Yelp still needs Google to acquire new users
Yelp is a huge collection of "User Reviews and Recommendations of Best Restaurants, Shopping, Nightlife, Food, Entertainment, Things to Do, Services and More". Yelp has several types of pages built to improve its SEO game, but at the time of this project, the "Near Me Pages" received the most traffic. They are generated based on a template, and over 2,000 have been generated and are still live today. There's a "____ Near Me" page for every single business category on Yelp.
A solid first-impression is great for Yelp and consumers
These pages could be many people's first experience of Yelp, but unfortunately traffic to them had been stagnant, so I was asked to look into how we might improve them. Fortunately for designers and Yelp users, Google rewards better experiences. Even a slight improvement in conversion (<5%) could boost traffic significantly, to the tune of ~100,000 additional sessions a month.
I used my gut to form hypotheses, and data to form principles
I started by documenting visual/UI issues first, focusing on the top 10 most-trafficked pages. I came up with some hypotheses and used data to evaluate them. I needed to use Google Analytics and Splunk, but the learning curve was too big given our timeline. Fortunately, the engineers on the team were more than willing to help.
The analytics appeared to be validating my main hypothesis – the users who weren't finding anything of value were mobile users. In retrospect, it seems obvious that most users who search "[business type] near me" are on their mobile device. We didn't know that when the project kicked off, though.
By focusing on the mobile experience, we made significant impact
The road to production was a bit bumpy and quite short, but the updates we made reduced bounce rate and ultimately got many more users into the funnel.
Deeper dive slide deck
In the deck below, you'll see how I design using principles, and how those principles were reflected in my proposed designs. Using an example page, I compare each section, annotate the differences, and explain my design rationale.