UK directory publisher Yell has implemented a number of changes to its site, the most significant of which include new 3D maps and street-level photography. Yell worked with companies C3 and Tridoo to generate the imagery.
Right now the coverage includes London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. Like Google Street View, you can “walk down the street.” It’s enormously useful for tourists and travelers, as well as house hunters, etc.
Here’s Google, first:
Now Yell, which offers a combination of street-level images with Bing style aerial and 3D views:
Of course Bing doesn’t offer this yet in the UK. And Big G doesn’t have the oblique and orthogonal images from above.
These new maps really transform Yell.com and pose the first real challenge to Google Maps in the UK. Overall it appears to be a terrific user experience that adds huge value to Yell.
Separately Yell has also introduced a video channel:
The introduction of a separate Yell.com video channel that will enable businesses to showcase their business in video for inclusion in our listings. Coverage is limited at first, with the majority of videos in central London. However, we have enabled businesses to upload videos for free and we will be taking steps to further promote video as a valuable part of the marketing mix for all SMEs.
Finally, they’ve introduced what they’re calling “Shortlists” (essentially favorites) to “enable consumers to create a list of favourite businesses that can be shared by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. In addition, it will now be possible for much wider viral sharing of any video or site page, including business listing, search results, map view.”
I have written, about AlikeList, Fablistic and CityVoter in the past, that such “top lists” and favorites are extremely useful to people and create an additional source of qualitative ranking data about businesses beyond reviews.
Yell has had many redesigns and upgrades in the past few years but this both simplifies and enriches the user experience. Overall it dramatically boosts the utility of the site.