MyFab5 is a website that allows users to rate restaurants within categories (e.g., taco, sushi, steak, etc.). In February 2015, I worked part-time with them to deliver a better search experience.
The original search page of MyFab5 was an MVP. To understand its flaws and potential improvements, I started out by conducting a comparative analysis on 9 competitor websites. Based on my recommendations and discussion with co-workers, we identified 5 major areas (and a variety of details) to be improved.
The refreshed search page
Smart auto completion
Recognizable visual separations for different category types (dish, cuisine, restaurant. and recent)
Distinguishing user input and auto-completed content
Sorting & filtering options
Sorting results by ranking and distance
Recommending related categories as filters and supporting easy check/uncheck
Interactions for advanced filters
Sharing search results via social media
Integrating social aspects in search items
Fostering social behavior by showing relevant foodies
Layout for search items
Differentiating the main category from other categories
Showing phone numbers to allow quick contact
New layout for search items with features added
Considerations on extreme cases
Interactions for hovering and clicking on map pins
One of my key learnings is to keep brainstorming and providing alternatives, and weighing design trade-offs. I appreciate my co-workers for their valuable feedback on my variations and their encouragement for me to experiment with different layouts.