This is my process of ideation, research and design in the proposal of a new feature - Ordering Together for Uber Eats.
Last Friday, I was gathering with my friends at home and we didn't want to cook. We quickly decided to order something from a local Japanese restaurant. We passed the phone around and picked the food we want. It is truly an amazing experience getting together to eat.
Eating together is a shared experience
There is no dedicated feature in Uber Eats for ordering together, yet it is very often for me to order with my friends. Furthermore, ordering together is more than just saving the delivery fee. In my own experience, sometimes I just want to eat with my friends at home. In order to get a more objective understanding of the context, I want to gather some public opinions. I conducted a rough survey and collected 55 results.
How often do people order in a group?
By cross-referencing the two tables, I isolated the users who typically order delivery at least once a week. For these users, 80% of them order in a group at least once a week.
Why do people order in a group?
It's surprising to see that the primary reason that these people order together is "to spend time eating with friends".
To see so many people having their preference to order in a group, I wanna ask myself:
Can we make ordering together into a more exciting experience?
What is the frustration?
I interviewed some of my friends, collected their common frustration with ordering together and then put them in the survey. Many people agreed on the same frustrations including agreeing on a restaurant, checking the menu together, collecting the money and collecting the order information for everyone.
To further explore the problem, I need to evaluate the current experience of group ordering in Uber Eats. I interviewed 5 users and picked 3 of them to form personas in a given context.
User 1: Alex feels too lazy to cook today. She texts her friends nearby ask if they want to order delivery together.
User 2: Chelsy got asked if she wants to order the delivery of a restaurant together.
User 3: Victoria is texting with Alex, discussing about the restaurant. But she does not have the Uber Eats App.
For both User 1, they are considered as the ones who initiate the ordering. In the current Uber Eats app, they need to ask other people in the group, memorize the order, put the order in, pay for the order and eventually collect the money.
For User 2 / 3, they are trying to look at the menu, place the order and get the delivery update outside Uber Eats.
Ideation: "Ordering Together"
For the person who initiate the group order, they need to be able to:
1. Form a group and invite others quickly.
2. Review the order and inform the participants efficiently.
3. Collect the money easily.
For the participants who join in the group, they need to be able to:
1. Read the menu and order the items remotely.
2. Inform the initiator that their decision has been made.
"Ordering Together" involves both the In-App experience and the sharing experience on the messaging platform (Text, Messenger, etc)
First, I map out the user flow based three personas:
User 1 - Alex who initiates the order and invites people to form the group.
User 2 - Chelsy who that gets invited to Uber Eats App.
User 3 - Victoria who gets notified outside through messaging platforms or texts.
Flow: User 1 & User 2
Reflection & The Next Step
1. Conduct more detailed research
The survey I made is rough and small-scaled. 90% of the participants are students and young office workers aging from 18 to 25. The demographics of the Uber Eats users is not fully reflected in the survey.
Based on the current design, I need to cooperate with user research specialists to have a more precise understanding of the users. We can gain more insight from a broader data base and feedbacks, regarding the priority of this feature, the subsequent complexity and affordance.
2. Refine the payment process
In this iteration, I assume people will pay for their own order once the order is confirmed and placed by the initiator. However, there might be people who want to split the bill evenly or use a different financing app to pay. There will be trade-off between the simplicity and the affordance of the Order Together function.
3. Optimize the whole Uber Eats experience
Although this iteration is based on the current Uber Eats design language, it can be confusing and complicated to have this new feature introduced. We need to have deeper understanding on how this feature interacts with other function of Uber Eats like tracking, tipping, reviewing, etc.
Flow: User 1 & User 3
The interaction follows the current Uber Eats app interactions, makes it easy to use the new feature.
Alex wants to see the status of other people, making sure all the participants are ready. He also gets to use other features like promo code, utensils, etc.
The subtotal make it easier to split money and track all the orders.
Creating a Group for Alex
For Chelsy and Victoria, the link directly brings them to the ordering page. They just need to make selection and confirm. The confirmation feature avoids situation like someone made a selection, regretted but forgot to cancel the order before quit the app.
Joining the Order for Chelsy and Victoria
Confirmed, double confirmed... Users need to communicate with each other repeatedly to make sure everything is correct. I introduced a "selecting" state that reminds the group creator that someone is still working on their order.
How to create new experience using existing visual system?
The balance between new interaction and old user habit is very important when working on new feature for an existing app. I ran into interactions that has been defined in the current system as well as those haven't been defined before. It's a also a challenge to come up with new buttons / components that could be understood easily.
Challenge my intuition about the users
Before I conducted the small-scale research, it's easy to have many assumptions. It's also refreshing to see interesting findings like how the survey audience (students) simply enjoy a group eating experience.
Think beyond the app itself
Many interactions and user actions are happening outside of the app itself. I need to imagine how the UX extends from the App to the sharing / social experience. There are people who don't have the app and this is when a temporary web experience comes in.