varskaviata.nu

Restaurant search tool

If you don't bring food from home or you're one of those guys working for a hot startup that provides free meals then what and where to eat is two questions you get confronted with on a regular basis around noon.

Using services like Google or Yelp can be useful but are not very accurate when it comes to showing that fast food hotdog joint around the corner that you know exist but doesn’t show up in your searches. With this in mind, you can't then really trust these services for being the most accurate search tool.

Another problem is that these services aren't local enough but then on the contrary, using a local yellow pages site will most likely just be an index of restaurant companies, catering services and not very up to date.

Goals

Simple search

An important feature was to categorize all restaurants by the cuisine they provided. I chose to highlight that attribute on the map by showing the representive country flag of that cuisine instead of doing like many other sites do, by the restaurant name, result number or by an icon.

Search result

By visualiziation the restaurants by country flag helped me answering my two core questions,
where and what to eat.

Navigating results

Navigating the results and getting detailed information about a restaurant was a feature that needed to be fast and seamless. By showing restaurants names on mouseover it was an easy and unintrusive way of "filtering" results that the user might already have come across.

Clicking the restaurants would open an expanded box with detailed information about the restaurant. This meant that detailed information about a restaurant would always be only 1 click away.

Result

Lesson learned

Tools are great but curated or user generated content rules no matter how cool your tool is.