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