Situation

Tesco required a best-in-class e-commerce Android experience for its flagship Groceries app for the Hudl, to be designed alongside a suite of other apps. However, the Groceries build was in trouble; UX was substandard and it had a weak visual appeal.

Task

With months to go before launch, the prototype was not where it needed to be. I was handed a tough challenge: Embed with independent developers who led design previously and guide them to improve the quality of the experience.

Activity

While managing day-to-day expectations and requirements from the developers and Tesco, I addressed key interface and experience no-nos. I managed their off-site visual designer who supported me in getting the app to a higher level of quality.

The user experience

There were significant inconsistencies in the early build. Tesco asked me to identify these areas and address them.

For example, a key element, the basket was not fixed and would move along the action bar. Colours had been used naively, such as green to remove an item from the basket and greyed-out for active elements. Text size and contrast ratios were inconsistent and generally below the minimum for a mass market product. Touch targets were smaller than most users are comfortable with.

Balancing platform and brand in the details

Tesco was concerned that their brand had seemingly been de-prioritised in the interface. At the time I was leading product design on a number of Tesco apps, such as Store Finder (left). An example trade-off for Groceries was the colour of the action bar icons. An example image of grey icons in the then android guidelines had been interpreted as a commandment. Making the icon set blue represented a triple win: a clearly active state, a better contrast ratio and consistency with other Tesco apps.

Award-winning

The Groceries app was the flagship experience of what as later voted UK’s “best budget tablet 2013”. While not all users of the tablet will have done their shopping using that app, I like to think it perhaps contributed.

Also, while I don’t put too much importance on awards for Product Design (preferring to get validation from usage data and user testimonies) it later won a 2014 UK Mobile & App Design Award.