Q App is UK’s leading mobile ordering platform for hospitality, sports and entertainment venues. It was launched in 2013 with Nimble Mobile (my employer) as a founding partner.
I was responsible for the UX design of the mobile and tablet apps. I also managed production of the apps for the first 6 months. I have continued working on the UX of all subsequent features as the app platform has expanded to cater to the needs of its diverse range of partner venues.
The original brief was for a platform for placing orders at bars and cafes. Over time this has expanded to cater to the needs of venues like theatre, entertainment halls and football stadiums by offering flexibility with additional menu formats, delivery options and alternative views for staff.
Working with the founders, I researched the ordering process at our partner cafes and bars. We decided to implement a parallel ordering platform that would sit alongside their existing, proprietary POS and internal systems.
My role was to design the iOS and Android apps. The customer-facing mobile apps would allowing users to find participating venues, explore their menus and place an order. Meanwhile, a separate Android tablet app would receive and process orders in the kitchen.
During discussions with our trial partners, it became obvious that we would need to support a variety of menu structures and delivery processes. This flexibility was added into the brief and ended up becoming a differentiating feature for Q App against its competitors.
Menu options are particularly dense for bars. Tackling this complexity of choices helped organise navigation with a clear hierarchy.
I used visuals to anchor users to the current venue. As venues like to push promotional items, each menu node has optional quick order buttons.
Adding a variety of modifiers helps accommodate a range of menus. However moving payment to the top failed in user testing.
Extending the metaphor of kitchen order slips, I used cards to display orders in the kitchen. The codes tag customers to assist order delivery.
The tablet app has alternate setup views for time-critical venues (eg theatre, football), so multiple orders can be processed within a short time.
It’s been a great experience working alongside the founders to build up the startup. The app has done well against its competitors and received a MOMA commendation for Best Customer Facing App, beating ESPN and Vue Cinemas. It’s also been selected for the British pavilion at the Expo Milano 2015.
Due to budget and time constraints, some of the micro-interactions and tweaks had to be dropped and combined with an ageing design (prior to iOS 7) these have reduced some of the impact I had envisioned for the apps.
The hardest issue has been the tablet layout which works best on 4:3 screens but good hardware is hard to find as the Android market has settled for 16:9 screens. I’ve recommended switching to a portrait layout and this may be added to the future roadmap.