The topic we chose for mid-term projects was restaurants review websites, we analyzed the structure and pros/cons of 5 websites and listed the advantage that they have. For the final project, we chose one of those 5 websites to redesign, we must keep the pros it has and revise those minors, in order to optimize the usability, and also make the information on the site be completely used and utilized by visitors.
GURUNAVI is a Japanese restaurant review websites. The content in GURUNAVI is precise and detailed, which is important for a review website. And we found the interface of GURUNAVI neat, arranged, and high-quality, images on the site raise the willingness of user very much.
But we still found some disadvantages of GURUNAVI, such as the lack of navigation system, structures of the whole site… So these are the reasons we want to improve GURUNAVI.
Process and Content
There is a simple site map in footer, providing certain locations and selected articles about Japanese food. But we consider it as a redundant part, because it’s not the holistic sitemap and there's one on the top of it. So our decision is to remove this area to keep the page clean.
Search restaurants by category
There are only some popular categories would be seen on the homepage, if users want to browse all categories, they have to visit another page. To improve the experience, we would like to change the way presenting categories, and also reorganize the labels to be clearer.
GURUNAVI is a long web page design, arranged with different sections of content, there are banners, GURUNAVI special features, Search restaurants by location, Search restaurants by category, top 20 popular places in Japan, and articles on Japanese food. But without a navigation menu, it would be hard for users to find their need. Users have to scroll the page all way down, and it’s hard for them to locate themselves as well. So, we want to add a navigation bar on the top of the website with clear information structure of GURUNAVI.
1. Search bar
There are two places for searching in the homepage of GURUNAVI. The first one is a simple search bar on the upper right of the page, another one is a section of quick search beneath it. But we found these two positions share the same feature, which makes the upper one unnecessary. So our redesign plan is to integrate them into one and reorganize the interface.
2. Search results page
Generally speaking, when users click on search button, it should lead them to the result page. But the original design guides users to the filter first before the search result, which might cause users misunderstand the visibility of system status. Besides, the page provides two random recommended restaurants before other results, it confuses users with the right amount of result entries.
In conclusion, we think the content of result page should keep neat and clear, unnecessary content like recommendation should not be the focus of the page. The filter section can be keep, but presented as a toggle menu, users can expand it when they need to add or edit search criteria.
3. Search criteria
Price level option in advance search is thoughtful, but there is no definition or annotation about the price range, so the understanding might be subjective, and different from users. If the level could be commented with the price range, for example, ¥ = 400-1000,¥¥ = 1000-2000… and so on.
It’s good to have many language options to select, and GURUNAVI does really well and holistic in translating content into different languages. However, we found there are several typo in Traditional Chinese version. Though it’s a small minor, we want to revise it to make the professional image of GURUNAVI better.
2. Ad/coupon chunks
There are many ads, coupons, and other website links on the right of the page. Every chunk has its own style and color, and this makes the pages disordered. Our suggestion is to put these content into the menu, and named like ‘coupons’ or ‘links’.
GURUNAVI doesn’t have a section for news, like the newest article, recently updated, and promotion/coupons. This makes the website motionless, and wouldn’t be that attractive to users. So we suggest a section for news, to show that GURUNAVI is maintained carefully and frequently.
We made the redesign with Axure. There are total 13 pages, we developed a child page for each feature on the navigation menu, and also pages for sitemap and advance search.
In order to respond to the long web page design of GURUNAVI homepage, we also added a back to top function on the right side. The search bar is now integrated with simple search and advanced search on the upper right, which would make the advance search page easier to access. And the section of news was designed as a list of recently updated articles, ordered by release time.