When I was gone, YP.com redesigned its homepage, continuing the site’s evolution from an online directory to something broader and more lifestyle oriented. Many of you have probably seen it but here’s the new homepage:
I very much like the use of larger and bolder imagery and the placement of icons for high-use categories across the top of the page. The bottom of the page features local businesses with reviews and invites you to rate them. This will probably help boost the site’s review count.
The new homepage, however, raises expectations for the rest of the site experience, which are often not fulfilled. For example, the “movie theaters” icon suggests you can search for individual movies and find out where they’re playing. While you can find theater locations, you can’t find individual films.
YP.com business profile pages generally look good but the interim search results pages need a major overhaul. They’re cluttered and not very helpful to consumers. Here’s an example for “painters, Pleasanton.” There are simply too many ads, too much small text and too many links.
YP.com is also generating more content, such as the article below on kitchen remodeling. Our kitchen was recently painted and I was drawn in by the large, attractive kitchen image.
This content is interesting and helpful to consumers. However, as with the homepage, it creates an expectation that there’s going to be additional content depth at the provider level and even more functionality on the site.
While there are reviews for many service providers, which is very important, I want to be able to interact with service providers through the site (e.g., email at a minimum). I also want to see more examples of work and perhaps tools that help me determine potential remodeling costs for my kitchen. This is the kind of specialization that would be offered by a home-improvement “vertical,” but which is hard to do well for numerous categories in a directories context.
If I want a basic list of painters or kitchen designers I can go to Google. To compete YP.com needs to provide more context, content or information depth and structure (or some other other compelling experience) that helps me narrow the list of places to call or visit.
YP.com is moving in the right (and necessary) direction with its new homepage and related improvements. But it should also recognize that it’s creating higher expectations for what people will find inside.