How I used Design Thinking to create competition for Wolt and Just-Eat

One of my first projects, when I started working for OrderYOYO, was to redesign their website template for online food ordering. Together with my team, I embarked on a 6-month long journey to understand customer needs and create an ordering website that the restaurants would want to use, customers would want to order from and we would be proud of.

OrderYOYO was founded to help takeaway restaurants transition into the digital space. And compete with high-end portals such as Wolt and Just-Eat. OrderYOYO provides restaurants with their own branded website, mobile application, and administration system. With their own ordering system, the restaurants are in control of their own business, they can regain the returning customers and say goodbye to the 15% - 30% service fees for each order. Which ensures a more efficient business and higher profits for the restaurants.

Why design thinking?

Creating a redesign was my first project as part of B2C (Business to Customer) Web team. This meant that I also had to learn a lot more about the food ordering business, our partners and their customers. Design Thinking was the best choice, it is a solution-based approach to solving problems in 5 stages (Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test). It allows us to tackle complex problems by understanding the human needs, framing the problems, coming up with ideas during brainstorming sessions, then prototyping them and testing them out in the field. And then jumping around, iterating between each of the stages.

Stage 1 - Empathise

To create a website that customers wanted to order from, we needed to set aside our assumptions about how things work and people think. This was the time to learn about the market and especially about the customers that would be using our product.

With data

We dove deep into existing data, so we were able to pinpoint our target demographic. We learned that the biggest group of people were people with families in ages between 35 - 44, completely shattering our assumptions of 18 - 24 being our main target group, even though they did come in close 2nd.

Through user interviews and testing

We went out to user test the old website that the company was using. It helped us identify the main issues and pain points. But the testing also gave us the possibility to get closer to potential customers and have one on one discussions about their ordering habits. We learned the reasons why people would consider ordering takeaway and what are the most important things they look out for when exploring for a potential restaurant to order from.

Here we learned that people highly value the look of the website, they want to feel confident that by ordering from the website, they will receive the food and it will be that of good quality. The website has to look trustworthy!

Preview of persona sheet
Preview of persona sheet

Stage 2 - Define

At this stage, we were able to analyze our observations, gather all the information and define the core problems. That helped us to create a problem statement which would guide us through the rest of the Design Thinking process. Even though this process is very user-centred, we still had to keep in mind the business needs. And juggle requirements set forward by other stakeholders within the company.

It is one of the many different challenges while working in a company that provides different products and services for their clients. For example, a big priority for the company is to move people to applications. We could spam customers with pop-ups and endless banners to download the app, but the experience for a first-time customer would be ruined. Why would they even download an app from a restaurant they haven't even tried the food yet?! So it was very important for us to filter the requests coming from within the company.

The problem statement

“Old web platform is not performing well due to the unmaintained code base, and an outdated interface that fails to incentivize customers to order and cannot guide them through the process.”

Working to define the problem
Working to define the problem

Stage 3 - Ideate

The main reason why the redesign was started for the website, was to allow for the development of a completely new back-end system. The project was put on a strict time constraint. (Ahh yes, who doesn’t love some time constraints..) We decided, because of that, we will keep the overall ordering flow the same. So we took the problem statement and ideated for short term and long term.

Short term ideas

In the short term, we were thinking of ways to improve the ordering speed, look and feel of the product to make the website more trustworthy. And of course to meet our KR­`s (Key Results) for the project - increase the conversion of first-time visitors (session to order), traffic to the ordering menu and maintain the opt-in rate.

Long term ideas

Of course, we still tried to “think outside the box” and look for alternative ways to incentivize potential customers to place an order, improve their ordering experience and make them want to come back and order again.

Preview of Trello board used for noting down ideas
Preview of Trello board used for noting down ideas

Store your ideas in a Trello board

We stored short and long term ideas in our Trello boards, devoting a list for each part of the website. This has been very helpful ever since, to always come back and check on the ideas we have had in the past, that would be very beneficial for our product in its current state or to satisfy some of the business needs.

Stage 4 - Prototype

After identifying the ideas we want to implement, it was time to create prototypes, a scaled-down version of the end product.

Forming a question

When it comes to prototyping, I like to use the mock-ups to form a question I want answers to. This way I can get insights on user behaviour, thinking and also start a conversation with potential customers. These conversations gave us a better understanding of how the customers would behave, think and feel when interacting with our product. It helped us a lot to design a landing page that would feel trustworthy and incentivize customers to place an order.

Snippet of a in-depth prototype creation
Snippet of a in-depth prototype creation

Stage 5 - Test

During the soft release of the product and after full release, the testing process began. In my opinion testing stage in the Design Thinking process is very similar to Checking stage in Lean UX methodology. (About that in the future article though) Where you can test the product both with using data and of course with user testing.

In house testing

Because the majority of people working in the company already knew how the ordering system works, we couldn't test the ordering flow, as they might be biased in their opinion, thinking that the flow is understandable... Of course you will understand the flow if you worked in the company and for the product for more than a couple of months. That's why we tested small UI details in-house, gathered opinions on the looks of the design and overall feedback from their experience.

Out in the field

Real testing came out in the field. We identified two of our main age groups. We looked out for people in the age group of 18 - 24 in universities and around popular attractions within the city. And people within 35 - 44 age group in local libraries and shops. We performed Gorilla testing on these people because most of them haven't been familiar with our ordering system, so that gave us a fresh look at our product. Which, in return, gave us more insights and possibilities to iterate on our problem solution, prototypes and final product.

When we created something that looks trustworthy, modern and easy to use, the outlook on the website changed and people started to pose different questions and concerns. Why would they order directly, why not from a food portal? We quickly learned that we had to really incentivise first time customers to order directly. So we had to jump back to empathizing with them and redefining the problem after the release of the website. And start focusing on discounts, special offers and reasons why they would order directly.

The result and conclusion

After the official release of the new website platform, we successfully increased ordering conversion rate by 4% points and increased the number of people that look at the restaurant menus. Applying Design Thinking process really allowed us to learn more about the market, company, customers and partners. As it is definitely not a linear process, until the official release, we were jumping around, in-between each stage.

I believe we did a good job with testing the old website and talking to customers, that helped us to really empathise with them. But when we were testing the prototypes and end product, the stage was different, they looked at a more polished product so their expectations and behaviour towards it changed, so again we learned new insights and had to move on to define and ideate based on the newly acquired knowledge.

Menu design for one of the partners (Bella Napoli Pizzeria - UK)
Menu design for one of the partners (Bella Napoli Pizzeria - UK)
Menu design for one of the partners (OliOli Denmark)
Menu design for one of the partners (OliOli Denmark)

Key takeaways

Design Thinking is definitely a process that's focused on collaboration between designers and customers. You empathise with potential customers and develop a product based on how real customers think, behave and feel.

Jumping between different stages made me see things in different perspectives, and dial my attention right down to the problem,  I would say that really helped me to learn about a market I haven't been familiar with and create a kick-ass product.