Self-Order Or Order Here At Meet Fresh?
My Mini-Project in Observation for Springboard’s UX Career Track
My first choice for this project was to observe as people used the cake/drink kiosk at 85 Degree Bakery, but being that it was a Monday night, the place was completely dead so I decided to walk across the way and go to Meet Fresh, a Taiwanese dessert place within the same plaza. In this project, I observed the process of placing an order at Meet Fresh whether it be using the self-checkout machine or with the cashier.
Description of the object of interaction
At Meet Fresh, most of the orders are placed with the cashier at the front counter, but the dessert place decided to set up a self-checkout machine off to the left side of the counter. It gives the customers another option whether to wait and place their order with the cashier or do it themselves using the machine. On a Monday night around 9:30 pm, I sat down close to the self-checkout and observed as customers used the machine or place their order with the cashier.
My Top 3 Observations with Corresponding Insights
At first, when you enter Meet Fresh, the doorway if very close to the end of the line. Multiple people asked if I was in line right when I walked into the place. Since they have many items on their menu, there are a lot of places you can see the items: a menu on the left wall inside line, laminated menus for customers to grab, and a large menu above the checkout counter.
Feedback: Move the line away from the entrance/exit doors to create a smoother flow of traffic and remove the menu on the left wall that is within the line. Since it takes quite some time for customers to select what they want to order, the place can cut down items on the menu to reduce customer wait time. Most of the build-up was caused by customers not knowing what to order.
Visibility: There is signage directing customers where to order, “self-order” and “order here”, but right underneath the “self-order” sign, there is a water dispenser and the machine slightly to the left. This can cause confusion about where the self-checkout is located.
Constraints: The customers choosing their items from the menu on the left wall congested the line since the line passes by that area.
The majority of the customers placed their order with the cashier, but there were some that decided to use the self-checkout.
Feedback: I observed most people did not know about the self-checkout. To further highlight the 2 ways to order the place should have 2 lines: a designated line for the self-checkout and a line for the cashier.
Visibility: The self-checkout machine is small and placed off to the side. A lot of people might miss if they don’t know what they’re looking for.
Consistency: The use of the pager was consistent in both ways of ordering. The customer will get a pager either from the cashier or self-checkout.
The customers placing their orders with the cashier were more patient, conversing with the cashier, both asking questions about the order during the process (i.e. the cashier would clarify something about the order or vise versa as the cashier would adjust the order if necessary).
The customers I observed placing their order on the self-checkout machine were less engaged. The cashier also did not engage in conversation with the self-checkout customers or clarify anything about the order with the self-checkout customers.
The customers placing their orders with the cashier have more of a connection to the process and are able to ask for clarification from the cashier if needed. Since the self-checkout customers’ first interaction is with a digital device, they are less connected. Also, the cashier has less of a connection with the self-checkout customers in return because those customers go to a different area of the counter making it less likely for the cashier to speak with them upon arrival.