Nom

/ Product Design 

/ Visual Design

Overview

I joined the San Francisco-based startup Nom as a product designer to help develop their first product, Nom menu. Nom menu is an online menu accessible via a QR code that provides a comprehensive view of the menu for diners and an analytics platform for restaurants to better understand their diners' preferences.

Timeline

July 2020 — Present

Roles

Problem discovery and ideation, user research, interaction and experience design, prototyping, visual design, social media content creation

This video shows a brief walkthrough on using the Nom menu app to order from the restaurant Sun & Moon in San Francisco.

The Problem

With COVID-19, the paper menu has ultimately become obsolete. This presents a big challenge to small mom & pop shops that have not yet been tech-enabled, as they try to adapt to the new normal of conducting business through online transactions.

The need for social distancing also deepens the divide between restaurant owners and diners. When the physical ambience of a restaurant is stripped away from the diner, how would this affect the restaurant business and how can we enhance the dining experience?

Problem 1

How might we help local mom & pop restaurants adjust to contactless services in the age of COVID-19?

Problem 2

How can we improve the connection between restaurant owners and diners in the setting of COVID-19 and social distancing measures?

The Research Process

Interviews With Restaurant Owners

Over the course of several weekends, our team made trips to restaurants in the Bay Area to hear from the restaurant owners what they saw as concerns in regards to their existing menu model. We spoke to over 12 restaurants that were seriously affected by the pandemic, 3 of which had already implemented a QR code menu in the form of websites or pdfs. 

Our main takeaways from these interviews were:

  • Physical menus lead to high printing costs and increase in labor (to clean, sanitize)

  • Many have been thinking about adapting a QR code menu, but not sure which model

  • Those using a QR code menu are not fully satisfied with their menu linking to a pdf or website

Competitive Analysis

We also conducted an in-depth analysis on competitors who are building similar QR-code based menu apps to determine any similar visions and points of differentiation.

Personas

We devised restaurant and consumer personas to try to understand their needs, pain points, behaviors, and goals. We created:

  • 3 restaurant owner personas

  • 4 consumer personas

Insight 1

An online menu may likely become a necessity even after COVID-19.

There will be strict regulations in regards to menus even after indoor dining opens up. Considering the high cost of disposable menus, or the labor intensive task of disinfecting reusable menus, digital menus present restaurants with the best option.

Insight 2

Most restaurants lack the know-how to create digital menus on their own.

Most of the restaurants we shared conversations with do not have either the resources or expertise to craft high quality digital menus.

Insight 3

Consumers report poor engage-ment with current digital menus.

Consumers reported that they were not able to engage with the menu and visualize the dishes due to a lack of pictures, and available pictures on other platforms (such as Yelp, Google) are of low quality or not an accurate representation of the dish itself.

Defining Goals

Upon learning more about the users' pain points, I discovered some key design opportunities and goals for our product.

Goal 1

Enable restaurants to transition to a seamless online menu service that can easily be adjusted for future use.

Goal 2

Help consumers understand and engage with their food and the restaurant through a design-focused approach.

Design & Ideation

After identifying our main insights, I drew sketches and brainstormed divergent user journeys. I also led a brand sprint workshop to define our direction, our values, and mission statement.

Although I am unable to share many details about the process and solutions due to privacy reasons, I iterated on my wireframes based on 2 user testing periods and further iterated on prototypes with additional testing. We have created a feature roadmap to place our future features on a timeline for design and development. Our current goal is primarily to bring an added value to restaurants and enhance their understanding of and relationships with their customers.

Updates

We have recently launched our very first version of Nom with one restaurant in San Francisco. We will be gathering feedback and revising our product shortly, please stay tuned!

For more information, please contact me at seohomoon@gmail.com

 © Sofia Moon 2020 

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