Background: June - August 2019
Role: Product Design Intern
Tools: Sketch, Principle, Adobe Suite
Team: Adam Huth, Jezell Lee
Let’s Eat! is an app where college students can place group orders at restaurants, ahead of time, at discounted rates.
After I joined Let’s Eat!, in my first product design role, my team was tasked with designing a MVP that would be launched in Fall 2019, at San Jose State University. Designing the app's group ordering process is the focus of this case study and was one of a few different sprints that I tackled during my internship.
1) Help college students eat inexpensively
2) Help college students seamlessly order food with friends
1) Help restaurants receive larger, more profitable orders
Let’s Eat! sees benefit in providing college students with a discounted social experience and restaurants with more profitable mobile orders, through a group ordering model.
Note: group ordering was a relatively new feature to the mobile food ordering market at the time of my internship
In order to get data inexpensively and quickly, we produced an online survey through Typeform. This survey was meant to validate the problems we discovered, and our hypothesis, by asking users how they felt about various value propositions. We got 91 responses from college-aged students.
FEATURES RESPONDENTS WANTED OUT OF A GROUP ORDERING EXPERIENCE:
53% of respondents want to earn group discounts
51% of respondents want to be able to pay for their own food
28% of respondents want to be able to see other members' order statuses
OTHER SURVEY STATISTICS:
97% of respondents said they ate out with friends at least once a week
61% of respondents said money prevented them from eating out with friends as much as they'd like
25% of respondents said discussing with friends what to order was a part of their usual experience
1) Price is the most important factor for users when they eat out
2) Users in groups still want to be able to order and pay as they would individually
3) Some degree of communication, before ordering with a group, is important to the user experience
Given this data, the initial problems we found received further validation.
User: College Student (ages 18-22)
Tristan is new to San Jose State University and hopes to explore good eats around campus as a freshman. He spends the majority of his free time with his dorm mates, and makes an effort to eat most of his meals with friends.
Ellie is a junior at San Jose, and has 3-4 spots she’ll generally go to when she eats out. She doesn’t mind eating alone, and will eat out with friends only if it’s convenient. Ellie saves money everywhere she can.
We saw the greatest differences between our two users in the following areas of the app: communication + browsing
Tristan communicates with his group in person, as he's with his friends when he places his group order on Let's Eat!
He browses restaurants thoroughly, within the app, and chooses a spot to eat at primarily based on menu items
Ellie communicates with friends solely through mobile when they place their group order on Let's Eat!
Her group doesn't need to browse for restaurants as they know the restaurants in the area pretty well
Instead they choose a restaurant to eat at based on the discounts that are offered
After researching a multitude of food ordering apps, we came to understand that DoorDash was the only competitor that offered a relevant group ordering feature.* We conducted usability testing and found that DoorDash’s group ordering experience had a multitude of pain points.
Note: *Postmates came out with a group ordering feature in late August 2019 after we finished the MVP
DOORDASH'S PAIN POINTS
No way for a user to pay for their own item
Group creator must pay
Singular way to join group is to be sent a link outside of app and be redirected to join
Little internal app communication is available to users
Our user is accustomed to individual mobile ordering on competitor apps, so it will be a transition for them to use mobile group ordering on the Let's Eat! app. Our goal is to make this transition as intuitive as possible so the user doesn't feel like they need to put in extra work to reap the benefits (discounts) of a group order.
SOLUTION #1: PRESERVED INDIVIDUALITY
Users don't have to compromise their individuality while splitting a cart
Each user can add items they want to a group order and pay for themselves
Users can leave the group order whenever they want
SOLUTION #2: COMMUNICATION WITHIN APP
Users can place their order within the app, without the need for external communication
User can see other people's order status and what they're ordering
User can urge friends to "hurry up" so group can send in order
User can invite and remove group members via in-app code or link
SOLUTION #3: DISCOUNTS OFFERED UP FRONT
Our research shows that the biggest incentive for a user to place a group order is price
Users can see group discounts immediately when choosing a restaurant
The user can also view menus of different restaurants directly from this page
The bright red Let's Eat! color is incorporated throughout the app to signify our bold branding. For discounts, we chose a bright green to draw in the user's eye. Additionally we wanted to differentiate content and provide a "fun", on-brand feel, so we used a variety of pastels, such as the light blue to create diverse graphics that would complement the existing colors. Finally, a neutral gray palette was used for type and headings to create easy readability.
We chose different thicknesses of the Avenir font to use for type, as it is clean and rounded, which contributes to our brand by keeping text simple and lighthearted.
Avenir Next-Demi Bold
My internship unfortunately ended as my team was beginning to conduct testing on the app's MVP. Looking back on my team's work, something that stands out is our decision to "reinvent the wheel" with this group ordering process. Although a few apps have also chosen to incorporate similar group ordering features in their respective platforms since my internship (giving Let's Eat! greater validation) I can't help but wonder if there would have been an even more straightforward way to solve the problems we found without having to introduce the user to a new process.
That being said, this internship was a really fun and growth-filled first experience as a product designer. As I reflect, 2 takeaways stand out:
1) It is critical to meet with engineering teams early and often to get input on the plausibility of your work.
2) At Let's Eat!, we heavily relied on our research to translate a current user's group ordering experience to an in-app experience. This pushed me to always prioritize user research and always state my assumptions in my design decisions.