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Extending the scope of Uber Eats- a UX Case Study

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In this case study, I am going to share the design decisions that I made as I implemented new features to the Uber Eats mobile app.

As a college student with mediocre cooking skills and limited time between classes, I often resort to food delivery service apps for convenience. While I was in Korea for the past year, I frequently used the app called Baedal Minjok, one of the most popular food delivery apps in Korea. Each time I ordered, I made sure to check the reviews and pictures that the customers left for the restaurant, whether they had to do with the tastiness or delivery time, to make sure that the restaurant is a reliable place to order from.

However, that was not the case when I returned to the states over the summer. One day, I decided to order lunch for my sister and I. After I found a restaurant that I wanted to try, I clicked on it to view more details. To my disappointment, I only saw an overall rating out of 5 stars. Because I became heavily dependent on reviews, I had trouble choosing the right place to order from and eventually decided to make lunch at home. As I closed the app, I wondered-

How can we change Uber Eats so that customers can make better-informed decisions about their food?

With this in mind, I began my journey to solve the problem.

Introduction

Uber Eats is an online food ordering and delivery platform that was launched by Uber back in August 2014. It has come a long way, considering the fact that it originally started in Los Angeles as UberFresh to experiment with delivering convenience-store items. Over time, it has grown into something much bigger. Today, Uber Eats controls over 25% of the food delivery market in the United States and has made over $4.8 billion in 2020 alone.

Furthermore, it saw a 30% increase in customers signing up for the service during the pandemic. Just from these instances, it is apparent that Uber Eats is a popular on-demand food delivery service app.

Scope & Focus

For this particular project, I chose to focus on adding two new features, which include reviews and safety guidelines, to the existing Uber Eats app.

Secondary Research

  • Due to its convenience, digital orders for food have been growing at three times the rate of onsite ordering since 2014.
  • With that being said, the food delivery market is expected to be worth more than $151 billion by the end of 2021.
  • Furthermore, food delivery service is very popular among the younger generation as 63% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 are likely to use such apps.

Just from these statistics, it is clear that food delivery service apps such as Uber Eats is worth focusing on. Despite its popularity, Uber Eats has some drawbacks. Not only is the optional customer feedback only visible to the restaurants, but the COVID-19 safety measures that Uber Eats requires restaurant staff and delivery drivers to follow are difficult to find. Taking all of these into consideration, it is all the more important for Uber Eats to implement new features that would create more transparency so that customers can make better decisions about their food.

Competitive Research

In order to better understand the food delivery service market, I researched some of the top competitors. As I conducted the research, I made sure to write down the strengths and weaknesses of each of the competitors.

Competitive Research

Once I jot down the successes and areas of improvement for each of the apps, I developed a feature analysis chart. Doing so essentially allowed me to compare the different apps in one glance.

Feature Analysis

User Interviews

Once I had the competitive research and feature analysis chart handy, I decided to conduct some user interviews to better understand the needs and pain points of food delivery service app users. I interviewed a total of seven participants between the ages of 22 and 26. Their professions ranged from retails sales worker, student, teacher, administrative assistant, to graphic designer. All of the participants have previous experience with using food delivery service apps.

The interview guide can be found here.

The findings from the interviews can be found here.

Summary of findings from the user interviews:

  • Three out of seven participants noted the importance of reviews as they help them decide whether the food is worth the price
  • Four out of seven participants were frustrated over the lack of assurance provided by the restaurants, delivery drivers, and the apps regarding COVID-19 safety guidelines
  • Five out of seven participants expressed the need to see reviews before trying out a new restaurant
  • Five out of seven participants revealed that they have to use other resources such as Yelp or Google to read reviews on restaurants
  • Six out of seven participants were motivated to use food delivery apps more often during the pandemic

Here are some pain points that participants brought up during the interviews:

“Uber Eats doesn’t have reviews so I have to go on Yelp and look up the restaurant and then come back to the app.”

“I have to use Google because there aren’t reviews on the app itself. So I tend to go on Google first and then the app.”

“I think that reassuring the customers that the restaurant staff and delivery drivers are following safety guidelines would be nice.”

User Persona

With the research conducted thus far and the insight provided by the participants, I came up with a user persona that reflects the different needs and pain points that were brought up earlier.

User Persona

Empathy Map

In order to bring the user persona to life, I imagined what some of Chris’s thoughts, attitudes, and actions might be as a frequent user of food delivery service apps. Here, listing each of them made it easier for me to identify the problem that needed to be solved.

Empathy Map
Storyboard

Problem Statement

By articulating the various thoughts, feelings, and actions of the user persona, I was able to refine the question that I brought up earlier and identified a clear problem statement.

How can we make Uber Eats more transparent, trouble-free, and reliable so that customers can make better-informed decisions about their food?

