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Waitlist redesign

Yelp acquired restaurant technology startup Nowait March of 2017. Yelp was ported over as fast as possible by the nowait team in 2017 and in 2018 I was tasked with a full redesign.


Goals for Redesign

  • Increase transparency and user trust to raise the number of diners seated.

  • Clearer understanding for diners that joining the waitlist isn’t the same as creating reservation.

  • Reduce number of no-shows by making it easier to leave the waitlist.

  • Clearer expectations around when to arrive.

  • Better guidance for diners once they are in line

  • Modernization & Brand




Theres a lot to unpack here I’d love to talk through more of the details with you in person!

I created this prototype to test our initial assumptions with users. And while overall we feel like it addressed a lot of concerns there were still some red flags, mostly around text choices like “Almost there”.

We originally chose almost there because one of the pain points of the product is that we need to get diners to the restaurant before their table is ready but don’t want to set strong expectations that a table will be ready right at their arrival time. Ultimately we decided to change “almost there” to “head to the restaurant” which we found reduced anxiety of users not feeling like they had a strong sense of what their obligations were.

BEFORE & AFTER Comparisons

Get in line pages


Educational Modal

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Place in line pages


TLDR - Theres a lot more to this redesign than I can adequately go over here! I would love to deep dive these changes with you and go over my process. Lets set up time to chat about these!

Check-in by was updated to “Arrive by” users preferred this because we were giving them clear expectations around when they should arrive at the restaurant using plain English rather than jargon. Modally presenting restaurant guidelines and seating policies helps set the expectation that you may not get seated right at your arrival time. Clearly showing the steps you will go through to get seated in a timeline helps by letting the user know ahead of time that we will tell them when to head to the restaurant and when there is 1 party ahead of them.