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September 2013

Digesting Yelp

After spending a week eating my way through the Pacific Northwest I became intimately familiar with Yelp (as if I wasn’t already) as it guided me through a gastronomic amusement park.

I found that using the Yelp app on my iPhone was terrific in making some of the finer decisions (highlighting often remarked menu items & displaying pictures of dishes) but rather clumsy when making the most important decision: where should we go to eat? Yelp’s restaurant rankings never struck the excitement that their menu highlights did, and certainly did not approach the confidence that comes from a local friend’s recommendation. What was missing? Yelp certainly commands a dazzling mine of data – but sometimes I feel it isn’t being leveraged properly.

Yelp today
Yelp displays search results in two ways, on a map and in a list. Both of these methods have fundamental problems, which we can investigate by a simple search for brunch spots near my favorite brunch city: Durham, NC:

existing-yelp

The MAP view, on the left, appears first READ MORE