User Flow

With the user-centered problem statement by my side, I came up with a user flow to visualize the different paths that the user persona, Chris, could take to place an order through the Uber Eats app. The scenario that I chose to focus on was that Chris scrolls through the Uber Eats app during his lunch break and wants to try one of the new restaurant that the app recommends.

User Flow

Information Architecture

Now that I had an idea of the path that the user would take to look through the app and choose a place to order from, I created the information architecture to see how the new features were going to be implemented into the existing app.

Information Architecture

Paper Sketches

With all the deliverables created thus far, I was ready to get hands-on and come up with various sketches for what the new features were going to look like. Below, you can see me pencil sketching some of the screens.

Paper Sketches

High-Fidelity Wireframes

Due to time constraints, I jumped right into creating high-fidelity wireframes on Figma. The screens that I designed include the Opening Screen, Home Screen, Restaurant Details Screen, Reviews Screen, and Safety Guidelines Screen.

High-Fidelity Wireframes

Prototype

In order to test whether the implementation of the new features solved the pain points that were captured during the research phase, I created a clickable prototype on Figma.

The working prototype can be accessed here.

Usability Testing

I then conducted a number of usability testing through Zoom. The test was conducted with a total of five participants between the ages of 18 and 28. Each of the participants were asked to complete the following tasks:

  • Find more information about the restaurant called Lucia Ristorante
  • Find and read about what other customers have said about that particular restaurant
  • Find and read about the COVID-19 safety guidelines that the restaurant staff and delivery drivers follow

The usability testing plan can be found here.

Based on the findings, the prototype was a success. The participants were able to locate the reviews for the restaurants and the COVID-19 safety guidelines easily and complete the tasks without any major issues. However, it is important to note that the usability testing also helped me identify areas of improvement.

Affinity Map

In order to visualize the key points that the participants brought up during usability testing, I created an affinity map.

Affinity Map

Here are the most important changes that needed to be made based on the feedback provided by the participants during usability testing:

  • Include a filter popup with different options for the Reviews Screen
  • Increase the size of the safety guidelines message on the Restaurant Details Screen to grab the user’s attention more easily
  • Include the word COVID-19 in the safety guidelines message
  • Add a review that shows what it would look like when the user orders multiple menus on the Reviews Screen

Priority Revisions

With the suggestions that the participants made during usability testing, I decided to make some changes to my high-fidelity screens.

Priority Revisions

Final Product

The new prototype with the priority revisions can be found here.

https://medium.com/media/9a540ce28c7692083e4c831598b40ce7/href

Edge Cases

Because the screens that I created thus far only take the happy path into consideration, I began to think of other potential situations the user might encounter while using the new features. For instance-

What would happen if the user makes an error while using the search bar on the Reviews Screen?

With the question in mind, I designed a new screen to address the edge case to ensure a positive user experience.

Edge Case

Revisiting the Problem Statement

How can we make Uber Eats more transparent, trouble-free, and reliable so that customers can make better-informed decisions about their food?

In this case, the problem was solved by adding a reviews section to the existing app. Not only did it increase transparency, but it also allows the customers to read about the restaurants without having to exit the app. In addition, a safety icon was added next to the restaurant names to indicate whether the restaurant staff and delivery drivers involved are following COVID-19 safety guidelines. The users are also able to learn more by clicking on the message on the Restaurant Details Screen. With the addition of these new features, customers are now able to see what other customers have said about the restaurants and be reassured that the places that they are ordering from are COVID-19 safe. In essence, the features give customers the ability to make better-informed decisions about the food that they order through Uber Eats.

Next Steps

For this particular project, I focused on implementing reviews and safety guidelines that would create transparency. Therefore, I would like to focus on other aspects if given the time. For instance, I would like to design the reviews page that the customer would use to fill out after the order has been delivered.

Challenges Faced

  • Because Uber Eats is an already existing app, I had to make sure that the new features that I was adding to the app were consistent with the other features and overall look of the app.
  • Before I conducted my user interviews, I had an idea of which direction I wanted to take the project. With that being said, I had to pay close attention to the wording of my interview questions so that I did not end up leading the participants.

Learnings

  • Although implementing features to an existing app was somewhat difficult as there were many technical constraints to consider, it was also exciting. More specifically, I enjoyed the opportunity to bring my ideas to life by incorporating them into the app and having the participants test them out and view them in a favorable light.
  • In addition, I learned that usability testing is very valuable, as making small changes to the screens as suggested by the participants can greatly improve my design.

Check out my other case studies on Medium:

Please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn to share any feedback or suggestions!


Extending the scope of Uber Eats- a UX Case Study was originally published in Muzli – Design Inspiration on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.