A UX case study focused on improving Yelp through user-centered design.


Please check my prototype at:


Yelp ranks # 3 under Travel category on the App Store in 2017, but how to keep it?

Yelp states that  “Our business revolves around three key constituencies: the contributors who write reviews, the consumers who read them and the local businesses.” Based on Google Analytics. Yelp has 142 million cumulative reviews. However, after going through 200 Yelp user reviews, I find that the most worrisome issue is reading and writing reviews. Therefore, I consider improving the review feature is a must-do.


According to the report of Introduction to Yelp Metrics as of September 30, 2017, most users use Yelp through the mobile device —79% search and 66% review. I thus focus on redesigning the mobile app of Yelp. 

It is no doubt that Yelp wants to improve user experience, giving its constant release of app updates that in at fixing bugs and adding new features. For example, it has been updated for 33 times in 2017 alone. However, after interviewing 8 users with different Yelp use needs. I find it is necessary to make additional improvements on Yelp other than the review function. 


Initial Concepting

I did not have a very smooth user experience when using Yelp to search for restaurants, bars and etc.

User Research

I interviewed 8 random Yelp users to understand their customer values and expectations and then created 2 personas

On App Store, I went through 200 Yelp customer reviews and collected key words

Market Research


Based on the user research, I redesigned several features of Yelp


I redesigned several features of Yelp based on the market research





I pointed out several other issues that I feel problematic


Other issues


I prototyped the whole redesign process by InVision




Major Problems from 200 Yelp user reviews

Basically, there are TWO categories of user concerns: reading reviews & rating system, and writing reviews. (See below)



Reading & Rating Issues

Missing filter based on the grading system

Missing chronological order function

Cannot show a full customer’s review on the same page

Writing Issues

Unreasonable length requirement

Arbitrary divide between review and tip

Redesign based on Yelp user review

According to the user reviews above, I redesign these interfaces and functions as follow:  


Adding different rating levels and make them clickable so that users can filter customer reviews efficiently. 

Using down arrow to hide and show customers review in the same page.

Showing customer reviews in chronological order

Unlimited requirement of content length, uses can write reviews and tips at the same page



User personas were collected based on target user interviews. There were two groups of target users: the traveler (especially the international traveler) and the locals. 

Defining Personas 


To resolve Annie’s and Eric’s pain points, I add some functions on Yelp


Adding Blog function

Adding blog function to facilitate users to read their favored food blog posts

Placing local favor, new and hot, and other tags on the top to provide a larger selection of filtering chocies

Showing the profile of blogger, and the number of views, comments, likes to help users better assess the value of blog articles

Adding hyperlinks to the homepage of restaurants shown in blog articles 

Adding "Cash Only" sign if a restaurant does not support credit/debit card or mobile payment.

Offering happy hour information in juxtaposition with the regular business hour

Adding Best Dishes function

Enriching the pages for best dish with specific food picture, ingredient information, rating, customer review, and the "Save" option.

Simplifying the viewing of best dish from one to another by swiping pictures

Displaying "Best Dishes" and "Today’s Special" prior to the section of customer reviews

Here are some additional issues 

The total number of customer review is a plain text without directing users to these reviews immediately. 

This asterisk icon does not clearly indicate the functions of writing review and tips.

Functions repeat in the “Me” page

The map function here is very confusing and redundant since users can just click the address icon to get the direction and to see the map.

This ellipsis that contains “Add Photo”, “Add Bookmark”, “Check in”etc., is rather a repeatation of functions on the home screen. 

A poorly organized assortment of official photos with customers’ photos. 

The information bloc takes a lot of space to force users to scroll down more to find other information.


Functions overlap with each other

These information bars take a lot of space.


Please check my prototype at: