Spork App

Spork is an iOS app that gives users the opportunity to instantly discover a variety of nearby restaurants.

the app allows users to share, favorite, rate, list and sort promotions to manage their experience.


After the initial download the app failed to engage its users.

Spork users have a very straight forward task to achieve: find nearby restaurant deals and arrive to the location to redeem a coupon within a limited amount of time. We needed to make sure that potential users could achieve this task effortlessly, and if not, find out why not.

The Method

Running Usability Testings & Rapid Prototyping we wanted to identify in the app a variety of usability principles

Usability principles such as learnability, efficiency, memorability, and satisfaction, among others in order to find hindrances when completing the aforementioned task. The logic behind this is that there are several components and characteristics that an app must have so that users can complete the task at hand.

The best insight is often times garnered by observing the users interact with the app.

We assigned users five specific tasks
  1. What is the app about?
  2. Access the app
  3. Find a food option
  4. Choose a food option
  5. Redeem a promotion.

Rapid Paper Prototyping

We analysed our findings from the initial usability test using the current app. Based off of the findings, paper sketches of early redesign ideas were created and usability tested for a second time. This allowed us to validate the context and real environment of the redesigned Spork app by observing the users perform the desired task for a very low cost.

The UX Findings

  1. Users need a clear introduction to Spock’s functionality.
  2. Users need to go step by step when activating a Spork.
  3. It is vital to have a final confirmation about what to do once the Spork is activated.

We therefore generated three task-flows for Spork’s new iteration.

The UI Solution

Tutorial Onboarding Process

The original Spork icons and general interface didn’t provide sufficient information and left users wondering about its functionality. To resolve this issue we created a tutorial that introduces Spork to first-time users. The tutorial is the first thing first-time users see, but users have the control to skip the tutorial if desired. If selected, the tutorial highlights the three key steps in the Spork process: 1) a brief description of how the real-time promotions work, 2) how to view a promotion in detail and activate the Spork, and 3) how to redeem the Spork.

Activating the Spork

With the original design, directly tapping the Spork option on the map immediately activated the promotion. This caused confusion among users. We recommended using Progressive Disclosure instead, which consists of showing information little by little, revealing just the right amount of information required for each task at hand.

The process was redesigned to three steps: 1) Login, 2) view all Sporks on a map and select for more information, 3) make a choice and consciously activate the Spork. This three step process prevents anxiety during task completion and ensures that users understand the entire process and are able to move through the task flow seamlessly.

Additionally, we recommended replacing the small spork icons with nice, big buttons that display clear affordance. The new screen design better explains what the Spork of interest is, its availability and more information about the restaurant in order to help the user select a Spork.

Redeeming the Spork

Users were unsure of how to redeem their Sporks. The simplest solution was to add a confirmation screen using straightforward language that directs the users on what to do next. The confirmation screen also allows the user to cancel the Spork if desired.

Spork’s redemption time is limited. The final confirmation screen displays a countdown as well as a LET’S GO button that provides walking or driving directions. This makes it clear to the user that he must arrive to the venue within a certain timeframe and present the exclusive promotion using a digital coupon (we suggest using skeuomorphism properties) in order to redeem the Spork.

The Take Aways

Applications are built for users and therefore users must be taken into consideration every step of the way. Usability tests enable us to detect and address critical errors that can be easily translated into usability improvements.

  1. Use fast and low cost design research methods to discover real user’s insights. Ideally this is done in the early stages of development but we encourage you to iterate all throughout the app’s lifecycle.
  2. Progressive Disclosure is basic yet imperative design that is easy to overlook but should almost always be taken into consideration.
  3. Affordance of the elements is a fun and useful way to design an intuitive interface that will take your user experience to the next level.

It is more than possible to discover and correct usability problems without wasting resources and implementing a product that wouldn’t work otherwise.



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