Crystal Compass is a unique search engine that allows to find local businesses in just a few clicks. Thousands of different restaurants, sport clubs, hotels, museums, medical clinics, stores, beauty salons and other types of businesses can be easily searched through tools provided by the website.
Crystal Compass is also a community driven directory of local businesses. Registered business owners and business representatives have opportunity to publish multimedia content, news, events, and special deals. Registered users can express their opinions about various businesses by writing reviews. Any visitor can also contribute to the website content by contacting us directly with information about new or existing businesses.
This guide will explore various features and show you, through text and screenshots, how you can optimally use them for best results. The guide is separated into three main sections based on a type of a user who is viewing Crystal Compass:
Browsing through the website’s pages as a visitor is probably the most common way for most people. It allows you to search for all available businesses and to find information you might need about a specific place you want to visit or become a customer of.
If you are a registered user you can do everything visitors can, but in addition you are able to write reviews for any business you had experience with. This helps other people to get a better idea of how such a business operates and how it treats its customers. In addition, ratings impact the way businesses are presented on the main search page. Since ratings influence Crystal Compass’s default sorting algorithm, higher rated businesses will be visible to more users.
Another type of an account is a business owner. Business owners can do everything registered users can (except for writing reviews for businesses they own), and they also are able to add new businesses and maintain the ones they’ve already added or claimed. If you create such an account, you will be able to edit information about places you own. For example, you will be able to add your own photos and news, as well as to update such important things, as business hours and unique features your business has.
On the landing page of Crystal Compass you will be presented with the following interface:
Each circle represents a business group. Currently there are 8 of them:
- Health Care
- Sport & Recreation
- Travel & Tourism
Once you click on one of these groups, the website will redirect you to a search page, where you will be able to browse through businesses that are related to the chosen area. For example, in ‘Sport & Recreation’ you will be able to find various sport clubs (Martial Arts, Soccer, etc.), whereas in ‘Health Care’ you can search for medical and dental clinics.
Generally, search pages for all business groups operate in exactly the same way. However, while UI that contains filters is the same, filters themselves are always specific to the business group chosen. For the purposes of this guide, we are going to focus on the ‘Accommodations’ section for most of the functionality and explain how other sections will differ for specific filters and tools.
This type of filters is available for all business groups. While categories themselves differ depending on a business group, the idea of this filter is to allow you to limit your result only to businesses you want to search for.
Initially, all businesses are displayed, but in this picture one of the categories is already selected (‘Hotels’). All of the categories are custom-built to suit each business group. They are created to be as helpful as possible and to make sure you will not need to scroll through hundreds of businesses before you find the one you want.
If you want to go back to see all businesses, simply click on the ‘Show All’ link in the top-left corner.
Please note that you do not have to worry about missing a business by selecting a certain category.
Most of the businesses are registered under multiple categories and, for example, if a Japanese restaurant also serves as a bar, you can find it in both ‘Bars, Lounges & Pubs’ and ‘East Asian’ categories (available into a ‘Dining’ business group).
This is a filter that allows you to customize your search in many different ways. Here you can search by a business name (ie, “Lodge” will return any hotels that contain this word in their name), city name, street, Postal/Zip code and even a phone number.
For phones and Postal/Zip codes you will need to match the way they start (for example, 604.888 will match 604.888.0000, but typing 0000 won’t give you results). For other cases (ie, business names) anything that is contained within them will be matched (ie, “Lodge” will match “Blackcomb Lodge by Whistler Premier”).
If you have already selected a category, typing in the search field will filter through visible results, rather than all businesses in the entire business group.
These filters can be combined with the two filters described above to allow you to be as specific as possible. Currently a country and a province are pre-selected (Canada and BC respectively), but as the website grows, you will be able to choose other regions and countries.
Cities (and in some business groups, Neighborhoods) are available for all business groups. By default, all cities are being looked at, but you can select only the ones you need. For example, you can select Burnaby and Vancouver to narrow your search to these two cities only. Neighborhoods, if available, differ depending on a city (or cities) you have selected.
