Sam Brown

Designing for better first impressions

First impressions are everything. Whether it be another person, product packaging or a digital interface, we judge things almost instantaneously forming a mental image and opinion that we carry forward with us.

With that firmly in mind, today we rolled out new venue detail pages on the Foursquare website. The goal of this project was to re-imagine how these pages looked and were organized to give visitors a better first impression of the places we visit every day, based on all the knowledge and data Foursquare has compared to other services out there.

At Foursquare, we think about our check-in data as PageRank for the real-world. Importantly, our data is based on people actually visiting these locations, those are explicit signals that live in our ecosystem and can be combined with all of the other data we have to provide visitors with a legitimate and truthful view of a business.

Our venue pages are some of the most heavily trafficked pages on seeing 50 million visitors per month. We wanted to make sure that visitors were able to understand what they were seeing on this page after only a few seconds, find the information that they needed to help them form an opinion of that place and then act on that knowledge.

Peels - Foursquare

Visual design was a big component of this project but it was being smarter with the data we have at hand that was the biggest challenge here. Deciding the information hierarchy of almost 50 unique data points on this page took the most effort while still adding new unique and useful features.

Now our venue detail pages showcase smarts like similar places to the one you are looking at and places people go after visiting this venue, a personal favorite. All the while doing a better job at laying out all of the data in an easy to digest format that’s both familiar and understandable.

The logged-in version of our venue pages are significantly more personalized for each user, our Explore engine can help justify why a place might be worth visiting for you. Perhaps it’s that brands you like have left pro tips, sushi connoisseurs go there regularly or that it’s new in the neighborhood. We also showcase which of your friends have been there, whether they liked it or not and some of the content that they might have left in the forms of photos and tips.

All of this together will hopefully give visitors to the page both a greater impression of the business and what they offer as well as showcasing the power of using Foursquare for local discovery and search.

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Craig 23 April 2013, 13:44 #1

Awesome! Love these types of articles and reading about the thought process behind everything.

The layout and UX seems really well put together. Kudos.

On a slight technical note, Firefox has a weird initialization issue with the “Report a problem” and “Share” modals.

Christopher 23 April 2013, 18:18 #2

Looks great, Sam!

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.