Design Challenge: Redesign up to two core flows of an existing iOS or Android mobile experience you feel can be improved and proposing a new direction for it. The goal of this design exercise is to get a sense of your overall thought and creative process, gain insight into how you would critique an existing product, and understand your approach to solving its problems.

I decided to choose yelp iOS app, one of the most frequently used apps on my phone. I started with understanding Yelp's mission, target user group and user flow. Then I tried to find the existing problems by gathering insights from user research and app critique. In the end, I choose to redesign two core flows, searching for local businesses, and writing reviews.

Understanding about Yelp

Yelp is a website and mobile app that connects people with great local businesses. The Yelp community is made up of engaged locals who connect online and off to share their opinions about local businesses.

According to the Yelp Factsheet, 73% of Yelp searches were done on a mobile device, over 60% of Yelp content (reviews and photos) was generated on the Yelp app, which means mobile app is the most important platform for the Yelp community. People mostly use Yelp to review shopping, restaurants and local services. Most of the yelp users are under 55 years old with college degrees.

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User Research

I conducted an interview with 10 users who fit into the main user group. I ask about their use preference, observe them using Yelp, and try to understand how do they want to improve the current design.

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1. 60% of the users are likely to search by keywords or location. 
2. A majority of 90% of people never write any reviews.
3. Photo and rating are two top factors for users to make decisions. Only 30% of them check text reviews.
4. All of them will search for businesses and plan their trip before departure.
5. 50% of users feel hard to make decisions.

App Critique

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Conclusion & New Direction

Here is a diagram of Yelp's core flow:


User review is an important part of the Yelp community, which provides a lot of detailed information that we can't see from the general rating: How is the service? Is it a quiet place for work? Is there always be a long line? Is this a pricy place? These factors are always important for consumers to make decisions. However, most people never wrote any reviews or make good use of reviews, even though Yelp's Elite Program has attracted many active users.

In the Yelp community, users play two roles: consumer and contributor.

As a consumer, you want to search for great local businesses and make decision easily. However, the current design doesn't present helpful reviews in a clear and efficient way. You always check the photos but never read the thousands of text reviews. 

As a contributor, you want to record your life and share your experience with the whole community. However, your contribution is not well organized, and probably can't see by other users. Then you lose the patience to provide useful reviews.

Thus, I decide to redesign these two core flows: searching for a business, and writing a review


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Redesigned Screens


1. Searching for a Business

1. Different categories are reorganized into a horizontal bar, which leaves more space for other recommended businesses. Users can swipe the cards and view more options.

2. The "More Categories" list is condensed into one page, and the icons give users a clear view. 

3. After tapping the search bar, you can see the main categories and the search history.

4. You can see both overall rating and the top 3 special features from user reviews on the result list.

5. The new design of the filter greatly reduce the page length, and simplify the user flow. The filter contains two sub-features: "General Setting"s and "User Reviews".

6. You can not only select the general feature, but also filter by what other users think about. For example, food quality, service quality, environment...whatever you care about.

7. The new filter can help you to make decisions by searching relevant user reviews.

8. The big image on the top of the business detail page gives you a good first impression.

9. You can see other customers' opinion about this place and search for relevant reviews. In addition, you can like or thank other useful reviews in the same screen.

2. Writing a Review

1. You can swipe the cards to select the business you've checked recently.

2. For those who don't like to write long text reviews, you can post your review by simply selecting and adding keywords. The new design also enable you to add photos in the same time.

3. The new design of your personal homepage is more like a microblog to organize and share your interesting moments in life, which can also greatly help other customers.

4. There are some other features for you to organize your posts, for example, a photo album, or a Yelp map.

3. Flow Chart

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Interactive Prototypes

For the last step, I created two interactive prototypes with Pixate to test my design ideas.