The rest of the filters are custom-made for a specific business group. As you can see in the picture above, you can find a hotel that fits very specific criteria. Checkboxes allow you to select multiple features, while radio buttons will only allow for one item to be selected. Each business group will have their own custom-built filters. In fact, within each business group, each category (in this case, Hotels) will sometimes have their own filters unique to that category.
As with all such filters, you can click on ‘Clear’ to show businesses without any filtering being applied.
List of Businesses
The list of businesses that appear on the search page can be sorted through a drop-down menu in the top-right corner. In addition to a default way (that is influenced heavily by ratings), you can sort alphabetically.
At the bottom of the list you can select to view up to 30 businesses at once, but by default only 10 show up per page. As far as basic data is concerned, all businesses in any business group contain such information as a business name, address, a phone number (if available), as well as a map.
If you want more details, you can proceed to a specific business’s home page (by clicking on a ‘Details’ button or on a business name). If you want to check out reviews for a specific business, click on a ‘Reviews’ link available for every business.
A business page is where you can see a detailed information about a specific business. By default, the page opens a tab with the most common information one would need when searching for a business. For example, it lists a business description, business hours, available features and services, social links, contact info, and more.
Map, of course, shows you a location of the business. It is custom-made, which means we personally found and entered coordinates for each place, so for most businesses it should be fairly accurate.
Reviews allow you to see what other people thought of this place. You will be able to view what rating each person gave as well as their personal opinion. No rating can be done without writing something that justifies such a mark. In most cases, as long as a person lists some features that were good or bad, the review will stay. Only if no reasons were provided, no matter how small, such a review may be deemed inappropriate and removed. You can always report such a review and allow us to find them faster.
Photos tab lists all the photos an owner added for his or her business that illustrate some features of the place (ie, for a restaurant it could be photos of its interior or of food served).
Events is something you can check out to see if an owner added something that will be happening that you might want to participate in. While a restaurant might not necessary have a lot of them, a museum can list things like a new exhibition or a talk by a renowned guest.
News is where you might find anything an owner deemed worthy of informing the public, such as an announcement of an upcoming event or of new business hours.
Deals is where an owner can put information on upcoming sales and similar occurrences. Definitely do not miss out on them and check this section regularly.
As a visitor, you will see three links located in the top-right corner:
‘Create personal account’ is the one you will need. There you will see a registration form.
Once your account is created, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your account creation. Without activating your account, you won’t be able to write reviews or do other actions available for registered users. Simply click on ‘Activate Now’ link that will be provided in the email and you will be ready to go.
Writing a review
Since we have just discussed how you can see reviews for a specific business, now we can take a look at how you can write a review, the main feature that a registered user has an access to. Under the ‘Reviews’ tab you will now see a button called ‘Write a review’. If you click on it, the following UI will show up.
This is what you will see when you want to write a review. Please remember to be objective and to include both good and bad aspects of each business. This will tremendously help other users and allow a business owner to see what he/she needs to improve or to keep things users really like. Please note that you will only be able to edit your review for 24 hours after submitting it. You won’t be able to change it once this timeframe is passed. Your review won’t influence the business’s rating until after the deadline is passed.
If you decide to change a password, you will need to click on ‘My Account’ link located in the top-right corner (where Log in and account creation links used to be)
Simply navigate to the ‘Change password’ tab and follow the instructions.
In a case you’ve forgotten your password, go to the Log in tab and click on a link next to ‘Forgot your password?’ question (at the bottom of the login form).
After clicking on the link you will be redirected to the following form:
Then simply write an email that corresponds to your account and you will receive a confirmation email. By clicking on a link within it you will show us that you have successfully received it and thus are ready to get an email that contains your temporary password.
You can continue to use that password and it will not expire, but in general you should use the ‘Change password’ feature as soon as possible for security reasons.
There are two ways to create your business account. One is to click on a link called ‘Create business account’ in the top-right corner. This is the only way to create such an account if the business you own is not listed on our website.
