Zest - Helping foodies ease the stress of choice overload
View prototype
10 weeks
Project Type
Bootcamp project
UX/UI Designer
UX Writer
UX Researcher
Tools Used
Foodies are overwhelmed with the abundance of choice.
As a fellow foodie, I enjoy trying new foods and local restaurants. However, it can sometimes be overwhelming with the number of options at our fingertips. With so many choices available, how can we be sure we’re making the right one? Feeling indecisive is a common occurrence in our daily lives, one that many people can relate to.
How might we make the act of deciding what food to eat a faster process, but ensure that people can still make the best informed decision possible?
Helping foodies alleviate the stress of deciding where to eat.
Restaurant details at a glance
  • Input your desired restaurants and pick specific details for a side-by-side comparison
  • Have all the information you need to make the right choice all in one place
  • Quick link to go straight to ordering
Putting your tastebuds to the test
  • Get rid of indecision quick by completing a quick-time activity showcasing delicious foods
  • A personalized recommendation based on your responses
Food sales back to pre-pandemic levels and more choice doesn’t equal greater satisfaction.
When doing research to dive deeper into the problem, I found two compelling insights: 

1. Food sales have returned to pre-pandemic levels, with sales in Canada for February 2022 growing to 5.38 billion dollars. (Statista)

2. According to a 2018 study, the more choices given, the greater increase in reward we feel. But the reward feeling decreases the more options there are as “the amount of effort required to evaluate the options increases.” (Sci-News)
From my interview findings, I targeted my focus in observing the problem through the lens of ordering takeout.
While my research was insightful, I wanted to dig deeper into the motivations and frustrations of foodies to truly understand the depth of this problem. I recruited 3 participants for a 30 minute interview that have a habit of dining in or ordering takeout at least 1x per week. From my interviews I discovered:
Bullet point 1
Participants described themselves to be very busy, with packed work/study schedules.
Bullet point 2
Participants preferred ordering takeout than dining in.
Since my findings revealed a strong preference for takeout, I narrowed my focus to observing food indecision from the lens of ordering takeout and their desired methods of ordering food. To get additional findings, I sent out a follow-up survey.
Takeout apps don’t always provide quality information to help decide on where to eat, so users must use additional resources.
After compiling my findings in an affinity map, 3 major themes and key insights stood out to me. I found that while there were lots of resources out there for users to explore food options, there wasn’t a single resource that could do it all. For my users with busy schedules, having to do a lengthy search cost time and energy they sometimes didn’t have.
Theme #1: Pictures. A lack of photos or use of stock photo-like images do not showcase the menu effectively and make it harder to make an informed decision. Quote: “Since we order takeout so much, you see the same photos used by different restaurants. I get frustrated looking at those pictures.”
Theme #2: ratings. On takeout apps, it’s hard to determine if reviews are genuine or find any reviews at all, resulting in having to access an additional app/resource to find quality, trusted reviews. Quote: “It’s hard for me to find reviews on certain delivery apps. I only see ratings. I wish the rating section is tappable so I can go read actual reviews.”
Theme #3: Cuisine. In the decision making process, cuisine type is the first thing users decide to help narrow down their options. Quote: “First we decide if we’re going to eat Chinese food, Japanese food etc. and then start to narrow down what restaurant we want to try.”
Identifying areas of design opportunity
To better visualize my findings, I created a user persona that I would routinely refer back to when making design decisions. This helped me keep my users’ needs at the front of mind.
user persona
Creating this experience map helped to identify any frustrating moments along the user journey and identify areas of design opportunity.
user persona
Creating my design solution
Taking UI inspiration from current apps in the market like Doordash, UberEats, Google Maps, I took note of specific UI elements to help inspire my designs. I wanted to keep users’ mental models in mind so that it’s as intuitive as it can be. After multiple sketch iterations, I translated my ideas into mid-fi grayscale wireframes to create my first prototype for user testing.
Gathering feedback for usability and flow
To test usability, I conducted two rounds of user testing with 5 users each round. Each tester was given a set of 5 tasks to complete and were evaluated based on the successful completion of each task. Ultimately, the feedback received helped to improve the usability of my app and to provide features that users will benefit more from.
Improving usability of the call-to-action button
The appearance of the button was modified as most users didn’t recognize it as an interactive feature.
Questionnaire results presented in a “Suggested Choice” page
After completing the questionnaire, users were taken to the suggested restaurant choice immediately based on their responses. Without explicit written and visual cues to show the result of the activity, all users felt lost.
Allowing users to order food
In my initial flow, users were able to confirm their restaurant of choice within the app. Based on user feedback, this step was unnecessary as they would most likely begin ordering food.
Attractive colour styles to target a gen-z/millennial audience
As I’ve discovered through my research, young people more commonly use online food ordering services compared to older age groups. Therefore, users in this age demographic (gen-z/millennials) would also be the most common users for my app as well. The colours and typography chosen reflect a playful, friendly and youthful feeling that would best appeal to my target users.
Continue to improve app features
Bullet point 1
Allow users to look up restaurants within the app
Currently, the app assumes that the user has done some preliminary search beforehand to figure out what restaurants they may want to try first. Perhaps expanding the flow to allow users to search for restaurants within the app itself would be an effective way to increase user engagement.
Bullet point 2
Continue to iterate on the restaurant comparison feature
To continue evolving and prioritizing the users’ needs, I want to do more research to improve the filtering system and subsequent content presented. Taking into account user feedback and insights, is there a way to improve the current system in place to make it more robust and effective to use?
Staying flexible and adaptable to change, perfection isn’t the end goal
Bullet point 1
Design isn’t a linear process
Conducting the end-to-end UX process has not only allowed me to practice and apply the theory I’ve learned, it’s given me the opportunity to see that design doesn’t follow a linear process. There will be pivots, redos, and new paths revealed. Staying adaptable, being receptive to change, and practicing a growth mindset are all key skills I’ve come to learn throughout this project.
Bullet point 2
Done is better than perfect
While this project was completed within a 10 week timeframe, I had to balance my work between other project deadlines that occurred simultaneously. Due to time constraints, I learned how to prioritize the work I needed to do to meet the deadlines set. While striving for perfect output is admirable, it’s an ambitious goal that would only work to serve against me. Recognizing that perfection isn’t the end goal, but completion has helped me to keep the work momentum going through these past 10 weeks.