UX Case Study — A Food Delivery App Focusing On Your Need

So many delivery apps out there, how will you choose to order?

long with millennials gradually shift the global demographics, having food delivered at home is a growing appetite in dining industry, a report released by investment bank UBS forecast food delivery sales could rise an annual average of more than 20% to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion. The report also shows that millennials are three times as likely to order in than their parents, or that food delivery apps are now on average in the top 40 most downloaded apps in major markets.

“There could be a scenario where by 2030 most meals currently cooked at home are instead ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens.”

As you may notice that there are already a lot of delivery apps on market, including some well-known companies, like Ubereats, Doordash, Grubhub, Amazon. You probably will be curious why we need so many apps to do one thing. That’s because food delivery market is still growing fast enough that the competitors have plenty of business to gain — and not just from each other. Overall food delivery sales grew 51 percent from August to March, according to Second Measure. Also, there’s no obvious user loyalty tendency between different delivery apps. Customers migrate from one app to another easily depends on what restaurant options a platform can offer.

Recently some delivery apps start to offer subscription programs to retain their customers and claim the market shares. However promotion and pricing strategies can somehow provide the differentiation of a brand, but they are still easy to be copied by competitors. This study wants to take another angle of differentiating value and take a deep look into users’ perspectives of using food delivery service. Our ultimate goal is to find out the major expectation and user challenge of ordering food online. By taking a UX approach to differentiate our user experience and create the less-likely replicable value of our delivery app.

Approach & Process

User Research: Interview & Journey Map

In the beginning of study, I conducted an interview with several participants who use online food delivery apps regularly. After talking with people about their real experience and expectation of delivery apps, I developed a user journey map to capture the crucial pain points and challenge users may encounter and cause frustration. Here is my interview questionnaire and the journey map based on the result.

Interview question
User Journey Map

Key Challenges

Product offerings matter
Users’ preference for different apps mostly depends on the restaurants on a certain app. Most users tend to order the restaurants they already know, so if a delivery app has more options and is able to show users the customized list of restaurants depends on each individual at the first page, it will reduce the friction of whole purchase process.

Accurate delivery estimation
Being accurate and honest to the estimation is more important for most of the users. Users make decision according to the estimation listed on their phone, if the actual arrival time keeps being postponed or the driver failed to deliver order to an accurate location, it can frustrate users even more than they don’t have any expectation.

Price sensitive to new restaurants
People tend to order food from the restaurants they already knew, and they are more price sensitive to those restaurants they are not familiar with. This point we think is very valuable to implement on the recommendation choices on the homepage and add the new restaurant as add-on item on the same route of other restaurants.

Design Execution
I reflect the findings from previous research and develop the following three features of my app design. They are

  1. Homepage recommendation list
    Consider the difference in price sensitivity between restaurants customers already knew and new restaurants, I want to show two carousels of recommendation list on the homepage. First is their “Favorite restaurants” where users probably ordered or searched before. The second row is the “New restaurants” with a certain discount incentive encouraging users to try.
  2. Live order progress page
    From the research, most users got frustrated by the inaccurate delivery time or poor navigation. I want to add a live delivery map and progress bar to keep users updated their orders. This feature will allow users to cancel or edit their order under some condition, for instance, adding one more item, order delay. Also, there is a button for users to contact restaurants or drivers directly to reduce the miscommunication.
  3. Order other restaurants on the same route
    Since users are more sensitive to new restaurants, I want to add these new restaurants as an Add-on option to other restaurants on the same delivery route. For example, if I order Thai food from a restaurant I knew. After I placed my order, there will be a suggestion list jumping out and showing several new restaurants on the same route with a varied range of discount. So I can order some dessert or drinks from other new restaurants with great discount.

I started making low-fidelity wireframe on Balsamiq. There were two versions of drafts. Then after discussing with others and sorting out some features to move on next high-fidelity digital mockup.

Two version of wireframe on Basalmiq

I end up making my prototype on Adobe XD since this program allows composing simple mockup and motion. The first draft was made in blueprint color, then after setting up the structure, I started adding pictures and colors.

Blueprint of app structure
High fidelity mockup


Food delivery is not a news anymore, and this market will only be more crowded and more competitive. The important thing to stand out from competitors may be not recruiting more users and restaurants registered. Instead, to identify the valuable restaurants where can bring loyal customers and increase customers and restaurants’ satisfaction when they interface with your platform can be more crucial in this market. In the past, only a few delivery platforms in this market and they tend to charge high commission and avoid direct contact among customers, drivers, and restaurants. However the delivery process in reality usually comes with a lot of uncertainty, so their tendency to cut off the communication actually cause users frustrated in their experience. This study wants to create an app that focuses on bringing value to the modern dining market, instead of making a profit for high commission fee or taking advantage of building up a wall between users.

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