In September 2021, nearing the end of my BrainSation education, I was privileged to be part of a team of cross-discipline students that tackled a 24-hour “Hack-a-thon”. BrainStation’s industry partner Skip-the-Dishes tasked me, two other UX Designers, three Web Developers, and two Data Scientists with coming up with a digital solution to a unique problem space.

Over an intensive period of brainstorming, discussion, and iteration, with check-ins from the BrainStation team, your multidisciplinary teams will create a digital solution designed to sustain customer engagement and elevate the food delivery industry in a post-pandemic world. 
Role: UX & UI Designer (1 of 3)
Timeline: 24 Hours
Platform: Mobile web browser
Secondary Research with Data Science team
Whiteboarding & Ideation
User flow
UI Deconstruction
UI guide for Web Dev
Hi-FI Development
Hand Off to Web Dev
Problem Space
Over an intense 24 hour period, our multidisciplinary team brainstormed, discussed, and iterated a solution to engage customers by sparking their curiosity around utilizing a food delivery service in a post-covid world.
Skip-the-Dishes was looking to:
• Showcase the value of the food delivery industry
• Leverage consumer behaviour information to better engage new/existing customers
• Illustrate why and how the food delivery industry is as relevant now as ever
• Develop relationships with consumers, transforming them into food delivery advocates

How might we...
How might we better integrate the food delivery industry into a post-covid customer experience?

On your mark...
While the other UX Designers and I put our heads together and started whiteboarding some solutions and digging into the research, the Web Dev team started building the backbone of the mobile web platform solution we were tasked with. The Data Science team was armed with a number of datasets from Skip-the-Dishes’ research and they began to distill the numbers into usable representations of ordering and delivery behaviour.

Get set...
After a few hours of thorough research, whiteboarding and ideation, the UX team took the result of our exploration and held it to the mirror of the Data Science team's findings. Both teams realized that in the immediate period following the COVID-19 lock-downs people weren't necessarily going out to eat but rather gathering with friends and family at someone’s home
More research into how people order food from Skip-the-Dishes using the desktop website or mobile revealed the struggles of ordering for groups

• People want to get together and have meals with loved ones 
• People want an easy meal without all the cleanup
• People haven’t seen one another in months
• People are gathering at someone’s home to enjoy a meal together
• People agree on one restaurant and all orders from that establishment
• People all have different tastes and dietary needs/choices
Pain Points
Ordering for a group can be a hassle
Picking up food for a large group is difficult
• One user chasing down all the guests to make sure thor orders are correct is frustrating
• Guests can be late or arrive at different times
• Settling the bill afterwards can be a pain in a cashless society
After the data synthesis, the UX team and Data Science team compared findings and two common epics were obvious.
1. People want order options for groups that are easy to use 
2. Groups of people want an easy payment option

With these epics in mind, the solution became apparent to us. Develop a party ordering system that allows the “Host” user to set up an order with the agreed-upon restaurant. 
The Host then sends out invites to all the guests attending the gathering via a copied link or an email address. The guests then can all add their own orders to the “Party Order” whether they are at the party already, in transit, or still at home getting ready.
Once their orders are all submitted and confirmed, the Host has the option to pay for the entire order or have all the guests pay for their individual orders from their user account. This way they are all in control of the exact food they order, the amount and they can be responsible for their own bill. 
The food will then all arrive at the same time (which can be determined by the host), everyone gets what they want and with hassle-free payments!

User Flow
We wanted to adhere to the familiar layout and design of the Skip-the-Dishes’ mobile site without disrupting any recognized behaviours the user is used to encountering. So upon reaching the desired restaurant’s order page the user has the option to tap a “Party order” button to begin the group ordering process. The Host user is then presented with the Party Order page and is given the option of paying for the whole order or allowing the guests to pay for their own orders.
The host then taps “Create Party Order” and is given a confirmation page in which they are told about future discounts they and the guests have received for using the new feature. The site then generates a shareable link for the Host to copy and share via text or email.
This not only prompts existing Skip-the-Dishes app users to engage but onboard new users that want to participate in the Party Order feature. 
The guest would then receive the link shared by the user and participate by placing their order and follow up payment process. 

Please view the prototype and follow the Host’s task flow of searching for the restaurant, starting a Party Order, letting the guests pay, and copying the shareable link.
Next Steps & Key Learnings
If this idea was approved for further development, the next steps would be:
1.   Expanding the Host’s user flow to include receiving the orders from the guests and completing the Party Order

2.  Giving the Host the ability to add current Skip-The-Dishes app users from a contact list for easy addition.

3.  Developing the Guest’s user flow, receiving the invite to the Party Order, Placing their order, and adding it to the Party Order.
This exercise was an important one for me and everyone involved. As students, it gave us a brief but potent taste of a real-world exercise. It took us out of our comfort zone and forced us to think on our feet. I learned how to manage my time and the expectations of others, how the Data Science team can be vital in the research and ideation phase, and how to keep Web Developers informed at all stages to maintain realistic expectations of what can be achieved.
I would like to thank the people at Skip-the-Dishes for engaging us through BrainStation and giving us an opportunity to think, act and work like industry professionals. I learned some vital skills and had many memorable experiences in such a short 24 hour period.
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