My Role


Research:

Market Research, Observations, Interviews, Surveys, Storyboards, Analysis

Design:

Paper Mockups, Wireframes, Prototypes

Evaluation:

Feedback Sessions, Usability Testing, Cognitive Walkthroughs



Prototype

Try it for yourself!




Video


Features

  • Match score to restaurant based on user's dietary restriction selection
  • Map view and restaurant sorting options
  • Menu customized to dietary restrictions with available ingredient substitutions
  • Options for reviewing restaurants and sorting reviews



Research & Analysis


Initial Assumption

We started with determining the user group and finding the problem space. At the beginning, we defined the users as 'students with dietary restrictions' and the problem space as 'grocery shopping.' We conducted observations, interviews, and created surveys to gather more data regarding their experiences. Although students do have trouble navigating a grocery store on their first few visits, after the first few times they become accustom to the store and no longer require assistance. We found that students already have a set of methods and practices they use for finding food items that meet their dietary needs.

Pivoting

Our initial assumption needed to be tweaked. We found a burgeoning trend from our data that students face more frustrations when trying to decide where to go out to eat and discovering what food items meet their dietary needs at restaurants. We made a decision to pivot our problem space to restaurant going instead of grocery shopping.

Findings

By doing an affinity map, we were able to extract key pain points:

  • Obtaining ingredients and nutritional information
  • Facing social stigma
  • Trouble with language barriers
  • Traveling to restaurant


Ideation


Brainstorming

A brainstorm session was conducted keeping in mind the different issue areas which we identified from the affinity mapping.

This session helped us think of many different ideas which we then plotted on a Feasibility-Creative Scale.



Personas

We wanted to further understand our users so that we could decide what, specifically, they would make use of in our solution. We created three personas, one each for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free. For each persona, we defined their characteristics, challenges they face with their dietary restrictions and goals when eating out.

Personas top to bottom, left to right: Vikki, Vishnu, Grace


Empathy Maps

We created empathy maps to visualize emotional journeys using the scenarios inspired by existing problems identified within our user interviews and by looking at personas.

Empathy maps top to bottom, left to right: Vikki, Vishnu, Grace


Storyboards

We used storyboards to represent scenarios our personas were likely to face and to show how our design ideas would resolve some of these problems. Using the empathy maps as a guide, we created a storyboard for each persona.

Storyboards top to bottom, left to right: Vikki, Vishnu, Grace



Design


Wireframes

While working on the storyboards, we started sketching low fidelity mockups for three different solutions: a QR code app, an AR app, and a kiosk. We then made wireframes to develop our ideas further.

QR Code App

AR App

Kiosk



Feedback

We conducted six feedback sessions with users to see which design we should move forward with. We asked them to answer the following questions:

  • What are 3 pros and cons of this app?
  • Is there a scenario in which you see yourself using this app? (If yes, please explain the scenario).
  • Would you prefer making a profile on this app before using it or not?
  • If you had to make a profile, what information would you be willing to provide?
  • Is there anything else you would like to add or have questions about?

Feedback Results

  1. People like having the ability to make fine-grained distinctions about their dietary restriction
  2. People are neutral-to-negative about creating a profile
  3. People bring a lot of expectations for the app from Yelp
  4. People won't use a QR
  5. People are generally very hesitant about AR
  6. Many participants imagine using this in a group setting


Prototyping


Selecting Features

After going through all the feedback we received, we sat down together and decided on which features to keep, which to discard, and how we were going to consolidate these features into one main deliverable.

Map

Menu Categories

GPS

Customer Reviews

Restrictions

Customer Feedback

Restaurant Sorting

Profile

Compatibility Score

Multiple Users

Menu

QR

Menu Legends

AR

Sorting Reviews

Kiosk



Refinement

We created mid fidelity prototypes without color and asked a user to review or app to help us understand on a higher level what the user perceived from each screen. This feedback session consisted of only one question: "What do you understand from this screen and how do you perceive the information?"

This resulted in two main findings:

1

The way the app represented the dietary restriction needed revamping as the categorization was confusing for the user.

2

The legends on the menu page were not comprehensible to the user and the user felt that the legends provided were for the whole restaurant until they saw the expanded menu categorization. This made us change the design from all collapsed categories when the user first navigates to the menu page, to having the first category expanded by default so that the user could make sense of the legends. We also changed the text for the legends to make it more descriptive and easier for the user to understand.


