Rent-a-Trolley: Feature Generation

This two-week sprint has been the most challenging for me so far. I have the privilege to work with Vanessa and Kenneth, and our first task is to create a proposal for any user problem that we would prefer to tackle. We had no idea that creating your own brief would be that difficult. It was, for us, the best example of Hick’s law. We were originally planning of tackling issues related to NGO’s but every time we conduct a root-cause analysis, we just ended up with business proposals. Until we looked at everyday inconveniences, that we had our big ‘AHA’ moment.

High usage of plastic bags and inconvenience of taking groceries home
Cart Left on the side of the road (right) and on HDBs (left)

The Problem:

Plastic bag reduction and bringing home the items after Grocery shopping

Measure of Success:

Reduction of plastic bag usage and willingness of the customers to avail the service when made available

The Tools:

Trello, Google drive, Mindmup, Google draw, Sketch, Sketchup, InVision, Omnigraffle, Keynote, Google forms, Principle

We ended up with another service design project which personally got me excited. I love that UX in service design has a more holistic approach since I get to look into both physical and digital aspects. It has a different appeal from mobile UX, which is more focused on digital touch points and technologies.

Our first task is to validate the problem and gather insights on the factors affecting shopping behavior. We kicked off by doing some desk research, formulating questions through google forms and set off to the nearest supermarket. As we entered, we noticed a lot of older people shopping and managed to interview three of them, ask them to answer the google docs survey as well as ask them about their pleasure, pains, contexts and behaviors, before we were asked by the staff to leave the premises. After which we transferred to the next supermarket and did the same thing before heading back. This trip enabled us to talk to 7 people, 5 of which are women. We went back bearing this divergent thinking and proceed to do the affinity mapping. From these we gathered the following insights

1. Majority of shoppers choose the supermarkets nearest their home, unless they need it during the day

2. Even if there are set scheduled time for grocery shopping, they still have to go 2–3 times a week, in average

3. They would use the plastic bags rather than reusable bags or trolleys

4. They are aware of the in-store delivery services but rarely use it

5. Willing to use alternative means if it’s free and would not cause them further inconvenience

Tools: Google Forms Survey (Left); Trello Board (Middle); Mindmup interview questions (Right)

These insights led us to, first and foremost, all the different pain points in grocery shopping — we needed to narrow it down to which one would we like to address. So we defined our personas and came up with two major. Meet Mary and Mark.

Combined User Journey

We mapped out their journey to pin point which part of their shopping experience needs to be addressed. We had to consider ways to reduce their plastic bags consumption. If we discourage the use of plastic bags, we have to provide alternative ways that would make them utilize the trolleys or recycled counterparts. In the process of finding the solution we looked into what the other companies implemented to address these concerns.

In the end we agreed on two essential services –


﷒ A service designed to be available to all consumers which would address the inconvenience of having to bring a lot of things home.



﷒ A service that is focused more on the customers that needs further assistance such as the senior citizens, pregnant women, disabled and visually impaired.

We went back to work focusing on these while defining our digital touch points, feature ideation, site map and paper prototyping. Now, our moment of truth, the usability testing. We had 4 testers moving through both physical and digital lo-fi prototypes but we had a lot of major issues encountered.

- There was a lot of confusion on the service design flow, payment, and post-payment stages where we injected our plan

- The trolley and kiosk placement was disorienting

- Button labels/ terms used for the kiosk was not easily recognized

- Not one of the testers opened the Cold Storage mobile app integration once they are in the physical space

Reluctantly, we had to forget the App integration at this point in time. We reassessed our direction and focused on the kiosk as the only digital touch point and rearranged the physical space design. Instead of having the kiosk and trolley collection point in designated areas,

1. Kiosks were stationed after the payment process but right before the packing station to ascertain that people are informed and encourage them to use the available service.

2. Trolleys were moved after the kiosks to allow easier access so customers would find less need to use plastic bags

3. All of them were made available to every counter instead of designated areas on each side to ensure not to block the pathways and cause people traffic

Terms and conditions of each service were made clear to set the correct expectations

After these iterations, we reviewed our alignment with the data gathered and again set off to the supermarkets to do another round of contextual inquiries. We tested with five people from various supermarkets, between 40–60, which best represent our personas.

The Result:

- 5 out of 5 people are willing to let go of the plastic bags ad long as the alternative service is offered

- 3 out of 3 senior citizens found the Gro-cierge service very helpful and would like to try

Recommendations for future iterations were made, since we only have limited time to design.

In the end, I feel like I would still like to do further iterations but I never regret the decisions we have made. I was really happy working with Vanessa and Kenneth, thankful for the opportunity to have shared his experience and learned from them.

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