Being an avid foodie living in San Francisco, Citysearch has long been part of my restaurant search arsenal, which also includes Yelp, sfgate, sfstation, and Chowhound. I’m not alone in using the site this way: 6 of the top 10 searches in Citysearch San Francisco are related to food. So it’s good news that Citysearch updated its website last week, creating a richer user experience while implementing Web 2.0 standards.
Aside from the fresh look and feel, some of the updates include:
1. Text messaging – This is probably the most convenient new feature. You can now send your search results to your phone via text messaging and receive the phone number, address and user ratings.
2. Behind-the-scenes videos – Citysearch offers short 1-minute videos of local restaurants, bars, hotels, and so on. Just like Chow. Now you can see the venue before you go.
3. Improved search – You can refine your search with more categories, such as group dining, carry out, lunch spot, and late night dining. You can also map your results much easier.
4. Better interaction design – Pop-up menus, for example, have replaced classic pull-downs, so you can see all the neighborhoods at once when you begin your search. This gives you a global view of your options, something pull-down menus can’t do.
5. Better organization of content – On the restaurants hub page, you can check out featured restaurants and popular new hotspots or select a checkbox for searching restaurants only.’ No need to drill down to another page anymore. And when you find the venue you want, you can also identify what’s nearby.’ With the click of a button, you can see a map of hotels, bars, theaters, banks, etc. in the surrounding area.
I still have a few complaints. Search needs some work; it’s inconsistent. When you select the button to map your results,’ it doesn’t always work. But overall, Citysearch has done a great job with this update. The site has definitely improved the user experience for people on-the-go. Now if they could only find a way of making parking easier.