Silvva
Designing the restaurant-side apps of a food delivery startup







Background

Silvva is an upcoming Kuwaiti food delivery startup. Kuwait’s current food delivery scene is dominated by one big player: Talabat. Silvva’s founder, wanting to challenge that dominance, was going to tackle the challenge by creating a better-quality product — with features still unseen in the country — and making it available for the restaurants for a smaller price. I was brought in as a Product Designer to work on iOS, Android, Tablets (That is, both iPad and Android Tablets) and Web. This is the story of how I designed the Tablets’ version.


Challenge

The smartphone (iOS and Android) apps and website were targeted and meant to be used by the user who wants to order food. On the other hand, the Tablet apps were to be used by the restaurant’s staff: It was through them that the incoming orders would be managed.

They were a key part of the process : If the tablet apps   aren’t working for any reason, the flow simply doesn’t work. Our target audience — the people who are going to use the tablets — is very specific: Restaurant order takers, who in Kuwait are not familiar with tablets being used to manage a good portion of day-to-day activities. The challenge here was to build something for them that would work smoothly. Minimal input, maximum output. The less effort that went into managing those orders, the better.


Constraints

It wasn’t going to be an easy job. For starters, because it was a fully remote project   and because I wasn’t located in Kuwait nor could I relocate there for the duration of the project (I was in New York at the time), actually talking to users in person wouldn’t be possible.

Adding up to that, because most of our target audience only spoke Arabic or other non-English languages, simply talking to them would be difficult. 

I was also a solo designer, so I couldn’t rely on partners (much less a dedicated research team) to help me with any parts of the process. 


Stakeholder Interviews

It was amazing that the founder had a background  in  restaurants (He owned several). Some of the Stakeholder Interviews also assumed the form of Subject Matter Expert (SME) Interviews and this was when I collected incredibly valuable insights on how restaurants in Kuwait operate and how their staff is used to working :  the common tasks and roles, as well as workflows and practices that are typical in the field.


Persona Development

Created based on the Stakeholder (Or in this case, also SME) Interviews and research conducted on the target users, a Persona was created to make it explicit who the user was and what his goals were. The Persona was used and returned to throughout the process. 




User Stories

Based on the Persona’s needs and goals I translated them into a User Story to make sure the design process would have the goal “improving his workflow, with the minimum amount of friction” always in center.

Here’s what the Persona’s story looked like:

“As a restaurant clerk, I want to have clear information about the incoming order so I can pass it on to the kitchen, update its status easily and satisfy my customers” 


Task Flows

The customer wants their food as soon as possible, so the goal here was to really make sure our users (The restaurant staff) could perform actions quickly inside the app — to achieve that the apps had to have not just a clear navigation and structure, but also really short task flows.  


Sketches

The next step was to try to imagine and get it on paper how those tasks would form a UI; it was mostly trying out different design and interaction patterns until I felt a few were worth moving to the Wireframing step.





Wireframes

After going through the Sketches I created and having selected a few, I used Wireframes to better visualize how they would look and feel within the UI’s perimeters. 




Interaction Design

Now thinking about Interaction Design, I had to make sure the users had clear feedback on the results of his or her actions in the platform — knowing that something went right or wrong was important for him to move along the flow. 





Visual Design

I then moved on to Visual Design. The Brand Guidelines had already been created —which colors, type, elements to use and how to use them — the task here was to combine them to enhance the overall usability, improve the experience and facilitate the user’s learning curve and adaptability.




Retrospective

Looking back it’s clear to me now what I’ve learned and what I am going to do different for next projects: It was the first time that language and cultural differences were such a huge barrier — I had not designed for an audience that is mainly Arab before and so this project taught me how to design considering cultural differences and how those differences deeply affect parts of your design.

I am also a team player to my heart: Even though I knew the budget would make it difficult to have brought in another designer, having had someone with that specific cultural background would have helped a lot, specially during the research phase. Lesson learned, never underestimate the power of diversity in your team. 


Soundtrack

It was mostly Chamber Pop. I listened to Belle & Sebastian’s latest Album, “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”. My favorite track is by far “The Everlasting Muse” — and even considering they didn’t play the song that day, their perfomance at 2015’s Glastonburry was great. You should watch it.

I also listened to Stornoway — a British alternative, indie folk band. They released around September “Bonxie Unplucked”, an EP with the acoustic version of a few songs from their latest album, “Bonxie”. They are amazing, so you should definitely give them a try



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