However, on a search page of any business group there are two links available: ‘Find Your Business’ and ‘Add Your Business’. The former we shall discuss a little bit later, but the latter is the one that will also lead to the same form as the ‘Create business account’ link.
Please fill in the form that is required (both business details and personal information is needed). A lot of the required fields are drop-down menus, so you do not have to type, say, a category of your business yourself.
One thing to notice is that a website is not a required field. We welcome business owners who do not have their own website, and we hope features available in Crystal Compass will allow them to list all the details they want to advertise through our system.
The rest is a simple personal registration process with a few extra fields to explain your role within the business. It helps us when we need to communicate with you about anything you think is important for your business and for other users to see your role within the business when you comment on their reviews.
If, however, your business is already available on our website, you should use a second way to create a business account. When you visit a business page for a particular business, you will see a sentence "If this is your business, click here to claim it." at the very bottom of that page. Clicking on the link will lead you to a registration form you will need to fill in.
Another way to reach this form is through ‘Find your Business’ form:
As you can see, this is a form to search for a business within a specific business group (in this case, ‘Dining’) In the search field you will need to write a name of your business (it does not have to be exact, but your search query must contain a word or words that your business name contains within its name).
If such a business is found, ‘Claim Your Business’ button will be clickable and will lead to the form mentioned above. If you are unable to find your business, ‘Create Business Account’ button will lead to the form for creating a business from the beginning (as discussed above), where some fields will be already filled in (ie, a business type).
A registration form for an existing business won’t require to fill in information about that business. Since all the business details are already available, you’ll only need to fill in your personal data, including your job title and your role within this business (ie, an owner or a representative).
In both cases (ie, a new business or an existing one), once you submit your application, we will confirm your registration. In rare cases we might ask you to send us a bit more information, in which case an email will be sent to you. Please email us back with the requested information.
However, in the vast majority of cases you will simply receive an email that welcomes you as a business owner, with your login name and password shown in that email. Click on ‘Activate Now’ link and you will be able to login. Without activating you won’t be able to manage your business, even though you will be able to login.
Once you log in as a business user, you will be able to see a list of your businesses if you click on the ‘My Account’ link in the top-right corner. It will allow you to visit a business page and edit information about that business or to inform us that this business is no longer operational. Once we receive such a message, we will inactivate the business itself, so that it won’t be visible for users.
If you have another business you want to claim, you can do so in the same way described above. Please note that you will need to be logged in as a business owner, since you won’t be able to register a second account with the same email.
If you are logged in as a business owner, you won’t need to fill in as much personal information as before, but only your job title and your role within the business. Once it is confirmed by us, you’ll see your business in a list of business on your account page. You will not need to activate it through an email.
On the business page all tabs will have a button for you to edit information through. On the ‘Overview’ tab you will be able to edit most fields, and in those cases it is done by a simple text editor, and such an info will be available right away once edited.
Other things you can edit are photos, events and news. Currently you can only have 3 photos in total. You can also add only 1 event, 1 deal and 2 news per month. Other options will definitely be added in the future, however.
The only required field here is an image itself. Please note that the only acceptable formats are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. The image size is limited by 2.5 MB. Caption and description fields are optional, but please remember that they can be very helpful for users.
Once you submit your photo, we will need to approve it and then the photo will appear on your business page.
The following UI will be presented if you want to create an event. Please note that an optional image (under ‘Other information’) is limited to 1 MB in size, but the formats are the same as before (JPEG, PNG, and GIF).
The following UI will be presented if you want to create your business news. Please note that an optional image (under ‘Other information’) is limited to 1 MB in size, but the formats are the same as before (JPEG, PNG, and GIF).
The following UI will be presented if you want to create a special deal. Please note that an image is limited to 1 MB in size, but the formats are the same as before (JPEG, PNG, and GIF). Terms and conditions (under ‘Other information’) are optional, but please note that if for all of your products they are the same and available on your own website, you can always add a link to make sure customers can easily see them.