Hudsons Coffee: Mobile app to enhance customer experience

The journey from brief to interactive prototype


The Brief and challenge

Hudsons Coffee required an app that will help to enhance their customers’ experience to hold onto current customers and gain new ones in their Melbourne CBD stores. Additionally, it was required to use their current reward program and suggested features around events.

Project Details

Duration: 2 weeks
Team: 3 user experience designers
Techniques used: Contextual Inquiries, User Interviews, Survey, Empathy maps and Personas, User Journeys, Minimum Viable Product, Design Studio, Sketching, Prototyping, Usability Test.
Tools Used: Pen, paper, Post-it notes, Sketch & InVision
My role:
- Conduct contextual inquiries
- Design user surveys
- Analyse & synthesise findings from user research
- Facilitate co-design workshops with the design team: design studio, empathy maps, user journeys.
- Conduct Usability tests and provide input to the development of the interactive prototype.
- Manage project timeline.

Process implemented through out the project

Discovery and Research

After reviewing the brief and having in mind that coffee is such a broad topic, specially in a city like Melbourne; we decided to start our discovery phase through a Contextual Inquiry process to understand the specific business context. We visited 4 Hudsons Coffee stores in Melbourne CBD in various times of the day (morning, mid-day & afternoon) and informally talk to the staff to understand their type of customers. This first approach led us to takeaways as the main service for Hudsons besides some pain points with the current reward program.

Additionally, we run User Interviews with 8 coffee drinkers to understand their behaviors and motivations around coffee. These allowed us to identify two differentiated type of coffee drinkers: the ones that like to frequent cafe boutiques looking for novelty and variety in blend options vs. those who visit coffee chains looking for a reliable good quality option.

These techniques allowed us to understand and decode the main themes we needed to research deeper using a survey: takeaway, social reasons around coffee, rewards program and events. In the events theme, we required to confirm if our initial finding about people not being interested in events at cafes were common as the brief required us to consider them. The table below shows the main conclusions we got from the survey with 54 responses.

Survey conclusions

Narrowing Scope & Structure

Having disproved the event theme as a way to enhance customer experience I started to review the notes of our research trying to find hidden themes that are related to the whole experience when buying takeaway coffee. I proposed to build a Journey Map not only for the user but the staff that provides the service, as they are fundamental part of the experience beyond the product itself (the coffee). Through this process we found that many of the staff pain points ended up affecting the customer experience as well. This led us to work on a solution not only using a user/customer interface through a mobile app but a solution for the staff that would enhance customer experience through personalisation.

The user journey led us to build three main personas: the handy coffee chaser, the coffee savvy and the barista/cafe attendant. However, our solution would focus on the handy coffee chaser and the barista/cafe attendant as the coffee savvy is not the target market for Hudsons, having this persona in mind helped to remind us what should not be included in our Minimum Viable Product.

Using a service design approach we concentrated on main pain points around the experience using the user journey and key personas Robert & Vicky to build our Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It will include not only the user mobile app, but an integrated staff interface that will allow them to provide a personalised and quick service in-store, keeping the business goal to integrate the rewards program.

Mobile App to Enhance Customer Experience

Then I run a review of general digital based rewards program finding a new common trend around using technology that allows to track the user within the store, including beacons and bluetooth, and presented it to the team. Assuming this a viable technology as it’s already in the market, we started to ideate possible solutions. Through this process I’ve found that people management and time management comes natural to me and distributing workload according to individual skills helped the team to get the best from each member. I utilised my facilitation skills to lead the ideation sessions.

Analyzing and unpacking findings from User Research using Affinity Maps, User Journeys and Empathy Maps

Before getting into sketching and prototype we prioritised features using a MOSCOW matrix as shown below.

Feature Prioritisation

Sketching and Ideation

With a MVP defined we moved into Design Studio to start exploring concept ideas around the user mobile app and the staff interface.

