Screenshot of the Seamless homepage on desktop, January 2023.
Screenshot of Seamless homepage on desktop · January 2023

Seamless App

Hiring task, content exploration · October 2021

This is an exploration done as part of a hiring task. I was asked to analyze an app of my choosing, and explore how the microcopy might be improved and what next steps I would recommend if resources were available.

Who uses the app?

Seamless is used by a wide range of users, from students to executive-level professionals and in between. The attraction of apps like Seamless can be attributed to its position as an “app for everyone.”

On top of that, it makes searching for take-out food more convenient—whether the user is a “same thing every day” kind of person or a food experimenter. It’s also useful for professionals who “don’t have time” to go out and get food during the day, or for groups of people who may be bulk ordering.

Improving the microcopy

  1. Prompt to find a deal with Seamless’ Perk Program
  2. Search Input field, automatically set to the last place you were looking to deliver
  3. Horizontal scroll with options (the Perks show up again here)
  4. Attention-grabbing modal, that’s grammatically confusing. (Did I get free delivery?)
  5. Vertical scroll of cards for all restaurants in the user-identified area
  6. Menu (?) navigation bar (Perks, again!)
The assumed go-to action is to browse for food, but not everyone “just" browses for food. There may be users who know what they want but are paralyzed by bombardment of options on the screen. This is a paralyzing distraction. (After all, who among us hasn’t thought, “Oh, wait. Let me see if there’s something else that might be better.”) These competing elements require additional information processing and puts unnecessary cognitive load on the user.
Seamless app on Android (2021). On opening the app, the user is greeted with a call to action to "discover deals with Perks!", followed by the search input function, restaurant list, and the app's navigation menus.

App home screen

  1. Adjust the “intro” of the app to something more welcoming and quick (maybe even cheeky - which would match their marketing tone and characteristic).
What is this Perks thing? Is it a rewards program? Is something wrong with my account?

The original copy directing me to “discover” the Perks deals is counter to the objective of ordering food, and halts the momentum of ordering. You can even say it breaks a user's “concentration” of finding what they want to eat.

Rather than opening with the Perks feature, a simple greeting can act as a quick guide in the food adventure.
Top half of the Seamless app in android, showing the 'Discover perks' CTA, and suggestion for improvement underneath.

Searching and filtering

  1. Change the “Search” language to “Find food.”
  2. Remove the horizontal scroll, and just present the options to
    Pre-Order | Pickup | Deliver (in this order).
Thinking about the Seamless/Grubhub brand, their tone and characteristic is one of fun and joy. By adjusting the microcopy on something as simple as “search” to one that’s more in-line with the brand voice, it has the potential of making finding food fun, even adventurous.

The horizontal bar [3] is redundant. When considered as a whole, the most useful actions are the three steps for getting food.

The order of the actions also matter. To minimize the “reach” of a user’s finger. Assuming that “Delivery” is the most popular action, we’d want this to be on the right-most side of the screen (serving the larger population of right-handed people). An alternative option would be to present the Pickup/Delivery buttons together, with a less-emphasized “Pre-Order” option underneath the two main action items.
Seamless app on android, showing the search and filter input areas, and suggested copy improvements below it.

Clarity in Perks

  1. A total rewrite of the modal message.
[original text]
Congrats! You’ve unlocked $0 free delivery. Tap to use on your order!
[suggested text]
Sweet sauce! You’ve unlocked free delivery. Tap here to apply your reward.
Did I get free delivery? Or $0 credits towards free delivery? If it’s free delivery, why not just say “free delivery”? If I have $0 credits, why show me this message?

This is also a great place for brand-flavor in the copy to spice things up (ahem). Another additional consideration is a low-key call out for the Perks to see what other deals are available. While this might detract from my original intent of ordering food, it makes its first appearance at this point so the distraction isn’t as insidious as it is when it’s literally all over the app home screen.
Seamless app element on android showing a message banner, with suggested copy improvement.
Bottom navigation
  1. Adjust the app navigation menus to be more in-line with the act of searching and ordering for food, and improving the overall experience.
The original “Orders” implies, we can assume, order history and access to receipts but this doesn’t aid in the act of finding and ordering food. A better option would be to fold “Orders” into the “Account” page, and replace it with “Favorites.”

Seamless allows users to bookmark or flag their favorite restaurants. For those who like to eat from the same place all the time, this option would be a quick way to just get what they want.

There’s also the potential for Seamless to allow its users to favorite specific meals from across different restaurants. By doing that, the user can further optimize their searching and ordering based on established habits.

By grouping "Home” and “Favorites” together on the left, and “Perks” and “Account” on the right, we’re visually signaling distinct actions for the user. The left side is where you search for food, the right side is for seeing if you have discounts or something in your account.
Seamless app on android showing the bottom navigation bar, with suggested updates below it.

If I had the resources to keep going

  1. Propose user research to better understand users' reactions and thoughts to the presented information
I’d also want to look at any quantitative data to gauge effectiveness of current copy and explore (and test) ways to potentially increase certain desired outcomes from users.

Because of Seamless/Grubhub’s widespread use, I think most users have been conditioned to just accept the app in its current form. While the current app isn’t terrible, there are small but very impactful changes that could potentially make the overall food finding journey even better.
  1. While this isn’t as integral to the efficacy of the app itself, I might consider meeting with the marketing team or at least reviewing published advertising to get a sense of brand identity. Just because the copy is as small as the word “search” doesn’t mean it has to be disconnected from the overall brand identity.
  1. I’d also work with a UX designer to re-conceptualize the app’s home screen, particularly the scrolling of the restaurant cards
If I’m browsing to find something to eat, just the act of scrolling has the effect of choice paralysis (and a feeling of doom-scrolling). It makes me not want to eat.

I’d look at compartmentalizing the options into cuisines, and maybe even turning the ‘scroll’ to a 2-column, gridded card catalogue that a user then clicks into to further explore certain cuisines or categories of food.
  1. Another feature that’s missing that could potentially be useful is a map. How far is this restaurant from my location? What are the available restaurants in my immediate vicinity that I could easily pick-up food from if I don’t want delivery?
A map feature could definitely be useful here and keeps the user in the app (rather than pushing them to a separate app, forcing them to toggle back and forth).