Festivals are becoming more and more popular nowadays and music and food are two of the most important elements that make them an enjoyable experience. People like dancing, and listening to music, but at some point in the day, they can feel starving. Food trucks are the most common option to eat at festivals but usually, the queues are so long that can create a lot of frustration among the people.
Food trucks, on the other side, are a complex to run business. Food truck owners need to follow regulations and pay many taxes to be able to work on festivals, they have many competitors and have difficulties to be visible.
“Redtrucks” is a small startup settled in Barcelona that tries to offer support to the food trucks that are working in Catalunya. This network tries to coordinate the food trucks in the Catalan territory to offer delightful lunch experiences to the people.
In this post, I talk about how Marine Campanaro and I worked for “Redtrucks” to design a new app called FEAST, an app that enables people to order and pick up food from food trucks in the context of festivals. This was our final project in the UX/UI design Bootcamp at Ironhack and was developed in 9 days of work.
DIGGING INTO THE CONTEXT, DISCOVERING THE PROBLEM.
Research is always the beginning of any design process. Even when you work for a company that provides you some data, as designers, we should approach it as if it was a “hypothesis” that needs to be confirmed.
“Redtrucks” had done a really good job before we met them. They had confirmed the existence of a real need and an opportunity for this app. However, because we wanted to update and expand this research, we created two different surveys — one for the users and another for the food truck owners- and distributed them on different Social Media platforms. We also conducted semi-structured interviews with representatives of both sides.
In total, 68 food truck users and 3 food truck owners replied to our surveys. They gave us meaningful insights to work on the development of a semi-structured interview, which was then conducted with 2 food truck users and 3 waiters. These interviews helped us to narrow down the profile of our target users and identify their main pain-points.
Who is this app for?
FEAST has two main types of users. They are living the same situation from two very different points of view. One is enjoying the party, the other is working hard in a food truck. Because we wanted to follow a user-centered design methodology, we continued the process by developing the following user personas: Lisa and Luigis.
What are their main pain points?
Lisa (the food truck user)
- She doesn’t know what food options she has at the festival, and she doesn’t know where they are located.
- She is starving and needs to eat soon, but there is a long queue to get the food in every food truck.
- She is indecisive and always spends a lot of time deciding her meal.
- She is a student and needs something cheap.
- Lisa has drunk some beers and she is not as fresh as she normally is.
Luigis (the food truck owner)
- His food truck is not very visible and there are many competitors at the festival.
- He feels overwhelmed when the queues turn very long.
- He works fast and sometimes makes mistakes with the orders.
People in festivals, like Lisa, need a way to choose and order food quickly from food trucks that match their expectations like quality, price trust, and location, so they don’t have to queue and can enjoy the moment better.
Food truck owners, like Luiggis, need a way to have a clear overview of the food orders, so they can prepare the meals strategically, feel less overwhelmed by long queues and keep up with the competition.
DECIDING THE MVP AND SETTING THE PRIORITIES
At this point in the process, we had a general idea about the kind of features our app needed to include to solve our users’ problems. However, to get some inspiration and explore the patterns that were working in similar apps we conducted a competitive analysis with apps like Deliveroo, Glovo, Mr. Noow, and StreetStop.
This analysis was very useful because it gave us an orientation to prioritize features. Some of the things we classified as a “must” were:
- A list of restaurant options with some basic information.
- A map view of these same options.
- A “plus” and “minus” button to add or remove items from the order.
- An “add notes to the chef” field.
- A system to rate the restaurants.
To define the MVP features and the future of the product, we used the MoSCoW Diagram, which can be seen next:
HOW FEAST CAN HELP LISA AND LUIGIS?
Next, you can see a video of both high-fidelity prototypes -the user app and the food truck owner’s dashboard:
What is shown in these videos is the final result after days of testing and iterations of the product. We tried it with at least 15 users, some of them workers of different types of restaurants. However, as is usual, we started with very simple paper prototypes and faced many different challenges in the process. Next, you can read some of the most important ones:
Food truck users’ app
Challenge 1. Map View/ list view
This feature was important according to our interviews and competitive analysis. The list of food trucks allows people to read basic information about each food truck and make a fast decision. The map enables people to find where these food trucks are located and how to get there.
Our first design included these two options like different tabs within the same section. Despite the simplicity, some users missed quick access to the list when they were more advanced in the process (e.g. in the page of one of the food trucks). This feedback was translated into a navigation bar which was finally removed and changed for a simpler toggle button. The reason for this last decision was that “map” and “list” view weren’t two different sections, but two views of the same part of the app.