We created our paper wireframes around the most important scenarios for our users that included:

  • Mobile App: pre-ordering for pick up and ordering “the usual” including automated rewards program.
  • Staff Interface: ordering at the counter using customer history (with a system that detects customer’s phone apps within store) and order delivery management system for the barista.

Using the paper wireframes we proceeded to usability test with 7 people using a guerrilla test approach as it’s very common to find coffee drinkers in Melbourne!. The main pain points:

  • Most users found the “customise” page confusing and weren’t sure what they could do or expect.
  • Users found it frustrating that the checkout page doesn’t provide enough information about how cost is derived.
  • Some users were struggling to navigate around the prototype.
Paper Prototyping and Usability Test

The staff interface paper wireframes allowed us to understand the way baristas work and understand order processes because at this point we had not explore deep enough this area. Even though the staff interface main objective was not to support or improve back end processes, it came natural that it was required to reflect it on a better experience for customers.

I learned that even though paper prototype should be lo-fidelity, we missed important key points that created confusion at this point that could be avoided. Even though we built user flows, those could have had a second level of detail, that would have given us enough details in specific tasks through the order experience that could have been reflected on the initial paper prototypes.

Prototyping and Testing

Using the findings on paper wireframes we moved into the interactive prototype using Sketch and InVision. We run a series of 3 iterations with users and 2 iterations for the staff interface (testing the prototype on people that has had a cafe or retail working experience).

Testing the interactive prototype with users

Besides fixing pain points around vocabulary, i.e., favorites vs. the usual to order the most bought item, and general navigation details, we had the opportunity to test the key main features that differentiated the solution from other pre-order coffee apps in the market that are addressing the specific needs found during research:

  • An option that saves their usual coffee, including customisation, to order in less steps was an expected feature.
  • Automated rewards program: when credit is available the system automatically will display it on the check out page ready to be used.If they don’t want to use it, the option to remove it is there. We had two types of users here: the ones that do not care about a rewards program found it as a good feature as they don’t have to bother claiming the points but benefit easily from the program and the ones that like to manage their rewards and decide when they want to use it, found it fine because of the option to remove it.
  • An option to select a pick up time was overlooked in the first iterations as it was a surprising not expected feature. When it was more prominent on the prototype, most of users found the feature as a “wow” factor and some others just wanted an ASAP option as they will only order just before heading to the cafe.
  • A “Pause Order” function that will allow customers to delay their order if something comes across: even though this feature created a “wow” factor in most of users, they wanted to know more about the rules around it.

In general, I learned that simplified processes and a reduced amount of options are a key feature in this type of solutions as people want to go through tasks really quick. Additionally, I learned that trying to include within iterations new ideas can have positive and negative effects on the process. On the positive side it’s possible to test quickly new ideas as the project progresses and new feedback from previous iterations come into place. On the negative side, it could interfere with testing on improvements of other features that had been tested before. In this sense, I believe that having in mind the MVP helps to keep the process in focus.

User Mobile App Lo-definition Interactive Prototype

On the Staff interface side, the problems of back end processes were improved from paper prototypes. However colour coding around customer classification needs to be reworked for future iterations, in general the system is supporting to solve the problem for the staff, providing them with information about the customer that allows them to provide a personalised service.

Staff Interface lo-fidelity interactive prototype

Next Steps

As part of the iteration in the design process for this app we suggested the following next steps:

Quick wins

  • Alarms and notifications for customers announcing when their order is ready.
  • High fidelity design.
  • Leveraging on company database to expand customer app profiles.

Long term goals

  • Delivery Services as a potential new service (this will require further research).
  • Coffee Runner Add-on.
  • GPS Tracking.
  • Research other users relevant for Hudsons in hospitals and airports as new personas could emerge with different pain points and needs.

Final personal reflections…

This project has helped me to develop a more holistic approach to the whole UX Design process. I really want to keep improving my facilitation skills during research and design studio phases as well as my skills on prototyping tools.