

The visual assistance of setting dining’s primary attributes gives interactors quick and easy access to enter the restaurant database (Fig 1a). Other detailed options were chunked below in classified lists. But overflow options were compressed in “More categories” button in a pop-up window (Fig 1b), which is not as transparent as directly expanding the list with scrolls or dropdown menu, e.g. w3school (Fig 1c).

· Results collocation

The interface design of showing results on both list and map is very helpful for interactors to access both name and types of the restaurant and geographic information (Fig 2a). However, I think the points on map with number index, which provides typical physical segmentations of data, are not effectively providing sufficient information. They can use different color on the points to indicate different types of restaurants. Also, numbers can be removed since hyperlinks of detailed data are shown when the mouse is over the point, which is implemented in “iPeen” in Taiwan (Fig 2b) or Google (Fig 2c).

Generally speaking, Yelp makes it easy for interactors to access its database, but the way it collocates the data can be more straightforward and efficient.