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We took some time to familiarize ourselves with Yelp overall and got some interesting data points from the landing page. Now let’s look around. What else can we do? Going through an app’s navigation will help us get a better sense of the content and how it’s structured.

Figure: Delivery, Me, Notifications

Delivery, me, notifications
  1. Delivery. Since most restaurants are either closed or operating at minimum capacity, it’s no surprise that delivery is made prominent as an item in the Tab Bar. One interesting visual element you’ll notice going through the app is that the icons here use a different style than Home and Search. I suspect these styles are probably an evolution of Yelp’s visual language. The carousel on the top implies there are about 20 restaurant categories available, though arguably, it can be visually simplified by removing the carousel dots at the bottom.

  2. Me. When I was going through the app the first time, I cleared my notifications, and this screenshot reflects that; however, after a few hours I’m getting new notifications.

  3. Notifications. It’s useful to see notifications all in one place. However, the usefulness of the content itself is debatable. Is the content relevant to me because I’ve visited these places in the past, or is it closer to an ad promoting a service? Looking at the notifications as a whole in this format makes them all look the same. Since they all blend in, it’s hard to spot the difference or if there’s something important I should pay attention to, thus reducing the efficacy of these. There’s an opportunity here to further personalize notifications and lean in on the visual design to reinforce how much choice the user has when they’re ordering takeout or delivery. Alternatively, some of these notifications could also get cleared over time so as not to provoke user anxiety with the amount of things they need to clear out or check up on. Just like taking up room on Home to promote engagement, notifications too are a quick growth tactic to incentive use. However, there’s a certain point where their efficacy plummets, as is seen here when there are way too many notifications to go through.

Figure: Navigating Yelp: Collections, More

navigating yelp

It looks like a collection is a method of organizing similar things, or at least similar to the person who’s creating a collection and then either keeping it private (as My Bookmarks suggests with the “Non-Public” label) or making it public.

I typically liken the More page as a kitchen sink drawer for miscellaneous items. Yet it is a little strange to see a banner, “Warm up to winter.” Most likely this is another growth tactic to promote other services. Visually, the row icons are inconsistent: some use hairlines, others have thicker borders, and some are filled.

Exploring Personalization

We’ve now done a surface dive on Yelp. Primarily focusing on Search, briefly popping to the App Store and then returning back and exploring the app via the tab bar navigation.

Next up, I’m curious about how Yelp is trying to improve its recommendations via personalization. As previously mentioned, getting personalization right can be useful for a business as relevant content leads to higher engagement and user retention. However it’s how apps implement personalization that makes all the difference.

Figure: Personalization Entry Points

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