Hungry? burrp!

Have you ever been craving for a particular type of cuisine and don't know just where to find it? Your mouth feels a bit dry, longing for that taste, and your mind wonders non-stop trying to figure out how to find that restaurant. You get the phonebook and settle on the closest match you can find. You meet your friends and you have a good time... with a bad meal! Ah! You wonder why you ever go to some untested territories in the first place. You should have known better than to be carried away by some fancy listings! If only someone told you it sucked! Ugh! So you end up not satisfying your craving, more frustrated than when you first set out, and with less money to speak of! How frustrating!

Thank God for burrp!, founded and maintained by true food aficionados, who understand the importance of having that one, harmoniously balanced perfect bite everytime. But more than this, burrp! helps you find relevant, up-to-date information on restaurants, places to go, things to do, and all the intimate information about the city which isn't available elsewhere. This is made possible only because contributors to the site are experts and authorities on the subject - the urbanites!

Is it an urban lifestyle guide? Yes. It's also every man's must-have guide to exploring the city in all its splendour. When a simple idea like burrp! is coupled with available technology to help make lives easier, it can't be anything but great. Sure, I sound like a burrp! fan - I am!

My Role at burrp!

I helped design burrp!'s User Experience so that users get up-to-date and relevant information fast. Here are some of the things I did while working for burrp!.

1) Improved Usability based on User Research and Testing

Product Testing: Knowing the current situation is always the first step towards any change. For websites, there is no better way to do this than to get it straight from the users. What do users think about burrp? What are their favorite features? What do they want to see? What information do they need? More important is, what don't they like about burrp? What nasty remarks do they make? We used all of their feedback, not to get even, but to get better.

Prototyping New Features: Taking everything we learned from product testing, we converted all these ideas into feature enhancements for the website. Many of the features you see on burrp! are all results of product testing. But to get there, we first had to prototype and simulate those enhancements. It’s an iterative process. Again and again and again until we reached the perfect solution.

Heuristic Evaluation: Prior to going full blast with our enhanced features, we need to make sure that our users will not encounter problems in the future. I am a Certified Usability Analyst (CUA), so this was naturally one of my favorite tasks. To do this, we simulated several scenarios and problems our users might encounter, and then did a detailed evaluation to validate those enhancements.

2) Improved Search Experience

Unlike a movie release after months of filming, testing for websites isn't a one-time stint, it's there forever, once you're on, you're always on. The results of the analysis I did with the team helped us improve the experience tremendously. We made burrp! friendly to users by instituting several changes, namely:

Understanding the User's Intent: What do they use burrp! for? Is it to get ideas on where to eat on a weekend, or to get the address of a specific chill out place? Or perhaps to know what others think of a particular place? Or to find the latest art exhibit or movie showing? Knowing the user’s intent will point us in the right direction.

Search Filters: Instead of searching for pizza, this feature will allows user to refine results quickly for “Pizza, Santacruz, Home Delivery”. He will immediately have the specific information, rather than pages and pages of results. A filtered search immediately removes all unwanted information and cuts search time.

Proximity Information: This is the one feature that is critical to the situation when user is looking for something very specific. With this, a person just has to specify where he is and he can get a list of nearby restaurants, like McDonald's within 3 kilometers of his vicinity.

User Generated Content (UGC): This is what makes burrp! so unique. The Reviews section contains feedback from burrpers! themselves. Not even Grim Eater can top that! So we enabled burrpers! to give their reviews on any business or event, so that their fellow burrpers! can reference it anytime.

Send-to-Phone Function: What single personal item serves as a notebook, a scheduler, a calendar, a password keeper? The cellphone! Urbanites love their phones and it was just natural that we enable burrp! to send information from the web to the phone. Now that is what users referred to as burrp!'s ultimate feature!

3) Innovations on the Look and Feel

We implemented several innovations in burrp! to get that right look and feel for the discerning urbanites. Can’t say I’m complaining. On the contrary, these tasks were highly enjoyable.

Business Pages Redesign: While burrp! is meant to be used by urbanites, we nevertheless had to cater to our business partners' needs, too. The more business establishments it features, the better our site will be for our users. We made sure that businesses get the maximum exposure from the site by including features such as events and specials, share/bookmark page, maps, videos and photos.

Search Results Pages (SERP) Redesign: The more results displayed on one page, the better. This saves on search time, and also offers the user a better view of all his options. It's quite annoying when you have to browse several pages just to see a few options, right?

Events Section Design: Which urban lifestyle guide doesn’t have an events section? Events section allows burrpers! to get first dig at what’s happening in the major cities of India. No more waiting for the latest dailies and magazines to tell you what the hottest on the scene is. Burrp! made these services available 24/7, and for free! What's more, you can also send event details to your cell phone.

Outcome and Benefits

Burrp! is getting louder and louder by the minute. Our months of sleeplessness and hard work were rewarded by an astounding 350% increase in burrp! traffic. Nothing could be sweeter.

Users have continued to grow by the thousands! burrp!TV is also gaining much following since last year, owing, no doubt, to burrp!'s newly-gained popularity.

Most of all, burrp! is now among the top 5 most visited sites in its category in India. Now, for an endeavor that started as a simple project between friends, that sure is something!

Experience at burrp!

Working at burrp! is a perfect example of why I will never want to do anything else in my life other than stay in my chosen profession. It’s been a ride, and what a wonderful ride it has been! Grow, burrp!, grow! Today, India. Tomorrow, the world! Long live, let it out, burrp!


Some of the design deliverables produced during the design process are shown below:

Using Format