Cheap Eats

ROLE | UX/UI design, concept strategy

TIMELINE | 6 weeks

TEAM | Jonathan Reade, Sydnee McLeod

Overview

Cheap Eats is a result of a 6 weeks user experience/interface project that started from researching and conducting a quantitative research study to prototyping a potential solution. We wanted to help improve a problem area in relation to students and their ability to better pay for necessities of living. Cheap Eats is an app provides students with discounted food in their area, in order to allow a convenient and cheaper option for students.

Process

Research

In order to figure out our potential users, we conducted a quantitative research study by creating and online survey and surveyed various students with different backgrounds. The main focus of our study was on the different type of stresses that students experience and how they face them. By doing this, we were able to find the most common pinpoints of our potential users.

Here is a summary of our most common finding:

1. Many students struggle with financial burden

2. Most of this financial burden comes from eating out

3. Students spend time with friends to forget about this stress

Therefore, this creates a contradiction when it comes to students spending on needs to fight their stress (going out in this case), which generates more stress for them.

Framing

For the scope of this project, we wanted to create a tool to help students use their money in a more efficient way rather than changing their overall habits. After going through all of the data collected from the surveys, we figured out that students mainly went out for food with friends to relieve stress. Therefore, we came up with a conclusion that we wanted to help students to find cheaper alternatives when it comes to finding places to eat out. So, we narrowed down our focus to finding student discounted places for food. After conducting some research on competitions, we figured out there are no app created to help students find discounted places for food in their area.

User Persona

To better understand our potential users, we created 2 personas based off of the most common answers we collected from the surveys.

User Scenario

We wanted to understand and take into consideration other factors such as motivations and external factors  of each step in the user scenario to find insights on how we could guide the user on every step of the way during the journey. This would then help us a lot when designing the user interface of our app. We decided to move forward with Jason’s user scenario as the other persona’s user scenario did not fit in the scope of this project.

Interaction Path

We had to create a few interaction paths to demonstrate the most efficient path for our app. Our final interaction path with the above user scenarios allowed us to create some basic mock-ups for our initial testing.

With the understanding that we are not the first food finding app, we thought that it would be beneficial for us to do a bit of research about these apps and understand the common patterns that users are already used to. This would help us to create an app that uses a familiar pattern which does not require a lot of learning for the users. I was in charge of this research. Some of the apps that I looked into were Skip the Dishes, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Google Maps.

Design

It was time to do some sketching and figuring out user interface of our app. We started off by creating a list of elements for each of our screens according to our user scenario and our findings from the precedence study.

After choosing our top version of the app based on our sketches, we started the creating the mock-up of our app using Sketch, Figma, and Flinto for animating. I was in charge of the overall branding of our app. I decided to choose the green theme because of the money saving aspect of our app. We chose to go with a simple UI so that students could simply see their options and quickly make a decision rather than being bombarded by loads of content.

Once we finished our mock-up, we received feedback from our classmates as well as our professor.

Features

Type of Food Bar: This allows students to  make a decision faster regards to the type of food they are looking for. This option enable students to quickly see the availability of restaurants based on the type of food the user chose.

Filter: The user can filter their search option by pricing, distance, and dietary options

Top Discounts: This feature allows users to see the top discounted places near their location. The reason behind this feature is that as mentioned above, we wanted students to find the cheapest alternatives when it comes to eating out.

Testing

Before moving on to user testing, we thought it would be beneficial to conduct a heuristic evaluation to quickly fix the obvious bugs throughout our app’s interface. Following this evaluation and fixing the app based on the results, we conducted Think Aloud usability tests and again iterated the app based on the feedback that we got. This helped us to modify the application’s user interface which then lead to the final design of our app.

Walkthrough

Here is a walkthrough of Jason (our persona) looking for a pizza place.

Results & Takeaways

We presented our final prototype to our class and got a really good feedback. One of my main takeaways form this project was the importance of conducting different types of testing. For example, by simply conducting a heuristic evaluation, you can quickly find out the major problems of your product. Then, with usability tests, you can understand the ways which your user interacts with your product and apply those findings to improve your product’s UX/UI.

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