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Caroline Koldus

Sandie’s Shop

Sandie's Ordering App Design

Project Overview

The prompt was to design a food ordering app. This was a conceptual project for a potential sandwich shop for customers to order their meals on the go.

Problem

Working adults want their lunch hour to be stress-free, a time to relax or socialize with their coworkers. However, waiting for their meal at a restaurant eats away at their time to themselves. Any inefficiencies of a restaurant creates a disappointing experience for the customer and they will likely not come back again. Busy people need an app from a restaurant that gives them features and tools to simplify their day.

Constraints

This had to be an individual-based project. 

Role

Lead Designer

User research, Creative ideation, Design strategy, Task flows, Wireframing, Prototyping, Interaction design, Visual/UI design, Data visualization, Copywriting

Duration

3 months, Jan – Mar 2022

Empathize

Initially, I wanted to deeply understand the problem and discover our customers’ needs rather than the need for just designing an app. When conducting a group study of people that represented our target audience, I was able to better understand the daily life of our customers. The group study confirmed the importance of building from data and insights and not from personal bias. This is where I realized most food ordering apps were not fully engaging the user. There were a lot of possibilities of what to prioritize in the features of designing the app. I split the ideas into 4 different users.

The Planner – They like to meal prep and plan their meals over 24 hours in advance so they can simply pick up the order.

The Social Butterfly – Co-workers that want to spend the lunch hour together or need to power through a project together.

The Old Dog – This guy just wants his favorite meal from his favorite restaurant every week.

The Gamer– This person loves being rewarded and wants to see promotions, awards, and points with their foodie experience.

Market Research

Then came doing a competitive analysis of direct and indirect competitors. Here I gained insights into the industry standards for food ordering apps. Some companies focused on bringing the most features to the market, some the quickest way to place the order, and some wanted to be the most well branded.

Based on both the competitive analysis and the insights gained from the group study, there were gaps in offering group orders and gamifying the ordering process. I became particularly interested in developing a way to offer group ordering within the app. I drew some ideas on how this could intersect with the ordering process.

Ideating

Broadening

For the Ideation stage, I did the 8-minute challenge and drew a variety of different sketches with no limitations on what could be possible or not. Then I circled all of the things I liked in each of the sketches. This resulted in a final sketch with the most useful features. I took this to Figma and created a lo-fi mockup that would be testable for the first round of users. My mindset was to get prototypes in front of users quickly since I would develop several iterations of the mockup from the results. I was open to widening my scope from the feedback I received and did not want to pigeonhole myself into the wrong solution just because I had pursued it for too long.

Narrowing

First Round Testing

I conducted a usability test for my lo-fi prototype and gained 3 insights from the themes of the study. 

Features

Group Ordering

When listening to the research participants, it became apparent that some people open the app planning on a group order, while others realize after building out their meal to then invite friends. So I gave them both options of how to start the group order.

Personalization

To meet the needs of recurring customers quickly, I created the favoriting option, which is displayed directly on the homepage and is easily accessible on the food menu navigation. This saves time for repeat orders and makes the experience feel personalized to the user. Payment information is also saved.

Rewards

I created a point system so the experience is gamified and rewarding. I wanted the users to feel valid for ordering through the app to see progress.

Lessons Learned

From this project, I had valuable experiences testing with actual participants and hearing a wide variety of feedback. It was important to learn how to prioritize feedback, and that helped me stay focused on what solutions to the ultimate problem. At the end of the day, I learned that people were quite willing to help.

During the exploratory research, I realized the continuing possibilities when developing food ordering apps. From meal-planning your week with your favorite restaurant, to preparing a group order with your colleagues, there’s still so much to be mastered by designers for users to intuitively use.

If I had a bigger team on this project, I would have been excited to explore further the user flow of the group ordering process. There is still a lot of brainstorming to be done and with a collaborative team, I would be interested in what path we would take to attain an MVP of the function.