Event Planter Grocery App

 
Improving the digital grocery shopping experience by curating to user's needs and motives
 

As the use of online purchase is emerging as one of the primary methods of shopping due to its efficiency and convenience, it is no surprise that customers are starting to seek grocery shopping within the digital space also. Customers now complete their whole shopping experience through their smartphones without having to visit the grocery shop physically.

However, are these apps optimized to the users' needs in innovative ways? What ways can the digital medium be utilized to help users complete other tasks than shop for groceries?

 
 

Final Prototype 

Creating a New Event
User flow of creating a new event which allows users to add information, invitations, and recipes. Invitations will be sent out to members in-app

Using Recipe & Buying Grocery
User flow of viewing recipe user signed up for, for an event, viewing recipe, and adding needed ingredients. In addiiton, seeing trending recipes

Event Planter Grocery App is a user research based app prototype to improve the conventional digital grocery shopping experience. Natalie Harmon, Meredith Newman, and I collaborated to research, user test, and prototype our mobile app, while expanding our scope of different design research methods.

 

Process

Ideation Phase

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During the first brainstorming phase of the project, we began by listing questions we wanted to explore about the grocery shopping experience in general. Some of the questions we had included location, how often people grocery shop, what factors affect their willingness to go..

 

This initial phase also included field research based on observations of shopper patterns and habits, as well as exploration of physical grocery store layouts and environments. 

 

Cultural Probe

Based on our research, we handmade and sent out cultural probes named "Food & You" to five different grocery shoppers on campus, both student and staff. The kit included grocery shopping habit questionnaires, activity prompts, a craving journal, and a city map to identify primary grocery shopping locations, to be opened and completed each day. We also included small gifts to compensate for their efforts.

After a week from distribution, the cultural probes would be completed by receivers and returned to us. 

The main goal of the cultural probes is to receive feedback of shoppers regarding their shopping patterns and motives in a fun, engaging way, while they are in their shopping context or natural environment. 

 
 

Student/Subject Activity

During thew week we were waiting for the distributed cultural probes to come back, we conducted student activities to further help us expand our understanding of the shoppers' needs and wants for a grocery shopping experience.

The first activity was a guessing game where a student had to guess the food name on the card with other students' verbal descriptions. This activity helped understand how individuals define each kind of grocery. 

The second activity was mapping out an 'ideal grocery store'. Students took turns to draw one element they wanted to see during their grocery experience. This was to help us understand what kinds of items shoppers wanted to see in grocery stores and if they looked for different services in addition to the conventional shopping experience at once.

 

Affinity Diagramming

With results gathered from activities and cultural probe, we categorized different shopping habits and preferences, taking note of any patterns we noticed. Through analysis, we realized that people grocery shopped very much based on events going on in their lives.

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In addition, we found that shoppers wanted their grocery shopping to be a eventful experience, such as jazz band performance in the store or free coffee tasting. We realized that many shoppers are event-driven in their motives to shop. 

Based on this, we conceptualized an event planning app that helps users plan events with friends and family, search recipes, and order needed groceries. To test this idea quickly, we made a low fidelity paper prototype. 

 

User Testing

After creating the prototypes, we wanted to see if users can  understand how to interact with the app and how the system works. Our main goal was to see if users could complete the main tasks such as creating an event, adding recipes and members to the event, and adding the ingredients in the recipes to the cart. 

While being cheap and quick, this was an intuitive way to see which parts users had trouble understanding or proceeding to the next step. Having the user speak their thought process out loud also helped us identify these points.

 

High Fidelity Prototype

We found that our weak points were in the flow of event adding process, which was disconnected from adding recipes.

 For our final prototype, we focused on smoothing out the flow of adding events, members, and recipes. In addition, we brought out the shopping aspect of the app by including factors users found important such as the options to sort through distance of ingredients located, prices, and brand, etc... 

With Event Planter Grocery App, event planning is easier than ever. Users are guided through planning and preparing for events with their friends while never having to step out of their homes!

 

Takeaways 

  • People are more likely to grocery shop online when looking for specific items. Such cases include when recipes or events call for specific items/ingredients (show advantage of shopping online like varieties and availability)

  • According to respondents, grocery shopping becomes a huge chore in events like Superbowl parties and Thanksgiving dinners which also calls for certain recipes and ingredients (combine tasks for user convenience)

  • Respondents' choice of where to grocery shop depended on largely 4 categories: location (proximity), price, brands they carry, and chain recognition (Kroger, Giant Eagle, etc...) (easier, user-tailored method of sorting)

  • When shopping for regular basis items (produce etc...) people tend to stray away from online shopping because they want to pick and choose (improve on building trust or customization)

Limitations/Challenges

  • Finding subjects on college campus limited audience variation 
  • Building conclusion and finding pattern from the responses
  • Translating the findings to project prompt: a grocery shopping app
  • Conducting user tests while keeping them engaged and on-task