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Redesigning food experiences

Eatology is a food app that saves you from unreliable reviews by incorporating expert ratings. Read more about how we approached redefining our features and value proposition through SWOT analysis, user testing, competitive analysis, surveys and more...

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The problem

How can we have higher conversion rates? How do we grow our user base?

The goal

re-evaluate the app and define areas of improvement in features and services that drive more value, rebrand and improve on marketing to get more users and more feedback

Roles and responsibilities

Product Designer and Social Media coordinator- One of the 3 team members

Method and duration

Lean agile, Ongoing

Overview

When I joined the Eatology team, they were in the process of shipping their Giveaway feature with the purpose of driving user value and increasing onboarding rates. Subsequently, our mission began with rigorous trials, brainstorming sessions, and redesign efforts aimed at improving the Eatology platform. Our journey encompassed enhancing the website, SEO, and social media presence, along with designing AI-powered features to better cater to our audience's needs. Throughout this process, we relied on surveys, user testing, and collective brainstorming to uncover solutions that could maximize our platform's effectiveness within our constraints.

In this case study, I will guide you through the enhancements made to the Eatology app, our review platform, and our website, shedding light on how each component was improved.

Introduction to Eatology

Eatology is an app that addresses the problem of unreliable food reviews. We recognize the frustration of food enthusiasts who spend hours scrolling for the perfect restaurant, only to discover that the reviews are fake or biased. At Eatology, we leverage expert ratings to curate a list of restaurants reviewed by trusted individuals. The Eatology app is accessible through the iOS App Store.

Screens from the Eatology app available for iOS

SWOT analysis

As I was dealing with an already existing product I started by getting the team together and figuring out what each person thinks of the product. We made categories about what each one of us though what our advantages were, disadvantages, areas we needed to improve and future steps.

Then we each rated the topics we were interested in looking into and moved on to the next steps.

We ran many brainstorming sessions and got valuable insight from the designer, developer and stakeholder perspective

Conducting Competitor Analysis

In order to get inspiration for how we needed to address our underlying issues that we had agreed upon in our meetings I started conducting thorough research on our market. The team had considered big names such as Yelp and OpenTable as competitors but hadn't really looked into smaller companies or direct competitors with aligning goals. Looking into the market I found that with what we were trying to offer to the market there were many start ups that were worth studying.

Also Studying the most successful food apps I gained valuable insight into how the industry worked which was valuable to future brainstorming sessions.

See full audit spreadsheet here

For the apps that stood out I did further research. I looked into their reviews, analyzed their features further and their positioning in the market.

Asking our users (Usability testing and surveys)

After getting some idea over what works and doesn't in the market and where we want to position ourselves, we started talking to our users. we wanted to know why they use our app, what they think about the possibility of our future features, what type of users are we attracting and what their usual process is when approaching going out.

We sent out surveys and conducted in person usability testing with potential users of different ages.

Summary of Survey Findings

We sent out surveys to our users through emails, in app pop ups and our social media

  • Our users don't belong to a specific age group. we have almost equal number of users in each category
  • Most our users consider themselves "foodies"
  • Our users are mostly female
  • Users go out 1 or 2 times a week for food
  • Most our users use our app for discovery and browsing (for date nights, trying out new restaurants or cuisine)
  • most users rarely use the app
  • We fail to keep our users in app after they're done browsing
  • Users mainly use social media reels to find places and decide based on reviews

Analyzing amplitude data and user behavior patterns

One important factor is that we have a service pain point as users cannot finish the reservation process in app, they cannot see the availability in app and getting referred to the web version of restaurants is confusing for older users and can be frustrating. Our data shows that users mainly treat our app like a list of venues and most users leave after checking out venue pages.

Summary of usability testing findings (App and review platform)

  • The search function is misleading for the users. The browse page is demonstrated by a magnifying glass icon but has no search bar. The search bar at the home page should stay in a sticky position at the top of the page with more
  • Some users almost don't look at the discover and browse pages and if the main function of the app is discoverability the functions needs to be bolder (either nav bar or make it a homepage function)
  • Discoverability filters are weak and need more options such as: budget, time, availability,...
  • The map and list view in the discoverability sections are not visible to the users
  • The back icon and the like button are not visible to older users, the background colors need to be changed from purple to a more visible color.
  • less tech savvy users don't figure out they have to slide down the venue page to see the video
  • Map should be clickable

Reimagining the Value Proposition

Despite being a relatively new app, Eatology already boasted a consistent user base that we could engage for feedback. Our strategy involved analyzing amplitude data, distributing surveys, and conducting moderated user tests to gauge user sentiments about the app. The majority of our users identify as food enthusiasts who find traditional food finder apps lacking.

  • Most Eatology users primarily use the app to discover new venues.
  • Although users use Eatology for discovery, they ultimately make their reservations elsewhere.

Redesigning User Interfaces and Enhancing User Experiences

We identified issues within our systems through data collected from surveys and user testing. Here, I'll outline the changes that have been implemented or are currently in progress, along with their corresponding outcomes.

Redesigning the Eatology Website

To introduce our app effectively, we required a design that was not only technically simple to implement but also conveyed the app's features and enhanced its credibility. We achieved this by adhering to existing design systems and visual elements that the team had used.

For a visual representation of our website's transformation, consider the following before-and-after preview:

Eatology.io before and after

Results:

Following the website's revamp, we observed a 30% increase in website visits, as illustrated in the graph.

Redesigning the app UI UX

I started from the ideal state of the app I had in mind and started prioritizing whatever was more feasible for the team due to very limited resources.

Testing the new concepts

After testing the concepts we made more iterations but the designs were well received.

"It is much more convenient to find reels and locations all in on place and see which ones match my expectations best"

Sarah- Eatoogy user

Conclusion

In conclusion we came up with a plan to improve our platform through these steps:

Short-Term Improvement Plans

Our immediate plans include:

  • Working on Featured Venues: Collaborating with venues through interviews and blogs to enhance our SEO and attract more users. This approach aims to bolster our app's monetization and build user trust.
  • Reservations: Implementation of a Scraper AI to provide users with comprehensive reservation details, eliminating the need to make reservations through external channels.
  • Expanding to a Larger Area in Toronto and Incorporating More Venues: Empowering reviewers to add new places and contribute reviews to remove bias from our platform. This streamlined process will allow us to automate the addition of new venues and optimize our system.

Future Steps and Innovative Features

Recognizing the subjectivity of "good food" is crucial when tackling the issue of unreliable reviews. Preferences can vary widely, with factors like plate sizes, interior design, accessibility, and ingredient quality influencing dining choices. To address this, we propose implementing a personalized recommendation system based on users' personal judgments. Empowering users to define their ideal dining experience, rather than offering a curated list, represents a more empathetic solution to the challenge of unreliable reviews.

This approach aligns with our vision to deliver a more personalized, user-centric experience that addresses the issues of bias and unreliability in restaurant reviews.