The Web has overtaken almost all aspects of my own personal information gathering. I haven’t been to a library in years, the white pages sits in a closet, and I just don’t own any maps anymore. But the Yellow Pages still gets well thumbed. For some reason, finding local resources online can be frustrating. Even with resources like “Google Local”:http://local.google.com/ and “toronto.com”:http://www.toronto.com/, if I need to find a plumber in Toronto the Yellow Pages is better than the Web.
But now “Yellowpages.ca”:http://www.yellowpages.ca/ has redesigned and so “Ken”:http://www.onedegree.ca/category/ken-schafer asked me to take a look at the experience.
The home page is clear and concise allowing for multiple ways to search.
The first search field allows you to enter a business name, category or phone number. What’s nice is the system figures out what you are looking for. That means searching for “2 Brother’s Plumbers”, “Plumber”, “drain repair” or “416-XXX-XXXX” will get me good results.
I can search geographically by entering city, province or postal. What is nice about this, is the system handles the complexity, you enter terms that are natural to you and the system figures it out. Too many sites hoist complexity back at the user.
Results are great.
It allows you to easily browse listings. Listings have graphics, typically company logos, and some replicate the ad from the Yellow Pages. This allows for good visual recognition and comprehension. That is one of the benefits of the paper version of YP, when I look at a page I can scan it for a listing that fits my needs. They haven’t replicated that experience but have brought the right aspects of it over to their site.
When you are in a listing it gives you all the information you would need (address, phone, description map etc.).
It also gives you a screenshot of the home page of the company’s Web site (if available) which is a great idea. I was able to evaluate if I wanted to visit the company’s site before leaving Yellowpages.ca. A few search engines like Yahoo and Ask.com have begun doing site thumbnails as a way of finding search results and it works well.
Ken pointed out that Yellowpages.ca offers a very slick video tour of their new features. As I watched it I wondered why they needed this. The site is so simple to use that the features become apparent as you use it. I was able to experience it rather than having to been walked through it.
I did get a kick out of a link off the homepage that shows you the old versus new site. They really improved it. *Other sites please note* how much *less* information is on the new home page versus the old and how much *better* it makes the experience.
After having used Yellowpages.ca over the past day or two, my paper Yellow Pages may end up keeping the white pages company, in the back of my closet.