Project Name: Grocery Prime
Project: User research and usability testing
Client: Grocery Prime
Project’s problem and context: The client, Grocery Prime, is considering creating a grocery store app. They asked me to conduct initial research to help determine specific problems, or pain points, users have with grocery shopping that their new app might be able to solve. They then put together a prototype of their app following the feedback from my interviews and asked me to carry out some usability tests before further iterations were made.
User Research – The Process
I created a user research plan to organize and layout my initial interview questions. I then chose six people who fitted into the client’s target audience to interview. I made notes of their answers to the interview questions and analyzed their responses to find key pain points for your Grocery Prime to focus on when building their app.
I initially researched my target audience by reading around recent grocery shopping trends. According to grocer.co.uk, more parents in the UK, mums in particular, have moved to online shopping to ease the stress on their time when grocery shopping. With that in mind I targeted parents of school aged children about their shopping habits by sending out a short request on social media. I prepared a script and questions around the following topics: shopping as a family, making lists and planning, budgeting, item availability and the checkout process.
Based on the feedback from the participants I created an affinity map to aid me in drawing conclusions and honing in on the most important pain points.
From their feedback it seems that fitting shopping around life is key. This is why all participants make several trips to a grocery store each week. In general, the participants seem to see grocery shopping as a chore. They like to get it done quickly and none of the participants enjoy taking their children shopping! As can be seen on the Affinity Map, many participants already use their phone to aid them grocery shopping, whether it is for online deliveries, writing lists in their notes app or sending messages to remind a partner about what to pick up on the way home.
Only two of the six participants said they enjoy shopping for groceries but only if they are on their own and have the time to look around. All of the participants write a list, how they write their list is split equally between paper and the notes app on their phones. Most of the participants seem quite confident that they can find alternatives if something they wanted to buy is not available, even if that means, in some cases, changing a meal plan on the spot. The check out process seems to meet everyone’s needs although queues are disliked.
From my research I can say that the feelings towards grocery shopping are mixed so an app that eases the pain points, so increasing the positive feelings around this task, is clearly needed.
Pain points that I could easily be addressed by Grocery Prime in their new app are budgeting and list writing. ‘Scan while you shop’ could add up the items put into the trolleys/baskets and give the user a running total. The user would then be confident they are sticking to their budget. The app could also alert the user to special offers for those particular items or items nearby. Writing a list in the app could alert the user to personalised special offers. It could also offer replacement suggestions if an item is not available. The app could ‘learn’ the buying habits of the user and so keep a basic list of usually purchased items to kick start the list each time. It could also be connected to a store map to show users where these items are generally located.
Usability Testing – The Process
The client provided a prototype for their online shopping app and asked me to complete usability tests with participants to confirm the functionality of the app. I selected participants aged between 25 – 44. They were chosen because, after completing some research I found that this group of adults are most likely to order groceries online. In 2019 45% of 25-34 year olds and 40% of 35-44 year olds purchased food and groceries online in the UK. Choosing participants who are already familiar with the process of online shopping helps to get well rounded answers that are focused on the processes rather than initiation. These people represented Grocery Prime’s most likely users so getting it right with them will ensure the success of the service.
Usability Testing – The Results
I produced a script and then observed participants in the tasks, prompting only if necessary. After making notes and gaining feedback I divided the feedback into what went well and what needs to change. Grocery Prime have made a good start on their Grocery ordering app. The participants all found the process of ordering an item easy (participants rated the process either 1 or 2 for ease of use on a 10 point scale). The buttons and icons were well sized and fairly obvious to the users in their meanings.
The order process did bring up some confusion though. These were the three main issues, as brought up by most of the participants are outlined below and possible solutions:
On the individual item page there is no way of knowing the current quantity that has been ordered. It can be seen that the quantity can be changed but how do users know how many they have to start with? A simple ‘Quantity’ viewer that changes when the – and + are used would clarify this. Along with this, swapping the + and – to the other way around as a + would normally be seen on the right hand side and the – on the left in English language sites. These two issues could also be solved using a drop down quantity drop down menu as used on other sites such as Amazon.co.uk.
Some of the participants were unsure that the item had actually been added to their cart. Using a small cart icon, possibly on the top right hand side, that numerically added the item on or a pop up overlay that says ‘added to cart’ could solve this issue.
On the final screen of the prototype all users felt that order was a little confused. From prior experience using shopping apps, users expected the order summary to come first, then the delivery details, then the payment details. A summary of the total cost can then be seen before any payment details are added or confirmed. Getting this order more inline with what users are expecting will give the users more confidence in the service and would decrease checkout abandonment. A progress bar that reflects this, new, expected order would then be useful to the user rather than creating confusion.
- User research
- Usability testing
- Affinity Diagrams