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About

Honeycomb.ai is an artificial intelligence technology start up that empowers restaurants and diners, by filtering menus according to dietary restrictions. 

Problem

Honeycomb.ai lacked user engagement and trust, leading to high exit rate and lack of growth.

Goal

To discover why users lack trust, and provide most viable solution to create trust. 

Research Team 

Boston

As User Researcher, created triangulated research plan and responsible for  unmoderated interviews performed using Preely.

Elaine

User Researcher responsible for moderated interviews and user testing.

Eric

User Researcher responsible for moderated interviews and user testing.

Research Method

We utilized an agile approach with the scrum method. The scrimmages were broken down into sprints ranging 1-2 weeks. In order to stay on budget, we used the Preely plugin to conduct the unmoderated user testing and survey. To produce robust feedback, I suggested and utilized a triangulated approach with two moderated sessions and one unmoderated session. This would allow the team to leverage the metrics and data from Preely to validate the moderated sessions and hypothesis from the usability audit. 

Plan

Interview Stakeholders

Sprint 1- Moderated 

Sprint 2 - Moderated

Sprint 3 - Unmoderated

Sprint 4 - Analysis

Presentation Preparation 

Stakeholder Meeting 

Next Steps

Methods

Usability Audit

Moderated Interviews

Unmoderated Interviews

User Testing

Tools

Figma 

Google Forms

Preely 

Zoom

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"I really wish I could find a place to eat with my friends, and not feel like I'm being difficult."​
Persona

Sarah is a busy professional working in real estate, who needs to save time. She is a self proclaimed foodie who loves to dine out. However, she is a life long celiac who has a difficult time locating diet friendly dishes that meet her celiac restrictions. It is even more of a challenge to find places to dine out with friends and coworkers, without making a fuss as the odd diet out.  

Pain Points
  • Needs to find restaurant dishes that meet her dietary restrictions

  • Wants to dine out with friends without being viewed as a problem

  • Would love to explore dining out as pleasurable, not a chore

How Might We

...make it easier for people with dietary restrictions to enjoy restaurant meals? 

Accessibility + Usability Audit

During the audit we discovered several design issues, some of which we felt were easy fixes before launching user testing. This way users would not be distracted and allow us to identify key findings to make recommendations best suited for the project goal, to increase engagement and trust.

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Consistency + Standards

There was a lack of consistency with element design, which could cause confusion and lack of trust with the user. Button colors and shapes were used interchangeably between elements and tasks. Icons lacked consistent line weight.

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Accessibility

Color selection could use more contrast, especially on allergen spectrum labels so that users can easily distinguish what dishes meet their dietary needs. Text is often too small to read with ease. These design flaws could lead to misinterpreted information, and create a life threatening scenario. Ultimately, this creates distrust with the user. Also, there is no accessibility menu to adjust the experience.

Visual Hierarchy

Need to adjust scrolling and hierarchy of elements, so that it is easier to search and find compatible dietary dishes. 

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System + Real World

The "useful", "yummy" and "yuck" is not typical jargon used to rate food and difficult to figure out. Also, it isn't easy to decipher which is selected, which only adds to user frustration. 

Helpful Documentation

Directions on use of app was not clear, and may cause lack of trust. Also, the system was not intuitive, making it difficult to search for diet friendly dishes. This may cause drop off rate and lack of engagement.

Present

We presented the audit to the stakeholders and made recommendations. 

Edit

The product and design team made changes to the prototype.

TEst

We used the revised prototype for user interviews and testing.

Analyze

We compiled the data, analyzed user metrics and behavior, then suggested next steps.

Moderated Sessions Feedback

Elaine and Eric conducted ten remote moderated sessions, with a user pool from San Francisco, California and Vancouver, BC respectively. Participants were asked to imagine they are someone with celiac disease and trying to locate restaurants the could safely meet their dietary restrictions. Overall, users had difficulty navigating the app to complete the requested tasks. In the revised app, there was still confusion with elements, layout and function.

