Reviews are the most heavily trafficked section on the restaurant admin dashboard with responding to reviews one of the most requested features by our restaurants.
We conducted 30-minute interviews with 5 participants who were a mix of marketing director, GM, and owner. All were currently OpenTable’s customers, highly engaged in managing online reviews, and had shown interest in engaging with their reviewers. Some of the key insights we uncovered were
1) There is usually some truth to reviews and they are very impactful to a restaurant's business.
2) Restaurant managers want to be alerted immediately if there is a negative review so that they resolve the issue with the diner or fix what went wrong.
3) Look at diner trends in the restaurant and see how their ratings compare to competitor restaurants in the same region.
4) Have a way to respond and acknowledge reviews both good and bad. Many restaurants focus on hospitality and this is a feature they view as being key to maintaining a good relationship with their diners.
After the research, I realized that restaurants wanted three main features - a way to easily read reviews, respond to diners and look at diner trends. Below are the wireframes I created for reading and filtering reviews (image on the left), responding to reviews (top right) and looking at trends (image bottom right). The wireframes helped shape the final design and discussion with the engineers to determine what we could or could not build for v1.
The image below compares the old dashboard (on the left) and the new design (on the right). New functionality includes filtering, scanning reviews easily, liking reviews, bookmarking, review statuses and responding to reviews.
The image below shows how a restaurant could respond to a diner. Communication would happen via our platform to preserve a diner’s privacy.
After a response has been sent the diner will be notified and they can respond back on our platform either through email or in the app. Below is an example of a diner viewing a restaurant response in the app.
The image below shows the review trends section. The trends highlight how ratings change week on week and how they compare to competitor restaurants.
As we were seeing such high engagement - we also introduced the reviews section in the iPhone app we offer for restaurant owners and managers. That way owners could be notified of a negative review on their device as soon as it was submitted and could also respond to reviews quickly. Below are examples of the iPhone app designs.
How to work with both sides of the business
I had to work with both the consumer and restaurant side of the company for this project. Any solution we implemented on the restaurant side had to match what we showed diners on the consumer side. We also wanted to respected our diner's privacy and needs as well - especially with the new feature that allowed restaurants to respond to a diner's review. As a result, we designed a solution that gave diner's an easy way to opt out and also protected their identity.
The project also required collaborating and communicating with many different teams in the organization. The designs I created help facilitate conversation between different teams, surfaced problems quickly and we were able to utilize technology that already existed to build most of the tool.
Design interactions for the details
Creating a very high quality design is also about getting the details right. The reviews feature was a success because we spent time on the details. I worked with our UI writer to make the text concise and approachable. I also explored animations for the filter transitions and looked at many calendar widgets to get the date filter to be as intuitive as possible on the web. Additionally, I had to think about how to build this cross platform. I thought about the design specs and how they would fit in with the website grid and work responsively to support the smallest iPhone screen without losing key functionality.
Your first design is rarely the right one
I went through many rounds of feedback and iteration before I landed on my final design. I realized that working together with product, engineering and other designers was vital in making my designs better. Although it’s hard for me as a designer to ever consider my design "done” – the feedback I received was very important for not losing sight of the overall project goal and making sure we hit our shipping deadline.