The New Yamu Application. It Sucks Less Now
To be honest, I didn’t use the Yamu application before this, although I vaguely remember installing it this one time and then deleting it to make space on my phone. But, this time around I’m compromising on space, because I genuinely like the new Yamu application and feel it will be useful when I least expect.
According to the intro on the app store, the application’s basic objective is to help find restaurants near you and provide curated reviews of the best places to wine and dine. They have menus of over 80 restaurants with comprehensive reviews. You can also read comments, view events happening in Colombo and share articles etc., via the android share menu.
So here’s what Yamu claims to be new:
- Improved full- text search and added explore functionality
- Search through questions, blog posts and reviews
- Performance and stability improvements.
So before I take you through the application and give you my two cents worth, TechAdvisor.lk spoke with Indi Samarajeeva, CEO of Yamu.
TA.LK. What did you change in the old Yamu application and why?
The old app was built around reading, the new app is built around search. Now you can find good places for dinner like Chinese restaurants or kottu joints. Seems simple but the earlier app didn’t have any categories. You can also search for, say ‘sushi’ ,and it will search through hundreds of menus to show you a bunch of places that serve it. Menus is a new things we added.
On the backend we changed the framework to React Native which is both faster for the user and faster for us to develop. Now we release updates at least once a month.
TA.LK. How has the response to the application been so far?
Well, it’s way less broken than before, so people are happier. People that have tried it like it, but we left the old version buggy for so long that we have to rebuild some trust among users. Like through this interview. It doesn’t suck anymore!
TA.LK. What do you feel the application is missing?
We’re adding logins and commenting in the next release. Beyond that we’re adding user reviews, the ability to make reservations and order food delivery. The last two are through partners, we’re not diversifying our business that much. We also want to add all the videos we’re making for YAMU TV.
TA.LK. I noticed that its very concise when compared to the site, but does it match up with regard to content?
All the reviews, blog posts and comments are there. Basically all of the content is there, except for questions.
TA.LK. In an old article you have mentioned that the app had the following features; Taxis with taxi numbers, and a fare estimator and Questions, which I didn’t find. Did you remove them?
Questions are there, but we don’t have one button or quick way to find them, you have to search. With logins we’ll try to make that section more prominent. Taxi numbers is a feature we need to add back in.
TA.LK. Why do you guys like PhoneGap so much?
What the app looks like
Well it starts up smoothly and is categorised under three tabs which is the Explore, Reviews and Blog tabs. Under reviews you get all the latest reviews both in English and Sinhala and under the Blogs you find all the other blog articles. Mind you, the blog articles are quite up to date, as I just read one about all the biggest Avurudu deals for this year.
The main tab is the Explore tab, which would be the one that sorts all the reviews out and also includes the optimised search options which Indi spoke about. The interface looks very organised. So it starts out with a tab that searches and shows you all the closest places within a five kilometre radius. Then the second tab would be the Events tab which shows gives you a brief reminder on the most current event on the tab itself, but when you check in on the events tab, it lists a collection of some very interesting events that any Yamu minded explorer would like to see.
After which the categorisation begins. Now this is the latest feature to the application and it has been done very neatly;
- What are you looking for?
Depending on what meal you are looking for, be it dinner, lunch or even a quick snack, everything has been sorted out and the suggestions are behind each meal tab.
- Popular cuisines
The reviews have been sorted into around 39 cuisines which include the most popular cuisines ranging from Thai, Japanese and Indian to the sorts of bar food, Burgher, Sri Lankan Chinese, and street food. They have definitely covered anything a Sri Lankan wants to see.
- Dish types
This covers over 70 dish types from the popular to the queer and rare you have it all. This too has been localised and it has the likes of roti, kottu and even bread as part of the long list of dishes to choose from.
The Yamu application has really outdone itself by bringing in all that categorisation. Under each category, you have the option of sorting it out by the name, distance or the best rated restaurant or food joint. Each review can be shared on to any other application and would have the usual details that the Yamu website review would have, along with a handy tip at the bottom of the page. That is the totality of the application.
Over all I think the application is very much like a well-kept library with all you need to know about Sri Lankan food.