I'm facing a problem about a design of a platform which provides to users a list of restaurants.

Currently, we have only 10 restaurants on it, and we're working to improve the number of the restaurants, but we need to develop a mobile app (we have only a web app at the moment).

In the web app we decided to show all the restaurants without providing a search functionality. I took this decision because I wanted to avoid having users perform a search that likely would not provide any results, as a user after the 2nd attempt will likely leave the site.

For the mobile app I think it's the same, but differently from the web version, in the mobile scope is frequently used geolocation, especially for the target to which this app will appeal (workers who are looking for a restaurant near their office).

So, I have to avoid providing textual research by providing only the geolocation, or should I avoid even the geolocation, showing only a list of restaurants?

And, what happen if a user is located in a completely different place than the restaurants? I think that is better provide only the geolocation (with a map, of course, which shows where are the restaurants).

I came up with this solution:

new design to solve problem

This is the second page of the app (the first is a sort of tutorial with the option to login and registration).

When users land in this page they are not still localized with geoloc. In this way the app can show the restaurants that are in it, to make possible that users are aware of their presence (of the restaurant). After the tap on geolocation button (SCOPRI INTORNO A ME = discover around me) the view switches on the map.

If there aren't restaurants nearby user's position, the app shows a modal dialog which says : "Sorry, there are no restaurants nearby. setted distance is 30km", and at the bottom of the dialog, two buttons, one to stay on map (to move it and look for some restaurant in other areas) and one to go back on previous page (all restaurants showed).

3 Answers 3


Providing no result with "based on the following search" badge is obviously a terrible solution, thus I think you have chosen wisely.

In early days of this kind of apps, it's a good practice to create some algorithm that would route user so he won't see "no content" page, unless he performs a tightly defined search.

For the mobile app, there definitely should be a possibility of enabling and disabling the geolocation-based search, but working is as an additional query, rather than a filter (so it's geo-results PLUS the rest, rather than INSTEAD OF). Obviously at the early stage it won't generate any extra results, but at some point it will provide more attractive and reachable restaurants that could be shown at the very top of the list.

Good luck,


  • I don't want to think of geolocation feature as a PLUS than other results, mostly because some results (or maybe all of them) are in completely different places, so showing results (which aren't nearby) after the geolocation , can confuse users. Jan 18, 2014 at 18:10

I would suggest keep the geolocation option as default. But, also provide a search-assisted search box to the user. There might be a case when the user wants to look up restaurants situated in a different location.

Also, instead of sounding apologetic and saying "Sorry there are no restaurants.." consider ending the bad news quickly and provide options to get the user out of there and explore further in your app. You can achieve this by giving a swift feedback saying:

"No results found. You may like to check out..."

and provide other less relevant options

OR "No results found.

With a button that says: Search in a larger area?"

You may take out these suggestions once your have a healthy pool of restaurants to suggest from.

  • In the first place I thought the same, but as a I said, is most likely that for a text search there aren't any results. For the second part of your answer, I totally agree, and I designed a modal which appears when there are no results for geolocated search and provide some options like "explore map to see other results by moving on it" or "see all restaurants we have in the network". Jan 18, 2014 at 18:35

I agree with you. While you only have few restaurants available, allowing users to search will probably lead to empty results. Here's what I'd do:

  1. Use Geolocation only if you have a restaurant nearby, otherwise
  2. Display the list of restaurants in a list. This way users can scroll and see the restaurants available;
  3. While you only have few restaurants (e.g. less than 50) don't implement a searching functionality.

But, if you are going to display the restaurants on a list, you need to think how to properly sort them. I'm not sure if you have a restaurant review system implemented, but it might be helpful, so that users would first see highly rated restaurants.

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