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Urbanspoon revamps app to better cater to its users

The company is also working with the James Beard Foundation, Eater and Village Voice to better help users make informed restaurant choices. According to Urbanspoon, the new app provides a comprehensive view of the restaurant experience based on percentage of likes, expert content and visual elements, including an emphasis on user photos.

“Personalization is at the core of the new app,” said Conrad Saam, director of marketing at Urbanspoon, Seattle.

“The redesign brings further personalization to the restaurant discovery process — helping users make the most informed choices to find the restaurant that is very best for them,” he said.

“For example, the new visual Urbanspoon app enables users to get a quick snapshot of the top restaurants as selected by the James Beard Foundation, Eater, and Village Voice, as well as filter based on individual preferences such as price, location, cuisine,  tables available tonight, and short form user feedback.”

Urbanspoon is an online local restaurant guide, aggregating restaurant content from across the Web including newspapers, professional food critics, bloggers and diners.

New features
The revamped mobile site includes several new features.

For example, users can now select restaurants based on a number of criteria, such as hottest restaurants, user feedback and photos.

Additionally, the app integrates industry recognition from The James Beard Foundation, Eater and the Village Voice so diners can choose from 22 years of James Beard Award Restaurant and Chef winners and nominees.

There is also a mapping feature that lets diners filter by cuisine, distance, name, popularity and price.

“Mobile has always been the central part of the Urbanspoon strategy, having first launched as an iPhone app in 2008,” Mr. Saam said. “And being featured in some of Apple’s earliest TV spots certainly helped drive awareness for our app and its signature slot machine shake.

“Since that time, we have seen well over a billion shakes and our mobile traffic has doubled year over year, making Urbanspoon the most downloaded mobile food app,” he said. “Our focus continues to be in bringing users really intuitive and fun ways to discover restaurants based on the information that is most relevant to them.

“Consumers are now purchasing more smartphones than ever, and this overall movement towards mobile access continues to be a primary driver of our growth.”

Mobile anywhere
The revamped app also includes a wishlist that lets diners keep track of restaurants they want to try.

The new features are meant to create a seamless experience for users.

“We will have more to share in the coming months about our consumer app, including launching additional features and on new platforms, as well as our iPad RezBook app for restaurants,” Mr. Saam said.

“Overall, we are focused on creating both visually delightful and intuitive ways to enable consumers to discover new restaurants and make reservations, and help restaurants receive and manage reservations.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York