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About the project

International students often face trouble in finding grocery stores that provide food according to their cultural food requirements/preferences. This is the journey of an international graduate student’s team and their efforts in improving the grocery shopping experience for international students by designing ifindgoods application.

Timeline: 2 Months



My Role

As a designer, I conducted user research by visiting grocery stores and conducting surveys, observations, and interviews of international students. After we defined our main features, I created storyboards, low-fidelity UI and an interactive prototype for usability testing using Invision.



Design Process



User Study and Research

The main goal of the research was to understand the goals, motivations, and pain points of the international students so that we could design a better solution for them.

The Approach


We recruited six international students and conducted semi-structured interviews. Interviewing international students lead us to determine that price was of most interest to our specific interviewees, with the most cost-efficient produce being pursued rather than quality. 


Observations helped us to keep track of where people went in the store, whether they looked at the prices when picking up or putting down an item, how often they approached clearance sections and differentiated between the demographics such as age. During an observation of whole foods, I noticed a young couple that walked straight to the section where different products were offered on extra clearance. They picked up the item, and then set it down demonstrating that perhaps it was not the item they wanted, but the price factor leads them to visit the section anyways.

Fresh Thyme

Most items here were for take home to bake, or heat up quickly. These items did not take too much preparation and are easily made for those on the go.

Family Dollar

An international student looking for every day low prices items.

Whole Foods Market

Patron searching for a drink. These drinks are typically consumed immediately and not for bulk.



Problem Synthesis

Affinity Diagramming and empathy map helped us to generate insights from the data collected. Empathy map is more like based on what the users think, but through this technique, we get a chance to reflect their emotions and feelings in depth whereas affinity diagram is more like a systematic technique.


Empathy Map
Affinity Diagram




I created two personas, Yurika and Vahid representing their significance in the real world and enabled us to create certain characters to demonstrate their preferences which described in the personas.





At the previous stage, we defined the key features:

1. Collect user’s’ preferences
2. Search by products, country, and market name
3. Pricing system
4. Reviews from other users who are culturally similar to them

We then sketched the overall application flow and wireframe on whiteboards, which allowed us to continuously edit think through our design at a low fidelity. After we came up with the first version of our application, each member conducted a cognitive walkthrough of the low-fidelity prototype to make sure we include all the features and the flow is smooth.​​​​​​​



Introducing iFindGoods for International Students

A small concept with a focused on providing details of the various stores by eliminating the time waste of visiting all the different stores or opening up multiple sites to find information and majorly considering users’ food culture into consideration while designing the grocery searching system, a truly authentic review of the different groceries.



How will this improve the grocery shopping experience of international students?

Below are the key screens of how international students could make use of ifindgoods for grocery shopping.

1. Create Profile

Users can choose their food preference from a list when signing up for this app.

Log in / Sign Up
Select food preference
Indian, Japanese and Taiwanese selected

2. Search Method

Search by country/region names, not just search by products or grocery stores. The system will list out grocery stores that sell related products. For example, a user would like to buy some Indiana spices, but the user doesn't know which grocery store sells the most Indian products. Just type in "India" or "Indiana," the search system will list out all stores that sell Indian products ranging prices from high to low or vice versa.

Search goods by Country / Region
Sort by Price
Sort by Distance

3. Real-time Price Comparison

Search by product to check the price comparison. Users can apply price and distance filters to get personalized search results.

Search by Product
High to Low price list
Low to High price list

4. Check Reviews

Users can check reviews after entering a grocery store page. The system will show reviews from other users who are culturally similar to the user first. In the grocery store page, users can also check real-time grocery price of each items.

Grocery page of Saraga store
Review page of Saraga store
Real-time price of Whole Milk at Saraga



Product Evaluation

We conducted 3 UX expert evaluations, using heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough and also did usability evaluation with three users. 
The following tasks were used during the evaluations:
1. Sign up with the app 
2. Search for “Indian” market, and set the lowest price and distance filters 
3. Search for “milk” and find the cheapest milk 



Key Findings from the Usability Test

The overall experiences were good for our participants. They agreed that the concept behind the app is definitely needed for a newcomer, especially international students. From our usability testing, we found some common issues.

1. In our prototype, some back buttons are no function, which confused the users.
2. The review button was hard to find. Users do want to know the reviews but don’t know where to check it.
3. When collecting users’ preference, may need more demographic, not just age and nationality. For example, veg and non-veg is also an important parameter.
4. When searching for the real-time price for a certain product, the system will list out different brands and their price. User questioned about how they know the difference and the credibility between different brands, not every consumer only care about the lowest price.



Next Steps

The future steps would be geared toward fixing the functional problems encountered during evaluation testing and conducting further research on the information display.