Overview My Contribution Discovering the Opportunity Validating the Opportunity Framing the Solution Validating the Solution Developing the Solution Design Decisions

Innovating Food Ordering for Sheetz Customers

A CUI that allows customers to order from Sheetz in their cars

Duration: Sept. 2019 - Dec.2019

Role: Service, UX and Conversation Designer

Team: Akash Jatangi, Alice Li, Jared Trinkler, and Anna Yuan

Result: CUI and GUI Prototype


We designed an innovation that centers around using Conversational User Interface (CUI) for Sheetz customers to order while driving to reduce wait time

It's 8:50 in the morning, you suppose to be at your office in 10 minutes and yet you are driving fast on a highway in the hope of you won't be late. Once again, you skip your breakfast. The thought that spending 15 minutes in a convenience store waiting to order, to pay and to pick up scares you.

We designed a Conversational User Interface (CUI) for Sheetz customers to order from Sheetz while driving. The value of using CUI to order while you are driving is for both customers and the employee. For customers, it means no wait time. For Sheetz, it means that more customers are willing to purchase food at the store, which leads to increased revenue.

Watch our video demo here!

My Contribution

As part of a team of 5, I was a Product Designer. Some of my contributions are as below:

Discovering the Opportunity

Sheetz's Product-Service System is centered around its Made-To-Order Food

We began our process by conducting secondary research based on key information provided in the client presentation. We discovered that Sheetz is a suburban brand, its offerings centers around Made-to-Order (MTO) food and its customers drive to Sheetz to purchase.

Pain points: customers wait to order, pay and pick-up

After deciding to focus on MTO food, we took a field trip to Sheetz and observed 3 customers ordering food. Combined with secondary research, we mapped out a customer journey map that synthesized the pain points we discovered: it might take 20 minutes to complete an order during rush hours.

Validating the Opportunity

Is long wait time a problem worth solving?

What are the business impacts of reducing wait time? With these questions in mind, we conducted literature review, gathered online data and conducted case studies to understand the value of reducing wait-time.

Implication of literature review

Implication of online data

Implication of case studies

Framing the Solution

Ideate 20+ ideas on how to reduce wait time and land on the CUI idea

Inspired by literature review and case studies, we thought about 20+ ideas of how might we reduce the wait time.

We finally landed on the Conversational User Interface idea. Combining with other ideas, it can reduce wait time when selecting, ordering, paying and picking up.

Based on the validated problem and proposed solution, we identified the opportunity as below:

Leverage the rise of voice assistants and trend towards immediate fulfillment to stay ahead of the curve.

Use service blueprint to portray the desired future

In order to further conceptualize our idea, we created a service blueprint for the desired future to understand the changes in both front-end and back-end in our proposal. We received positive feedback from our client.

Validating the Solution

Drivers accepted the idea of ordering using CUI while driving very well

It seems like a bold idea. How do we know that customers also accept this idea?

We designed an experience prototype session to test our ideas: four students who know how to drive were asked to play a driving game while ordering from their favorite restaurant. The driving game meant to stimulate a real-life driving situation, as well as to provide a distraction. One member of the team played the CUI the participant is interacting with.

An affinity diagram shows us that people have high acceptability of ordering in-car using CUI and high expected efficiency of CUI.

Developing the Solution

An iterative process of prototype, test and learn

During the course period, we conducted two rounds of usability testings to evaluate the design decisions, but due to the limited time, usability issues remained. So after the course ended, I continued to improve on the design with 5 users.

Conversational User Interface (CUI) Design

In the experience prototyping session, I synthesized two conversation flows. I also built an Intent-Utterance-Slot mapping to catch people's intention while ordering.

We tested with 3 users by having them interacting with the CUI while they are in the car. The feedback we got mostly positive. One area of improvement was to add more personality into the bot.

What did I learn from usability testings?

I designed a Think Aloud protocol to test the effectiveness of GUI. Five key tasks are given to users:

  1. Reorder the same item from last Tuesday
  2. Add "the big mozz" (a type of hamburger) to your favorite
  3. Add "MTO burger" to your shopping bag and check out
  4. Set up CUI
  5. Use CUI to order

Design Decisions

Design Decisions

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