After coming up with our basic screens, we came together again to talk about the color scheme for our app. In talking about the "personality", or feel, for our app, we decided that we wanted to go with a mentor sort of feel – friendly and approachable, but also in a position of authority. We want people to be comfortable using the app, but we also want them to trust it. We kept this in mind as we picked the color scheme. Ultimately, we decided on purple and yellow, with variations on these shades of purple and yellow being determined by Google's material design palettes.



Hi-Fidelity Prototype

Splash Screen with Logo

Location Permissions

Dietary Restrictions

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Selected

Map of Restaurants

Map Sort Options

Menu Collapsed Toggle On

Salad Expanded Toggle On

Salad Expanded Toggle Off

Reviews by Customers

Reviews Sort by Newest First

Reviews Sort by Dietary Restriction

Restaurant Feedback Notification

Feedback Form

Feedback Form Filled Out





Testing


Usability Testing

Task 1

Pick a restaurant in this area where you would like to eat, keeping your dietary restriction in mind.

Scenario Constraint

For this task, you only have the maps view available to you and you cannot drill down and click on the restaurant to view its menu.

Significance

We chose this task because we wanted to see what users considered when choosing a restaurant when they only had the option to look at the maps view. We were interested in how people made the decision of what restaurant to go to, independent of what was on the menu. In particular, we were interested in the relative priority of each bit of information to the user – how interested they were in the rating, price, and distance of each restaurant.

Task 2

Pick a dish from a given restaurant.

Scenario Constraint

You are going with a friend who does not have any dietary restriction and you need to pick a dish for them as well.

Significance

We chose this task to evaluate the other primary feature of our app: the menu. Designating a restaurant for them and forcing them to choose was partly an artifact of the fidelity of our prototype, but we believe it is also a relatively realistic task. Our research throughout this project has indicated that people with dietary restrictions often have to go to a restaurant that someone else chooses when they're out with friends, coworkers, or family.

Improvements Based On Findings

Dietary Restrictions Page

  • Simplify the explanation accompanying the name of the dietary restriction by making use of icons and symbols.
  • Deactivate dietary restrictions that are incompatible with the currently selected restrictions. For example, if a person selects that they are vegan, then the app would deactivate the "Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian" option.

Map Page

  • Make the sort option a bit more noticeable.
  • Change the price sorting option to sort from ‘low to high’ by default. Have ‘low to high’ sorting for price, ‘closest to farthest’ for distance, and ‘high to low’ for ratings.
  • Add cuisine to the restaurant card.
  • Add filters within the sorting options to specify a range for sorting parameters. For instance, people can specify they're interested in only restaurants with a match score above 4, or can specify they only want results for restaurants within a certain distance.

Menu Page

  • Add three legends for ‘food that fits dietary restriction’ - green, ‘food that fits dietary restriction with substitution’ - yellow, and ‘food that doesn't fit dietary restriction’ - red.
  • When users click on one of these legends, show them menu items falling under respective legends.
  • Either remove menu toggle or make the instructions more explicit.
  • Add legend in front of menu items which do not fit the dietary restriction.


Iteration


User Centered Design

The approach we took when starting on Infograin was based on the user centered design process, where you first research the problem space, ideate and design, prototype, evaluate and test then iterate again and again. This method argues that this is always a formative process and it never reaches the summative process, because the solution can always be improved upon.

Continuation

Although Infograin was only a semester long project, there were definitly many aspects to our design that could be changed. Given more time to work, we would want to implement the following features:

  • Clarify the color scheme to be less confusing and more consistent
  • Add feature to allow multiple users to connect through the app and use simulataneously
  • Clean up the UI for a more polished and standardized look
  • Strengthen and clean up the customer feedback and reviews feature


Reflection


This project taught me a lot about designing with the user in mind and the user centered process.

I learned that going into the project, there were a lot of assumptions my team and I made regarding what the user would understand and how they would interact with the prototype. Going into a project without these assumptions would have allowed us to design without limiting ourselves, and possibly leading to a cleaner and more intuitive solution.

While it is important to listen to users, especially when it comes down to an element that is confusing or is not easily intuitive, it is equally as important to NOT develop a system that gives the user everything they want. Not only is it impossible to cater to all the demands that every single user wants, one should not try. Rather, it is better to rely on the data and the trends revealed to inform the design process.

Fail, and fail often. While we were only able to through the iteration process a couple of times from the low fidelity mockups to the final prototype, if given time, it is better to rapidly prototype, test and iterate and do this repeatedly. This helps the team discover what works and what doesn't faster.