Challenge 2. Time to pick up the food
Because people are always looking for freedom, we decided to satisfy this need by giving them the option to select the moment they wanted to pick up the food: “as soon as possible”, “in 30 min” or “in 45 min”. Although some users appreciated this feature, the majority perceived it as useless having in mind the context (a festival). They all wanted food as soon as possible. Moreover, this option had some technical difficulties on the food truck owners’ dashboard. These reasons made us remove the options and simplify the payment screen.
Challenge 3. Search bar
Following the design of other delivery apps, we decided to include a “search bar” in our prototype. Although some users found this option useful, all of them thought it didn’t make sense in the context of food trucks because the number of them is not usually high. In our mid-fidelity prototype, we removed this feature and no user missed it for the goal they were pursuing.
Food truck owner’s dashboard
The changes implemented in the owners’ dashboard were all based on the testers’ feedback. The goal of this dashboard was to allow the food truck owners (Luigis) to work efficiently (fast and without mistakes).
Challenge 1. The action buttons
The first important design decision was about the number and name of the action buttons. We started including buttons for “accept”, “cancel”, “delay” and “finish” the order. People who work in food trucks and restaurants in general, usually work very fast. When they feel overwhelmed, they don’t have time to check the screen and press “delay”. This was our reason to remove this option. In contrast, we decided to add a new one called “picked up” that enabled the user to finish and archive the order.
As you can see in the images, the buttons have different colors to facilitate a faster recognition of the function of each button and reduce the probability of mistakes.
Challenge 2. The quantity of information
Despite we thought that simplicity was a “must” in the owners’ dashboard, we found out that they preferred having all the information at one glance, so they could take the order immediately. This is possible because we are talking about food trucks whose menu is not usually too long or complex, but would be more difficult in other contexts.
Challenge 3. The disposition of buttons
Here again, we were looking for the most efficient disposition of the elements. We started with horizontal buttons and we rapidly moved into vertical ones, which were easier to press with the finger. In our first versions, we included all the buttons, while in the last one only the next possible action buttons were presented. For example, once the owner pressed “accept”, the only possible action was “finish” the order.
LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT “MOOD”
Our app talks about music, food, and festivals. This means for the majority of people something fun, relaxing and young. All of them were attributes that we wanted to transmit with our color palette, but we also looked for something simple and minimalistic.
To find the right color we took inspiration from photos of food trucks and music festivals. The red was our first option, as a way to represent the most traditional food trucks. However, many red elements in the interface reminded the users of something dangerous or erroneous.
Finally, we opted for the following color palette (on the right) because it transmitted just the right emotions to our users.
This project was developed in 9 days of work in collaboration with Marine Campanaro and the support of “Redtrucks”. We started almost from scratch, only with the idea, a few answers to a survey and a logo. We have designed the app from two different points of view -the food truck owners and the users-, but it is still in its infancy. This app needs to be refined and improved, especially the food truck owners’ dashboard, which was tested with a reduced number of users.
According to our MoSCoW analysis and, after our experience designing FEAST, we have identified some areas in which we would love to work on in the future:
- In the payment screen, we would like to include other payment methods (PayPal, apple pay, google pay), because almost all our users wanted to pay with them.
- We’d like to include the possibility to order food “as soon as possible”, in 30 minutes or 45 minutes, analyzing with more users if this option was a good idea.
- We’d love to connect the app with Google Maps and create instructions about how to get to the food truck because this is what our testers expected.
- In the profile, we’d work on the inclusion of an “Order’s history” section, so the user could access to previous orders.
- Finally, on the owners’ dashboard, we’d expand the “sales reports” section, in which the user could check how is his business going, something essential for every entrepreneur.
Designing FEAST was a great experience for me. The topic of the project -music and food- and the client -Redtrucks-, attracted me from the beginning. They were two weeks of intense work, with many enjoyable moments.
This project was challenging because of the difficulties to find information and test the prototype with the food truck owners. The number of food trucks in Catalunya is low and in the Summer season, the moment in which we were working on the project, they’re usually far from the capital.
Although our client was friendly and open-minded, we learned and practice how important is having efficient communication with clients. It’s very important to listen to their feedback and consider their technical requirements during the design process.
Time is always a constraint and we faced difficult moments trying to define priorities and keep the work on them. The MoSCoW analysis and careful planning were key to stay on track with the tasks and deliver the product on time. This planning was also useful for us as a team because it helped us to find the right balance in the task distribution.
I would like to finish this case study saying thank you to my great teammate Marine Campanaro, from who I learned a lot, and to RedTrucks to give us this amazing opportunity.
Thank you for reading too :-) Feel free to write a comment or ask a question if you have any doubt!