Social Shopper App

This project was created as part of my MSc in User Experience Design at IADT and in association with Musgraves, the largest grocery wholesaler in Ireland. The brief was to create a digital solution to help older users (65+) have a more enjoyable experience when interacting with Musgraves’ supermarket chain SuperValu.

  • Primary User Research
  • Persona and Journey Map
  • Low and High fidelity wireframes
  • Functioning Prototype built in Figma
  • User Testing and Iteration

Client Feedback:

“We were blown away by the level of thoroughness and rigour of this project. Not only did you carry out your own primary research beyond what was offered, the insights you delivered were clear and empathetic to the user. Really innovative and lovely idea. The presentation itself was excellent and definitely the strongest of the two evenings.”

Problem Statement

By 2041, there will be 1.4 million people in the Republic of Ireland aged 65 and over, 3 times the levels there are now and accounting for 22% of the population. Yet this demographic is rarely targeted for within technology, even less designed for. As a consequence, older people can be wary of technology, not wanting to be made feel unable and unconvinced by their own ability. The key issue was how could technology improve their lives and how could I convince them that it would bring them value.

Primary Research

Primary research was conducted with a team of 4 people, each of us conducting accompanied shops with a senior citizen and customer of SuperValu. The research was then collated together and projects were developed individually. During this research I learned, contrary to my assumptions, the average participant was concerned more about convenience, getting in and out as quickly as possible and had no problem using the self-service checkout. Greatest value was placed on were around social connection and feeling independent. These concerns were intensified with the arrival of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where freedoms were especially restricted for over 65s but also parallel across other demographics.

2 quotes from user research around online shopping and the reason they shop at supervalu
Quotes from primary user testing – indicating the need to see the value in something in order to actively participate.

Universal Design

The app would also have to be designed to Universal Design principles and Inclusive Design principles at the fore. As older users generally need a friend or family member to introduce them to technology it was important to me that a user of any age would enjoy the app, if they are invested they are more likely to share it. The app would have to have appropriate language, the visual design would need to accommodate a variety of physical issues around ageing including poor eyesight, hearing and reduced short term memory.

accessibility principles around equitable use, flexibility and room for error.

Personas

Persona for Ada

From the research I created two personas, firstly Ada based around one of my observed shopping trips. However, I found this persona limiting when it came to ideating a solution, so went back to my initial research and created a segmented persona based on several users and called her Marie. I then worked to create a solution that would help solve for both these personas.

Persona for Marie

Marie is a basic smartphone users but loves to stay connected on WhatsApp and Facebook. Like many of her peers she is risk intolerant due to a lack of confidence of new things like technology which to an inclination for the familiar and more comfortable situations. If she makes an error it deters her greatly from trying again. But Marie is overall very positive, loves to be social and connect to other people and appreciates good quality and value.

empathy map for ada and maria
Empathy map

Jobs to be done and How Might We statement

From the research and creation of personas I created a Jobs to be Done statement for Marie and a How Might We statement for Supervalu in order to reframe their original brief with my specific users in mind.

When I use the SuperValu app I want to connect with other shoppers and see what they recommend so I can try new foods without the risk of wasting time, effort and money.

How might SuperValu help Marie find new products she’ll love so that she can stay healthier and independent for longer?

Journey Map & Storyboards

Two As Is journey maps were created, summarised below, showing the change in circumstance over the COVID 19 pandemic. However, both journeys highlighted some similar opportunities to design for older users and make their shopping experience more engaged.

Journey map of over 65 user pre COVID19 and Post COVID 19
As Is journey map.

From the as is scenario I created a To Be journey map, highlighting how a more social experience could improve my persona’s experience.

To be scenario for Ada and social shopper app
To Be Journey Map for Ada
storyboard for Ada using social shopper app
Storyboard for Ada and Social Shopper
storyboard for Marie using social shopper app
Storyboard for Marie using Social Shopper app.

Solution

Welcome to Social Shopper. Social Shopper connects you with family and friends to share favourite products and recommendations. You can split special offers, allowing you to get a great deal without food waste or extra expense.

I decide to create a social space based around shopping, that focused on finding a way to bring people together. An IBM study has shown that with older users, embracing platforms that they are already familiar with and creating integrated systems is the key to getting them comfortable with new tech. Over 65s also tend to be averse to risk, so being on a platform they already know removes some of the emotional barrier. Therefore I based Social Shopper around apps that I discovered my target users already engaged with regularly, like Facebook and WhatsApp.

A Unique Feature called Social Split

I also learned that with over 65s there are higher instances of malnutrition, partly due to a lack of variety in their diets. This again could be attributed to their risk aversion, but also arguably due to the lack of choice for smaller portions in shops as well as offers targeted solely at larger families.

My solution to this was the Social Split feature. This allows the user to take a special offer and split it with someone they know within their Social Shopper network. Both users get a deal on a product, without needing to over purchase. It also works well within the space of my stakeholders as the don’t need to change their current offers structure, Split offer can apply to any 3 for 2 or similar. Split Offer works not only for over 65s who are more inclined to try something when invested with a friend or family member, but also for anyone who lives alone, has a lower budget or finds it hard to try new things.

Prototype and Walkthrough

User Testing and iteration

The application was tested remotely with two over 65s users, options were limited due to lockdown and social distancing but the results were helpful for qualitative feedback. Both users were asked to under take 5 tasks around different features of the app, which they did using a live hi-fidelity Figma prototype. Both users completed all tasks, but feedback was given around the language on the menus, some inconsistencies in terminology, content hidden below the scroll and the need for more in flow on boarding. I created an affinity diagram to synthesis the results and did a brief iteration between the first and second test subject.

Affinity diagram showing results of user testing coding

Further Iterations

The app was further iterated on briefly, but future work would involved expanding the on boarding to provide greater in flow advice and guidance, and the expansion of extra features to remove cognitive load for the user when accessing the apps features.

Feedback

The application concept was well received. Participant two, who had originally expressed a hatred of social media, was particularly excited about the concept of sharing ideas with her friends digitally. The work was presented to the team at Musgraves, and I was awarded best project out of 24 other students.