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Save Table (http://www.savetable.com), just as our last review, is a first of a kind site to be reviewed by the panel. The website describes itself as Alaska’s restaurant menu guide.
My first impression of Save Table leaves me excited. This custom application built for the website is going to be fun to explore! I have a project that I am building now that is going to be fresh and new so I feel linked to this website through that.
As I view the page for the first time I notice navigation is broken down into four major categories. Home, Listings, About, and Contact; these four well sections are easily to understand and intuitively named. As I move down the page a bit I see a large search box that seems to be the main call to action on the page. It does not seem well developed or thought out.
There is an excess of white space on this page as I scan the index. I am wondering, what is this coffee cup and why is it here? Also, why is there so much space emphasized on the search bar but then the color used to emphasize it is not a strong color. The bulk of the design features make this site feel incomplete.
The homepage could use a few corrections in my mind, however. First of all I feel that the links in the second half of the page. The hodgepodge of links seems to have been thrown as an after thought and does not add much value to the user expeirence. If you are interested in users using this feature I would recommend making these sections more valuable. Add more content and make these different features stand out from each other. Maybe consider adding different colors or backgrounds to make sections seem different from each other.
There were a few things that I liked and did not like about the Search section of the site.
The first feature that confused me in the search section was location. The fact that there are two sections to enter your location in two fields is not intuitive. I do like the fact that if you choose your location in the top field that it auto fills in the other field.
I would recommend you take at the DogPile search engine advanced options layout. This search engine has an excellent example of clean styling and layout on the advance options. The presentation will increase usability very quickly.
I would also like to see search results higher on the page. When I search something I have to scroll down through irrelevant content to finally find my results.
Usable Error Messages
I encountered errors of sorts on SaveTable twice. I was browsing for sushi restaurants. There was no menu to be found but I was offered a supportive message. SaveTable presented me with a clear message that there was no menu. However, I could request one! This error was friendly in presentation and allowed the user to easily understand what the problem was.
The next error I encountered was a string of code which could leave the user confused and frustrated. Avoid these at all costs!
Listings: The good, bad, and ugly
The listings section on SaveTable create the bulk of the website. I would like to see more than just a search bar on the main listings page. Since this labeled ‘listings’ I naturally would like to see a list of different categories of restaurants this site indexes. Consider incorporating some of those lists of links you have on the home page into this page as well.
I find it interesting that you can request to add menus on this site. I tried requesting a menu and to my liking it showed up with “One Request” below the request box. Out of curiosity I clicked again. I now see two requests. I am unsure if you have had abuse with this problem but you may consider only allowing one request per IP address per restaurant.
I like that you offer so much information per restaurant. I do not like having to click through several tabs, however, to find this information. I would highly suggest redesigning the tabs to only show up if the information is available for this. I can understand if this would not work if you have an option to request the information that is not provided, and in that case I would suggest including it in the main page for the restaurant instead of asking the user to click through five pages to find no helpful content.
- Develop the design: Expand on your design, minimize unneeded white space, and create a differentiation in sub sections when listing several groups of links such as on the home page.
- Restructure advanced search: Look into DogPile‘s advanced search options for insight. Your current advanced options are necessary to quickly find what you’re looking for but are not user friendly.
- Add more to Listings page: Develop a way to incorporate major categories to the listings page so that a user has another option to look for dining locations outside of search.
- Minimize pages on restaurant listings tabs:If a location does not have coupons listed, do not offer that tab on that restaurant. Leading users to view five pages or more of content less pages can lead to frustration.