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Grocery 11.jpg

Grocery Get-ter

Challenge:  Grocery shopping is a common and familiar chore, but the process of grocery shopping can present itself differently for various people and households. This domain area has plenty of untapped opportunities and is rapidly evolving (especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic during which this project was completed).

My role:  UX Researcher/Designer

The Team:  3 UX Researchers/Designers

The Timeline:  3-4 months (with 2-4 weeks of field research)


The problem:  Grocery shopping is common but not well-understood. There are several approaches to all aspects of the chore throughout the entire process, such as planning meals, making lists, shopping strategies, paying methods, etc.

The solution:  Research common obstacles throughout the grocery shopping process, and identify underserved challenges to create a familiar product with new features.

User Pain Points

  • Lack of support for all aspects and steps of the experience

  • Need several apps for the same (shopping) activity

  • Collaboration within the household can be difficult

  • Shopping at several stores/locations

Solution Values

  • Focus on capabilities not available using other apps

  • Maintain features and functions common on other apps

  • Provide functionality for all stages of the activity

  • Support for multiple store/locations, household collaboration, and integrations

Design Process

Design Thinking - Nielsen Norman Group (Part 1).png

My Role

Reviewed and reflected on personal experience with the activity and features of a competitor's application. Researched the grocery shopping experience from start to finish, through interviews and contextual inquires. Defined the problem space for a future application. Collaborated to analyze the research findings using an affinity diagram, and proposed condensing the diagram. Helped highlight points to include in the persona and journey map, and developed a flow model to support these other models. Analyzed insights of and deduced application requirements using the models generated from the research findings. 

Deliverables included:

  • Reflection on Personal Experience (informal)

  • Review of Competitor's Platform (informal)

  • Field Research

  • Affinity Diagram

  • Persona

  • Journey Map

  • Work/Activity Model (Flow)

  • Requirements Establishment

  • Visions

  • Product Concepts

  • Storyboard

Field Research

Contextual Inquiries

Focus:  Actual shopping trip experience with questions about their before and after shopping process. Observed behaviors and verbalizations were equally important. (Notes included all aspects of trip:  what, where, when, how, why, etc.)

In-Person Interviews

Focus:  Semi-structured interviews about a recent shopping trip experience. Questions included actions and behaviors before, during, and after shopping process. (Notes included responses and interviewer notes about nonverbal behaviors, e.g. tone.)


  1. Transcribed direct quotes, attitudes, and other notes

  2. Recognize and group common themes and topics

  3. Organize themes and topics & identify insights

Key Insights from Research

  1. Experience is more of a before, during, and after process, where some steps can be skipped. 

  2. Different for everyone, but tends to be two primary, conflicting methods with each aspect.

  3. People other than the actual shopper often have some sort of influence.

(Condensed) Midterm Project - Affinity Diagram.jpeg

A subset of the affinity diagram.

Insights from Affinity Diagram

  1. Separating the process into three stages highlights the issues that occur at each stage. 

  2. Most steps had at least two methods, such as:  medium of the list, process of making the list, route chosen while in-store, checkout preferences, and even bagging.   ​​

  3. Some steps were better handled electronically (e.g., coupons and payment), but participants preferred other steps to be physical (e.g., produce and meat shopping). 

  4. The most common frequency for the shopping experience was one week, but the frequency was generally between 0.5 and 2 times per week. 

  5. Impulse shopping was most common when shopping in-store. 

  6. There were several reasons for store selection, including convenience and distance, but participants tended to shop at different stores.

Persona & Models

Grocery Shopping - Flow (Collaboration) Model.jpg


Erica embodies elements of the data from participants, such as:

  • Millennial but doesn't utilize technology in the activity

  • Will incorporate technology if practical for quick weekly trips

  • Primary store's app is not downloaded, as it adds no value to the trip

  • Often makes the same things and buys similar items each week

  • Frequent items create a path through the store to get through the list quickly

  • Views grocery shopping as a necessary task rather than a positive experience

Journey Map

Scenario/expectations:  These provided more data about the research findings and were derived from the raw data, affinity diagram, and persona. 

Actions:  Preparing a shopping list, driving the shortest route to the store, looking at the Notes app for the shopping list, picking up items, and checking out via the self-checkout.


Reading the map:  Thoughts are reflected in thought bubbles, and emotions are reflected by lines that go up (positive) or down (negative). The opportunities are the insights gained.

Flow Model

Stakeholders:  The stakeholders involved took two forms:  person and object. Regardless of the type, both had influential roles in the process. 

Flow:  Arrows represented the primary actions and tasks that occur between the stakeholders, including objects informing people (e.g., parts of the kitchen that inform the primary shopper about what needs to be on their list). This model also accounts for the influence of a secondary person (or shopper) on the primary shopper; this secondary shopper may be present or not during the grocery shopping experience.

Erica's Journey Map.jpeg
Persona - Erica.png


  1. Provide users with a digital shopping list, including creating, editing, and deleting lists.

  2. Suggest the most efficient path to navigate to specific items or areas within the store.

  3. View information about sale items before and during the shopping trip.

  4. Exist as store-agnostic and integrated with the shopping process.

  5. Support collaboration among shoppers by allowing multiple users to access real-time information for the same shopping trip from separate devices.

  6. Improve the checkout experience by shortening wait time in checkout lines.

  7. Track commonly bought items and suggest these items when creating grocery lists.

  8. Integrate recipes and meal plans in order to quickly add ingredients to a list.


Vision 1 (left) focuses on the following pieces of data:

  • allowing a secondary shopper to help with the grocery shopping, especially compiling a grocery list 

  • the ability add ingredients to a list based on planned recipes for the week

  • easily search and add sale items to the list

  • shopping at multiple stores/optional to choose a store

Vision 2 (right) focuses on the following pieces of data:

  • the ability add ingredients to a list based on planned recipes for the week

  • identifying an efficiency route for quickness and ease of shopping (two possible ways:  (1) the actual mapped out pathway and (2) the list with section where the item is located

  • suggesting of most commonly purchased items to add to the list

  • downloadable information (although offline-mode was not a requirement from the data, a participant did express frustration with network connection

Product Concepts

Product Concept 2.jpg
Product Concept 1.jpg

                         Smart Shopping List


Incorporates:  coupons, sale items, frequently purchased items

Features:  easy quantity adjustment, quick removal of items

Arrow Icon (Edit).png

Recipe Integrator                         


Incorporates:  adding ingredients, quick view of list, cross-check of list items and ingredients

Features:  recipe recommendations, recipe details

Arrow Icon (Edit).png


Storyboard (Updated)_edited.jpg

The storyboard follows the user as they create and use a grocery list.


  1. User checks environment (cabinets or pantry) for needed items

  2. User searches for recipes to cook during the week and adds ingredients to list

  3. User checks current sale items:  how much and where

  4. User can downloads list and efficiency route for offline viewing

  5. User views efficiency route for moving through the store quickly (items are ordered first to last based on their location/section in the store)

  6. User "checks" items off list (can be done while shopping, but not shown here)

User Environment Design

Shows the steps and functions of each component and how the components interact. Arrows represent the influence of one feature or component on another. 

Components highlighted:

  • Recipe Integrator

  • Smart Shopping List

  • Sale Items (by store)

  • Efficiency Route

Although each component may have several pages or pop-ups in a final, high-level design, this UED provides a general sense of how the main feature will function and react to each other within the design..

User Environment Design (UED).jpg
Vision Sketch 2.jpg
Vision Sketch 1.jpg
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