Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - UX in the Food Industry

Last week’s remote UXPA event bought together two of their favourite subjects - UX and food! They had three speakers from across the food industry to give us some insights into how they have been coping with Covid19.

First up was Christine Eland, senior UX designer at Waitrose. As you can imagine with lock down earlier this year they had a massive shift in customer shopping habits.

Not only were people doing more shopping online, but they also changed how often they shopped.

This meant both new restrictions and opportunities for Christine’s team working on the website. Their main aim was to make sure that shopping with Waitrose is a consistent experience whether people are doing it in store or online.

Christine then went through a case study focused on helping people understand that there is no charge for deliveries - something that came out of remote user testing.

How do you explain to new customers that there is no charge for delivery when customers expect it based on their experience of other supermarkets? Once Christine talked us through the challenges they had worked through I think we all realised this was easier said than done.

Next up was Alex Manthei, product designer at Deliveroo. Alex works in the team working directly with restaurants, or Partners as they call them, creating the interfaces that allow Partners to see when someone makes an order and when the food will be collected.

He started off by giving us an overview of what a Partner will see when you make an order. There are many ways they can see your order, with the Deliveroo team trying to make it easier all the time.

With the onset of Covid19 Deliveroo have tried to do things to support the restaurants they work with, for instance changing when they pay them to help with cash flow, and offering training on how to do contact free delivery.

He then ran through a case study for us about the menu manager. Before lock down if a Partner changed its menu, it would need to send the changes to Deliveroo to have them updated on their system which could take days. The team had already started creating a menu manager, allowing Partners to make amendments themselves, before lockdown and decided to release it during lock down.

This might sound like a small thing, but there has been a lot of work involved in getting it working and it has had a massive impact for the businesses themselves, meaning they can update menus as ingredients come and go in these interesting times.

The thing I found most interesting here is how they have included a feedback loop to make sure they can keep working on the menu manager to make it the most useful tool it can be for their Partners.

Our last speaker was Razel Villanueva, product designer at Gousto. For anyone who does not know, Gousto send out ingredients boxes with everything you will need to make a meal.

Razel spoke about how they use the double diamond for their design process, looking at all the opportunities before narrowing down their options to the thing they are going to work on.

She also showed us how they use a solution tree to prioritise opportunities.

She then talked about how they had changed their working habits during lockdown, but managed to keep the collaboration that is so important to their work. Miro, Figma and Lookback featured heavily.

Razel also talked us through some of the other things the Gousto team have been working on over the last couple of months, including removing a lot of plastic from their packaging and encouraging people to use local shops where possible.

It was a really interesting evening, as always it is fascinating to understand the sorts of opportunities and issues other industries go through and I think we got to see three really great examples.

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