As part of the application for the KPCB Design Fellows program, I redesigned how DOORDASH can cater to people with food allergies. With this design, restaurants are branded as 'allergy-friendly' by DD users, users with food allergies can filter out non-allergy-friendly places, and DD collects data on local restaurants and their allergy-friendliness ($$).
Formative User Research
Sketches and Digital Wireframing
Mid-Fi Prototyping (Adobe XD :D)
Mobile UI Design
DOORDASH connects customers to local 'dashers' in the area that have signed up to pick up your food order from participating restaurants, and deliver it to your door. Within the app, customers have the option to briefly specify any "special instructions" to the restaurant, such as allergies or special requests. However, there is no guarantee that restaurants (and therefore chefs/food-preparers) will accommodate the customer's request.
As many as 15 million people in the US have some food allergy, including sensitivities to shellfish, tree nuts, melon, dairy, and gluten, among others. By empathizing with people with food allergies , DOORDASH can enhance its relationship with customers and redefine itself as an accommodating company.
I had never used DOORDASH before, so I first went to the Google Play Store to download the app to try it for myself. I stopped to take a look at some of the reviews to get an idea of some pain points. App reviews are a fantastic place to start looking for app issues, and therefore opportunities (especially for a redesign challenge!).
After spending a couple hours reading through the reviews, I was feeling pretty negative. Why? It's just other people's issues (and some were a bit comical too), not my own. In fact, it got me down to the point that I had to take a break. And, during that break, I came to the conclusion that this negativity I harnessed was in fact true empathy, and was the perfect energy to focus towards designing.
From the app reviews, I concluded three final insights:
Customers find it frustrating that the in-app tipping for the Dasher happens before the delivery is made. This makes it feel like they are required to tip in order to get a faster delivery.
There are no listed restaurant ratings or reviews within the app, which many customers use to decide on a restaurant. Of course there are other resources available elsewhere, but they prefer to have DOORDASH be a one-stop shop.
Many reviewers had horrible experiences of late drivers, no-shows, or even drivers that ate the food on the way to delivery, and delivered the half-eaten meal.
Overall, it seemed like DOORDASH was an unreliable service, but I wanted to find out for myself.
I was itching to try it out for myself. To be honest, I was hoping for a bad experience so that I could redesign it from a grounded perspective. But, the ordering and delivery went without problem. However, the moment I opened up my tacos, I had a (re)design epiphany. Although I ordered chicken tacos, I found a piece of shrimp sticking out from inside the first taco.
Now, as someone who isn't allergic to shellfish, this thankfully was not an issue for me. But, most people with food allergies would be absolutely livid about this. In fact, it reinforces why people with severe food allergies don't try new restaurants to begin with: they just can't trust restaurants to accommodate their allergic conditions.
And thus came my inspiration for the redesign challenge. I set out to sketch a few different solutions.
1st Round Design
My first design included a simple add-on to the list of categorized food genres. In addition to Korean, Indian, and Pizza (etc.), a new "Allergy Friendly" would be present. This would contain a selection of restaurants that would identify themselves as allergy friendly, ready for allergy-ridden users. When looking through a menu, users would also see icons indicating dishes that contained certain allergens.
I then interviewed a friend with severe food allergies, putting the design in front of her, and asking her how it might affect her dining-out behavior. From this interview, I gained some critical insight about the decisions that people with severe food allergies make when experimenting with eating out.
Going to a restaurant and telling a waiter/waitress about your food allergy is an option, but there are many times when the server forgets to tell the chef, or the chef can't do anything about it due to pre-prepared ingredients.
Of course restaurants will self-identify as allergy-friendly, especially if it potentially makes them more money. There needs to be a user-branded function instead, where DOORDASH users can see whether or not other DD users rated a restaurant as allergy-friendly.
For some reason, many restaurants just don't take allergies seriously (opinion of one interviewee).
"Seeing other people rate a restaurant's accommodation of food allergies would definitely make me want to use DOORDASH over UberEats, any day."
This DOORDASH redesign accomplishes three things.
- By asking if a restaurant accommodated a user's food allergy post hoc, DOORDASH can now collect data on how well local restaurants are doing to accommodate food allergies. This data can be used to feedback into the allergy-friendly categorization, as shown in the redesign, or in other ways, such as for revenue.
- Restaurants are branded as 'allergy-friendly' by user-generated data. Just as people use Yelp and other platforms for restaurant reviews, this social element immediately establishes trust between allergic-users and the 'allergy-friendly' categorization scheme.
- Providing a trustworthy service targeted to people with food allergies will undoubtedly increase the DD user population, pushing DOORDASH straight to the top.