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ITC504 Interface Useability

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  • Course Code: ITC504
  • University: Charles Sturt University
  • Country: Australia

Question:

Local Farm Shop Case Study

A local farm shop needs to design a mobile app for their customers to provide online services and to expand their market. Their main products categories are food, gifts and wine. In addition to seeling farm products they run a small restaurant and provide catering as well. The customers can also book their restaurant for small functions like birthday parties. It can accommodate a maximum of 50 guests. Currently, they cater only the local customers and they expect to expand their business by introducing a mobile app. At this stage they expect to trial with only private customers, not the corporate customers.

Below is a description of the mobile app to be designed. The mobile app design should include drawings done using a pencil/mock-up application to perform the below functionalities by the users:

  1. Register themselves in the system with their personal details including contact details and address (residential and postal). Also, allow them to update their details.
  2. View loyalty discount details, special offers, etc.
  3. View product categories.  
  4. Search for products.
  5. View individual products.
  6. Order products by adding products to the shopping card. At this time the customers are allowed to register themselves (or if already registered update their contact/delivery details) and to make payments by a credit card.
  7. View location details.
  8. View facilities including the restaurant.
  9. Book the restaurant for a party.
  10. Login/logout

The farm owner expects to provide a highly useable app with an excellent navigation and useability features so that more customers attracted to the online farm shop. The farm owner has commissioned you to design this mobile app and evaluate the useability of it initially with few users or by experts. If the initial design is successful, they expect it to be implemented and roll out to the public.

 

Answer:

About the Applicaiton

The application interface that has been developed here is for a local farm shop. They run a store and also a local restaurant. The local farm shop demands to design a mobile application for their customers through which they can cater online services and concurrently expand their market. Their main products include food, wine and gifts. Apart from to selling farm products, they also run a small restaurant. The customers will be allowed to book the restaurant for small birthday parties and so on. It is therefore expected that the mobile application would help to them expand their business locally, and assist them with a leading edge ahead of their competitors (Kourouthanassis & Giaglis).

The Interface Designs

 

Fig 1 Home Page

 

Fig 2 Navigation Menu

 

Fig 3 Sign Up Page

 

Fig 4 Login Page

 

Fig 5 Store Page

 

Fig 6 Cart Page

 

Fig 7 Payment Page

 

Fig 8 Restaurant Page

 

Fig 9 Party Book Date/Time picker

 

Fig 10 Contact/Find Us Page

 

Choice of Design and Activity Description

The application is meant to have 9 specific pages or activities, each having particular responsibility. The Home page as it can be seen in the Fig 1 above, is significantly the landing page of the application. The home page provides the basic details about the company and the application. The home page also assists the user to peep into the offers section. The offers section would lead the user to the specific products, on clicking. The small menu buttons guides the user into the store or the restaurant page of the application, from the home screen. This page offers quite a handsome information to enlighten any visitor about the parts and participles of the farm app and their services.

As it can be seen in fig 2, the navigational menu has been coupled into one small navigation icon on the top-right corner of the screen. On clicking this icon, the navigational menu drops down, from where the visitor can navigate to any page within the application. This offers a versatility to the application and is certainly one of the most important factors of this design. The reason behind making this design choice shall be discussed in a later section of the report.

On clicking the Login icon on the top menu bar, the user will be directed to the login page, where he or she can enter a valid registered username and password and login to the system. However, if the user is not registered to the application, he can opt to choose the “Not a member yet?” icon and get directed to the Sign Up page. Here the user will be asked to enter his or her personal details and also would be required to create a password for security login purposes. The login and the sign-Up page can be referred to from fig 3 and 4 respectively.

The Store Page in fig 5 allows user to browse the various product-based services that the farm-shop offers. This ranges from a wide range of food items to wine and gifts. The user can navigate between these sections within the store page, just by clicking on the respective sub-menu buttons. The respective products available under each category would be visible in a scrollable area, below. The customer may choose to add one or more of these items to the cart by switching between categories and finally press the checkout button to view the cart status.

Fig 6 shows a gist view of the cart page. All items added by the customer will be visible here with an option to remove items from the cart. In addition, the users will have to login (if they are not already logged in) before proceeding to checkout with payment.

The payment page shown in the interface designs only highlight the card payment screen. The business may also offer their customers with the option for Cash on Delivery or other payment option.

For the restaurant services, the application allows the customers to book tables directly using the application by choosing the number of tables to be booked, the date and the time. Also can the customer opt to book the restaurant for a complete day in order to celebrate a party.

The last image shows the contacts page with the contact details and the links to the social media handles. The Find Us section can also be found in this page with a google map like interface.

Design Decisions

It can be clearly seen from the designs that one of the main aims was to utilize every available screen space, keeping in mind the golden rules of design. The 8 golden rules of interface or UX design clearly mention that a design must comprehend the ability of constant navigation between the most important pages within the environment. The icon-based navigation menu fulfils this criteria. In addition, it averts the need for a fully laid out navigation bar which would have otherwise taken up a lot of place (Neil, 2014).

The brand logo, search option, the login and the cart status option is visible in every page in the menu bar on the tab. This allows the users to access the most important tools or options whenever they prefer to. As per the Shneiderman's rules, in order to maintain consistence in design, the same menu bar layout have been used in all the pages alongside a similar image and font style and size (Mazumder & Das, 2014). This allows the users to stay connected to the application instead of bottling them off with confusing option layouts on every other page.

The back button has been discarded from the UI so as to encourage the use of the device back button. This saved up space for using other buttons. On a mobile device, it is necessary to present the user with all important options at their fingertip on a small screen, which demanded the back button to be discarded and in return persuade the user to use the system button. The presence of the price tags and the removal button on the cart page would allow the users to remove items depending on their net costing, at the last moment of checkout. This design choice helped to keep the user from returning back to the store page for editing the cart.

Finally, the date-time picker and the map options can be highlighted. These could have been achieved via simple text tabs or native interface options, but the external API based look and feel adds to the design. The map points two types of locations, the red and the large one denotes the Store and the black pointer, the restaurant. This allows the customers to easily reach the company. The phone number and the social media handles would also allow them to share reviews or concerns with the company. This too was crucial design implementation. One last concern that the design was meant to serve was that certain elements within the application were designed in relatively larger visuals, so as to server the visually impaired of older adults (de Barros, Leitão, & Ribeiro, 2014).

 

References

de Barros, A. C., Leitão, R., & Ribeiro, J. (2014). Design and evaluation of a mobile user interface for older adults: navigation, interaction and visual design recommendations. Procedia Computer Science, 27, 369-378.

Kourouthanassis, P. E., & Giaglis, G. M. (2012). Introduction to the special issue mobile commerce: the past, present, and future of mobile commerce research. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 16(4), 5-18.

Mazumder, F. K., & Das, U. (2014). Usability guidelines for usable user interface. International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology, 3(9), 79-82.

Neil, T. (2014). Mobile design pattern gallery: UI patterns for smartphone apps. " O'Reilly Media, Inc.".

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