Grant Hao-Wei Lin

I like to take on design challenges on my own time to exercise how I think about products and how I can improve or build on top of them. This OpenTable project was my attempt to redesign a less familiar product back in December 2016.

OpenTable Server Review

The challenge was to create a review system for service providers within 3-4 hours (a Saturday afternoon for me) that was non-existent at the time of the project.

Key Screen for Server Review

OpenTable, as well as similar products in the market, did not allow a customer to leave specific reviews for individual servers (waiter).  I wanted to think of a way that seamlessly incorporates this new feature into the existing UX flow.

Designing for a feature in an established app like OpenTable would usually require consideration of all the business decisions, OKRs, and developmental constraints. However, since this was a personal project, I only focused on the UX.

The Challenge

Defining the Scope

More Projects

Based on the people I talked to, I consolidated 2 simple personas to capture the two types of users I ended up designing for

Understanding the existing OpenTable interactions

New to the app, I tried to spend about an hour drawing out the existing flow of the application. I paid particularly close attention to how the feedback/review system was implemented for businesses and looked for opportunities for changes and improvements.

Results

The Challenge

OpenTable, as well as similar products in the market, did not allow a customer to leave specific reviews for individual servers (waiter).  I wanted to think of a way that seamlessly incorporates this new feature into the existing UX flow.

Defining the Scope

Designing for a feature in an established app like OpenTable would usually require consideration of all the business decisions, OKRs, and developmental constraints. However, since this was a personal project, I only focused on the UX.

Key Findings

  1. The feedback system was implemented both within the app and directly within automated emails.

  2. There was a 50 characters minimum for reviews

  3. The review system was only available when a reservation was made

  4. The noise level was one of the metrics

Other Questions

  1. How important was the quality of the waiter in the user’s decision-making in deciding on a restaurant to go to?

  2. How did information affect customers’ decision-making for booking?

  3. Did the quality/validity of the reviews themselves make a difference?

  4. For users who were familiar with the OpenTable review system, when were they most likely to leave their reviews?

  5. What attributes made a server a good server?

Research

The big question that I really wanted to understand from users was whether the servers' performance affected people's willingness to book a restaurant. From the 10 people I had a short in-person and online chat with (5 male-identified and 5 female-identified users from 18-25 y/o), I gathered the following findings:

  1. For most interviewees, seeing negative reviews about the service (“the server was rude”, “we have been ready to order for 20 minutes and they did not bother to check on us”) wouldn’t be a deal breaker for them when deciding whether or not they want to book a place.

  2. About half of the interviewees did mention instances where good service seemed to be a driving factor for booking a reservation when asked about a recent experience booking a restaurant (through apps, phone calls, or in-person appointments)

Research

The big question that I really wanted to understand from users was whether the servers' performance affected people's willingness to book a restaurant. From the 10 people I had a short in-person and online chat with (5 male-identified and 5 female-identified users from 18-25 y/o), I gathered the following findings:

  1. For most interviewees, seeing negative reviews about the service (“the server was rude”, “we have been ready to order for 20 minutes and they did not bother to check on us”) wouldn’t be a deal breaker for them when deciding whether or not they want to book a place.

  2. About half of the interviewees did mention instances where good service seemed to be a driving factor for booking a reservation when asked about a recent experience booking a restaurant (through apps, phone calls, or in-person appointments)

Objective

To create easy and non-intrusive experience for customers to choose business establishments based on server reviews

Strategy

By designing interface & notifications that encourage users to think back on their restaurant experience and leave honest reviews

Objective

To create easy and non-intrusive experience for customers to choose business establishments based on server reviews

Strategy

By designing interface & notifications that encourage users to think back on their restaurant experience and leave honest reviews

Post Mortem

While it would be cool to put this interface to the test. Here are a few concluding notes:

 

  1. Features like reviews for servers can potentially be a little bit more hidden to align with the original intention of being “non-intrusive”

  2. More interviews and use cases can uncover the server’s characteristics— what’s important to the customer

  3. There are still a lot of opportunities to explore different user journeys and touchpoints where users would be required to recall information they have about the servers.

  4. The minimum requirement for servers' review should probably be less than 100 characters.

While it would be cool to put this interface to the test. Here are a few concluding notes:

Post Mortem

1. Features like reviews for servers can potentially be a little bit more hidden to align with the original intention of being “non-intrusive”

2. More interviews and use cases can uncover the server’s characteristics— what’s important to the customer

3. There are still a lot of opportunities to explore different user journeys and touchpoints where users would be required to recall information they have about the servers.

4. The minimum requirement for servers' review should probably be less than 100 characters.