"The restaurant reviews are the first thing I look to establish trust"​

"Felt uncomfortable that they asked for information so early on in the onboarding process"

"Top picks should be first instead of closest restaurant. I don't find close restaurants to be useful as food is being delivered anyways"
"Not sure if the filter is on because it should be automatically assumed the restaurant has the filter on"​
"I felt most features that Yelp provides weren't on this app and would prefer the customization of filters and features that yelp provides"​
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Unmoderated Sessions Feedback

I conducted the unmoderated sessions using Preely, a user testing plugin for prototypes. There were a total of nine female participants, with an average age of thirty-five years. Only three were able to fully complete the test. And those that remained, often selected a different path than designed to complete the task. The high drop off rate and missed paths warrant a closer look, more research and another reiteration of the app.  

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The honeycomb app introduction attempts to demonstrate how it works. But the analogy and jargon led to user confusion. 

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"I think it might help me with my diet and eating habits"

Throughout the testing process, participants were overwhelmed with information. This led them to try to create their own paths to complete tasks. However, these unexpected explorations allowed us to learn their search preferences. The heat maps and clicks served as a guide to provide stakeholders to use in further reiterations.

Heat Map
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Clicks
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The above click path represents a failed task, and need to redesign red routes to make navigation easier for users. It took three screens and nine actions, that resulted in the participant saying...

"I can't order... it's too difficult"

Below, is the path taken by two of the three to remain participants at this point. A second path was taken by the third participant. All were first tasked with locating a restaurant to meet their dietary needs. 

Path One
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Path  Two
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Then we funneled the test with a specific instructions to complete the same task, using the map feature. None of the participants used the map. The honeycomb product and design team invested a great deal of sweat equity and investor funding into developing this feature. We recommended stronger agile efforts to test often and early to avoid and/or minimize future losses.

Map Feature
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Stakeholder Reccommendations

We shared our research with the stakeholders and suggested further research be done before relaunching the honeycomb app. Specifically, A/B tests on the introduction demo, user tests on new red routes to create a more intuitive experience and add an accessibility menu. 

 

Food allergies are considered a disability by the ADA. Many people on the autism spectrum and neurodiverse exeperience food intolerances or allergies. Adding an accessibility menu would be a great asset to the app to capture this audience. Companies like Userway, Accessibe and AudioEye offer some great options for an accessibility menu (both for website and mobile). For reference, my portfolio site has the UserWay accessibility widget.

For further reading on food intolerances in the autism community, see here.
 

Synthesize + Redesign

After the stakeholder meeting, the honeycomb team implemented changes to the app. They key takeaways embraced were to reduce the complexity of the app and make it more intuitive. The team also understood the need to create an onboarding experience that was more inclusive for those not familiar with dietary restrictions. In order to accomplish this, the honeycomb team saw value in continued use of the Preely app to do more research and testing. 

White Space

Increased by addressing clutter and had it scale better with different phone sizes. 

Search Confusion

Redesign search page and add backend functionality to simplify the experience.

Diet Filter

Keeping it only on the menu and exploring best use case for it. 

Get Started page

Remove blank page and test for best solution to onboarding. 

Icons and Text

Testing icons vs text, and will commission someone to create consistent brand specific icon library.

Grammar

Perform full audit.

Accessibility

Look into best option for accessibility menu and insert into app.

Onboarding

Test variants of current chocolate demo, and explore other animations to find best fit.

Alignment + Buttons

Move to a more consistent button use app wide and resolve alignment inconsistencies.

Customized Letter

Test to find best place to insert after demonstrated value and gained user trust.

Focus on CTA

Remove clutter and excess elements, and focus on consistent CTA buttons.

Prototyping 

Mitigate areas users found unclear.

Review Functionality

Test different positions and look of the reviews and menu pages.

Clear User Confusion

Create non tutorial way to inform user everything meets their dietary needs.

Font Sizes

Increase based off feedback and scale according to devices. 

Diet Selection

Test page with diet and allergens combined to eliminate confusion.

Hierarchy

Test different components.

Next Steps

In effort to continue agile research and create the best version of honeycomb app, I would recommend conducting a focus group using User Interviews. You can either use the platform or your favorite remote video conference like Microsoft Team Meets, Zoom or Google Meets. The latter was named most accessible according a separate research study by the neurodiverse community.

The focus group breed new ideas to inspire the honeycomb team to generate new features and refine current ones. It can also serve as a springboard for journey mapping. Honeycomb has great value to offer restaurant goers, whether their diets are medically necessary or personal preferences. I look forward to the next version to be launched. Want to stay up to date and learn more about the startup Honeycomb? Visit their website here