Evaluating Meal Delivery Experiences

Design Evaluation (UX) - Fall 2021 Partnered Academic Project

Planted Meals mobile site elements in rows and columns

Overview and Role

Partnering with Planted Meals, they requested we evaluate a new design for their website and ordering process.

My role was to conduct a heuristic evaluation and design, then conduct the observational study.


Conduct a design evaluation with a partner company. Work with them to complete an evaluation that fits their needs.


A heuristic evaluation and an observational study to test the website's usability.


Heuristic Evaluator

User Study Researcher


Raymond Co

Sebastian W.

Adrian F.

Ethan M.




5 Weeks (2021)



Skip to Results


When we first contacted Planted Meals, a vegan meal delivery service, they had been working on redesigning their website. They wanted insights on the new design regarding usability concerns and what kind of personality it gave off.

We decided that a heuristic evaluation and an observational study would be most comprehensive in the short allotted time frame of 5 weeks. While a controlled study was considered, early studies revealed that we would be able to garner more data with a less controlled, observational study.

My role was to complete an individual heuristic evaluation and lead, then conduct the observational study.

Research Questions

Research questions used to guide our study.

Planted Meals' current and new mobile website screens

Current Site on left, redesigns on right (designs by Planted Meals).

Heuristic Evaluation

The heuristic evaluation was used to gauge the usability of the new ordering process using Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics.


We individually performed a heuristic evaluation based on a task for an intended user, a vegan who worked from home and was often too busy to make their own meals.

The task was to: Make a ‘One Time Purchase’ of two Kale Caesar Salads, and one chocolate chip cookie to your cart. On the order confirmation page, add a Chickpea Smash Jar.

Observational Study

I led the design of the observational study which compared the current and new mobile websites and was designed to analyze personality and usability, addressing Planted Meals' initial requests


Most studies were conducted remotely, as such, Google Forms was used to guide participants through tasks. A pre-study questionnaire helped us understand participants' demographics and familiarity with food ordering platforms.

They completed four tasks and were asked to think aloud their thoughts so we could better understand their actions and when necessary, to elaborate on their thoughts:

The mobile device was screen and audio recorded for the purpose of further analysis. The post-study questionnaire asked participants questions regarding the sites’ personality and usability.


As the new designs were currently only responsive for mobile, the study was conducted for that size.

Heuristic Evaluation Limitations

Observational Study Limitations


Heuristic Evaluation

From my individual heuristic evaluation, the notable issues I found were:

Close-up of the frequently bought section on Planted Meals site

Heuristic: Minimize Memory Load

No prices shown within the "Frequently Bought Together" section

Close-up of the adjusting order quantity on Planted Meals site

Heuristic: Consistency

Gray colours are used when the buttons are meant to be clickable

Close-up of the ordering steps on Planted Meals site

Heuristic: Provide Clear Exits, Provide Shortcuts

In the order process, users cannot easily jump to different steps

Affinity Diagraming

Triangulating data from the Heuristic Evaluation and Observational Study, we used Affinity Diagramming to group data through several layers of categorizing before summarizing and analyzing the results.

Affinity diagram on observational study on Planted Meals

First Affinity Diagram: Uncategorized Issues (new design on the right).

Affinity diagram on observational study on Planted Meals

Fourth Affinity Diagram: Unified issues to those still outstanding.

Revisiting Research Questions

1. How do users feel about the personality of each site?

The majority of participants liked the new website, citing a clear brand identity, with improved colours and layout.

Home page of Planted Meals

2. Are there usability issues in the ordering process and other pages of the website?

While users generally found the redesigned website easy to navigate, there were a few areas of concern.

Unclear Design

Missing Information

Missing prices on menu and Review Order page of Planted Meals


An early challenge we faced was that we did not have access to recruit existing Planted Meals' vegan customers and used external participants.

While 5 weeks was fine for the scope of the project, with more time I would have recruited a larger number of participants. They could then be grouped into separate groups such as experts and non-experts, which would have yielded more extensive results in the usability testing.


At the end of the term, we presented our study to Planted Meals and received positive feedback. We sent them our report detailing all issues encountered and they noted that they would take our recommendations into account as they continued working on their redesign.