Yelp Mobile – case study

a more intuitive way to search


Aside from providing real user reviews, the Yelp platform contains a database of photos and videos related to a business. When relevant and aesthetically pleasing, visual content can become an optimal tool in conveying a truer experience for the user



To optimize users’ search and photo-viewing experiences


Yelp is a digital platform that aims to help business owners grow their businesses and connect with their customers.  Business owners are able to converse with customers, upload information, track visitor engagement and customer leads all in one place


+ Seach Tool

  • provides users more control in the search experience
  • helps users find specific information, faster

+ Classification

While in search mode, content is classified under 3 categories:

  1. Most Popular (based on business’ best-selling items)
  2. Most Liked (based on user activity)
  3. Most Recent (based on time of upload)

+ Image Slider

  • full-bleed image
  • slider gallery for easy navigation


Based on a recent article by Alex M., a Software Engineer at Yelp:

“Yelp users upload around 100,000 photos a day to a collection of tens of millions, and that rate continues to grow… These photos provide a rich tapestry of information about the content and quality of local businesses.”

The photo system becomes a huge window into which users are able to get a fuller picture of the business.

Yelp’s current ‘Photos and Videos’ section has seen refinements including the addition of the Photo Classifier, implemented in August 2015.

“Some folks use Yelp photos for checking out the atmosphere for a special event or navigating to a venue for the first time, while others use Yelp photos for more serious applications like finding out if a restaurant can accommodate a handicapped patron. All of these tasks are now easier and more efficient with the launch of tabbed photo browsing.”

To jump start, Yelp developed a classifier that can pull photos into 5 different categories by collecting information from photo captions, photo attributes and crowdsourcing.  Yelp plans to develop a more comprehensive photo scoring system and utilize user feedback and quality signals to provide a more refined experience for Yelp users.




For business owners:
a beneficial way to garner more interest in the business, leading to growth in business

For customers: 
a handy search tool that can provide a more efficient and informative experience

For Yelp:
more user engagement, advancement in classification system