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Ask HN: review my app whereslunch.org
14 points by gregstoll on Jan 21, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments
I've been working on whereslunch.org as a side project and I'd love good feedback on it. It's designed to help you find new restaurants to try for lunch.

If you create an account you can rate restaurants and get suggestions about restaurants you might like. (and you can sign in with OpenID!)




when buying a domain make sure the .com of your .org isn't porn


Sorry about that! Good, clear domain names are a little hard to come by. I probably should have thought of a more clever name...


Hahaha....who would have guessed a name like that would be a porn site though?


www.bustaname.com sounds like the right tool for this situation...


I really like the concept. A few suggestions for the UI:

1. Why make me choose a city at all? Start me at the US and let me enter an address and show all places on the map.

2. The map is very small. At the minimum it should take up the available area. Keep the same height / width ratio if that looks better.

3. The color codes should be visible from the start so I know what I'm looking at. I'd suggest moving it above the map and out of the tabbed part.

4. Make the Top Rated part into a table with columns and alternate colored rows. It looks messy.

5. The tags section is messy too. Give me a list of tags and the number of restaurants in each tag and let me click. And definitely don't show me tags that don't have restaurants.

6. Actually, dump the tags and categorize the restaurants. There's too much potential for an overabundance of tags.

7. The text in locality filter overlaps.

8. I'm not a fan of popups in general because it covers too much of the map and makes it very difficult to click another restaurant. Consider moving all of the info on the popup to the area below the map.

In general, figure out why people are coming to your website and engineer the UI to fit that purpose. I would think people are looking for where to go out to lunch because of your domain name (which looks it may change). So let them zoom into their office and see all of the places within a few miles. Colored pins are good but your customers have to know what they're looking at.


comments:

Hurrah, email optional & no verification & having a delete my account button!

I think you need to prettyfy your UI! Little bit of CSS and curves goes a long way :)


You default to Austin, Texas. Why not detect the user's location from their IP address? Even if it isn't perfect, it's better than always guessing Texas.

Also, it would be nice to see more about a restaurant than just a name and a rating. I can't really trust the ratings when there's only one or two per restaurant, so give me something more to base my decision on.


I tried to add a restaurant in my city, and I could either (a) add a new restaurant or (b) add a new location. It took me a while to come to the conclusion that adding a new location meant adding a new instance of a chain of restaurants, adding a new restaurant meant adding a new chain. (I think.)

So okay, I'll start by adding the nearby Chick-Fil-A, because that chain is already in the system. I add a new location, including the street address and zip code, and... nothing. My city isn't in the drop-down menu. I guess it didn't get added?

Hmm, well, wait a minute, when I click on Chick-fil-A from the rating listing on the right, there are two locations, one in Austin, and one in... Cedar Rapids! There we go! So my entry did get added, but Cedar Rapids wasn't added to the drop-down menu of locations.

I found the whole experience fairly confusing.


I like it.

However, my personal primary issue with your app is that when I go to it to find lunch, it's just too much information. When I'm looking for lunch I don't want to spend 10 minutes browsing around and researching. I want something quick.

Suggest me a few places that might fit a criteria. Have a quick-access menu (e.g tag cloud) or search so I can quickly type in what I feel like and get the results filtered.

I know this is all available in your app, but in my opinion it's to hard to find to engage the user.


At first I have to question how this can compete with places like Yelp, etc. (we have a dumber app here in NYC called menupages.com) but your use of Google Maps totally sold me.

I would suggest changing the language regarding accounts, specifically instead of 'login with openid' which some people may not have heard of, just have a register button. Also, definitely have an option for users to submit restaurant menu links to the restaurants they've reviewed.

Great job!


I don't get why this is getting good reviews. How is it different from the already-established sites? Even google does it itself on google maps.


I tried to distinguish by adding good tag and filtering capabilities, eg. looking for a place that serves asian food that takes less than 10 minutes.


I assumed you were choosing location based on IP, but I guess I'm just lucky to live in North Austin.

It wasn't clear to me what I could do once I created an account until I read deep into the site; some text on the homepage like "Create an account to add restaurants and ratings" would help.

I'll definitely start using this, good work!


Would love to have this populated for the NYC area.


Yeah, the big problem is where to pull data from legally. I'm definitely open to suggestions!

Went ahead and added NYC as a city.


I've been thinking of building something along the lines of this, but the data required was always the limiting factor for me.

Where do you get your data? Do you use Yelp's API, do a little data scraping, or are there sources with this stuff?


That's the problem - all the restaurants on the site were entered manually by me (and my friends).

Taking a quick look at the Yelp API TOS, it looks like you might be able to use their data. (but of course I'm not a lawyer)


I have something vaguely similar -- http://lunchmapr.com/

Though it's more focused on private/smallgroup sharing.

I've been considering a refactor lately to enable more lightweight list sharing, and having some kind of collaborative database of restaurants, ratings, etc.

Was considering scraping the NYC Health Inspection database to seed the data... citysearch and menupages don't license, yelp doesn't permit you to show any reviews but theirs...

There's also this: http://www.freebase.com/view/dining/restaurant


"Went ahead and added NYC as a city."

So I was going to add some restaurants, but when I selected NYC, then clicked on "Create a free account", I got a 500 page that said:

"Please contact the server administrator, [no address given] and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error."


Ah, tracked down the problem - it was related to a last minute URL change I made. It should work now, sorry!



I need this for further downtown:)


awesome, wish there was a UK equivalent.

How about you make a Cambridge, UK version and I'll try to get some people to use it?


Thanks!

I'll see what I can do - sadly the database schema is somewhat tied to the US right now, but as long as Google or Yahoo geocoding works over there it shouldn't be too bad...


I went ahead and added a location for Cambridge - let me know if you're able to add locations or not, since I haven't tested the geocoding in the UK...


Have to change things like ZIP... Not enough characters permitted for UK postcodes.


OK - now zip should function as a postcode as well. (characters permitted, up to length 10)


awesome! my girlfriend would love to make you a logo if you're interested?

drop me an email and I'll put you in contact. peter [\at] omgponi.es


When in Cambridge, Chilli's always calls to me....


Create an account:

"Internal Server Error"

Boo :(


That's weird - are you still seeing this?


I saw it if I selected Cambridge then tried to sign up. If I selected somewhere else and clicked on sign up, it worked.


Thanks for the info. I'll take a look at it sometime soon...




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