For that perfect dining experience
Wait staff do not get feedback on their work
A restaurant is an amalgamation of hosts, food and ambience. Hosts are people like you and me. They put in hard hours of work to make that important date perfect or your birthday party fun. Like all humans, they are not perfect. A little feedback from guests can help them improve. A thank you note or good tip could light up their day and make their hardwork more rewarding. Google restaurants aims to improve the guest host relationship.
Duration - One week design sprint
What are our users trying to accomplish?
Interviewed 2 hosts and a manager to understand their relationship with guests. These interviews gave insights about their goals and motivation.
What I learnt from research?
Hosts are eager to improve their service and tips.
How might we create a way for guests to quickly give constructive feedback so that hosts can improve their service?
There is no way to show their good work in a previous workplace to future employers.
How might we help hosts record and present their work to potential employers so that decisions are not entirely based on references?
Managers find it difficult to assess the performance of current staff.
How might we help the manager understand the strengths and weakness of the staff to provide appropriate training?
How it works?
Insights for the manager
The data from the reviews also helps the manager assess the overall performance of the staff and identify weak points in their service. The manager can plan training strategies to strengthen these weak points. In the below example, the manager has to focus on improving the friendliness of the staff.
Once I have my research insights, I start off by brainstorming ideas and drawing out quick sketches of them. One of the methods I use is dividing the page into 9 blocks and coming up with 1 idea per block in 5 minutes.
Big ideas that emerged
- Using NFC and android instant apps to post reviews
- Using Google Now to push contextual rating cards and prompt the user
- Using hand gestures for rating service at the counter
Why did I go with NFC?
56% of North Americans are already familiar with mobile payment. eMarketer has forecasted a growth of 210% in mobile payments for 2016. Therefore, restaurant are already securing devices with NFC chips for payment. These same devices could be used to gather rating as well. This way we do not disrupt there current workflows.
Why android instant app?
If the user has to install an app, open it, navigate to the review screen, it is a huge barrier for entry. We try to simplify this process by making the user perform one single action, that is, tapping the phone to the NFC chip. The app autmotically opens to the review screen. Once the user is done, the app no longer persists on the phone. This way the user does not feel burdened with another app.
Other services used to create the experience ...
What is the value of wait staff reviews for our target users?
I start off sketching out big ideas once again for the product experience. For example, I sketched out the different types of insights we could provide to the host. I had to make sure these insights were actionable and motivating.
Exploring UI Patterns
I use quick wireframes to explore UI patterns. All the information architecture decisions are taken at this stage. The UI patterns also effect the mechanics of the whole experience.
Accessing insights flow
App review flow
Once the information architecture and user flows are finalized in the wireframe stage, I start working on the visual design. This includes type, color, illustrations, data visualization.
All along the journey there were several design decisions. These were taken based on research insights, best design practices and technology constraints. Here's a few of them.
Why is tip included?
One of the goals of hosts was to increase their tips. While posting a review, the guests quickly reflect on the service. If the service was good, there are more chances of giving a good tip. This would definitely make the hosts happy.
Why food, service and ambience?
The definition of a restaurant - a place where people eat meals. They are cooked and served on premises. These 3 make up the core experience of a restaurant.
Why friendliness and helpfulness?
Based on research, while hiring, these are the 2 qualities managers look for in potential canditates.
The model that I designed works best for traditional restaurants. However, there are a lot of staff working in fast casual chain restaurants like Chipotle. The rating of this staff is tricky as more than one person is responsible for making and serving the order. If the system I designed might not work in such scenario. It will interesting to see how we could expand the capability of our system to address those scenarios.