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Central Market

Identify the problems for Central Market to help users use the APP effectively & efficiently.


My Roles and Responsibilities

​As a UX researcher and the point of contact in the project, I executed all stages of usability testing from user research, competitive analysis to user interview and data collection, and to final analysis. 

  • Executing Heuristic Evaluation, Competitive Analysis

  • Recruiting Participant

  • Conducting User interviews

  • Collecting and Analyzing user data with team members

Team Members

Sean Willard, Yu-Hsuan Liu, Moonjeog Choi


Jan 2021 - May 2021


#About the client

Central Market

Central Market is an American gourmet grocery store chain owned by H-E-B Grocery Company based in San Antonio, Texas. Most locations also have a full-service kitchen, offer cooking and wine classes in their culinary school, and offer catering services.


Project Background

Central Market is certainly no slouch when it comes to fresh and specialty foods in Texas. Yet in the highly competitive market, the company wants to make sure its locations continue to stand out from other supermarkets. Therefore, the usability testing would be so crucial before launching the mobile app in the market.

What are the problems in the current APP?

Our Goal


Identify potential usability and design problems in the Central Market APP.


Analyze the issues to determine the causes.


Provide recommendations for improving the usability of the APP. 

Define the top tasks

First, we set up the testing goal which are Effectiveness, Efficiency, Satisfaction, Errors. Then, we identify and test the tasks that are critical to the application's success – we wanted all visitors to be able to perform these – and any elements expected to cause difficulty for the application visitors.

Therefore, our five top tasks are,

  1. Sign up / Login

  2. Find items

  3. Schedule the delivery

  4. Place the order in cart

  5. Checkout and payment 

Heuristic Evaluation

Jakob Nielsen's ten usability heuristics

We first measured the existing designs against Jakob Nielsen's ten usability heuristics for interface design which helps us discover and remediate usability issues that would otherwise bubble up in testing. Based on our analysis and top tasks, we divided the process into 5 categories in which each category contains multiple screens that serve a common purpose (e.g. Account setting). We started our evaluation on screens in each category.

Evaluation Result

Room for Improvement

- Out of 140 evaluations

percentage of CM.png
Positive Findings Summary
  • Consistency and standards

  • Recognition rather than recall

  • Help and documentation



  • Flexibility and efficiency of use

  • Error prevention

  • Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors



  • Aesthetic and minimalist design

  • Match between system and the real world



  • Visibility of system status

  • User control and freedom

Competitive Analysis

In order to deeply understand current market conditions, we conducted a competitive analysis across 5 direct competitors that target audience are similar and reputation are well-known around Austin and 1 indirect competitor is extremely famous in Seattle, which technology industry is also distributed around entire city.


We then created the following wireframes and the blueprint to our potential users for feedback.

TASK 1 - Sign up / Login

  • Can users browse the APP without login?

  • Are there more than 1 retailers on the APP?

  • How many ways can users sign up/login?

Screen Shot 2022-04-03 at 17.41.57.png
Sign up / Login

TASK 2 - Find Items

  • What are the features of searching functions?

  • Are there any coupons

  • Does the APP include wishlist function?


Task 3 - Schedule the delivery​

  • Are there many delivery date/time options for user to choose?

  • What’s the minimum prepare time for the competitors?

  • How much are the delivery fee & shopper fee?

Schedule the delivery

Task 4 - Place the order in cart

  • Can user modify the items in the cart?

  • Can user leave instructions / notes for the order?

  • Is there any substitute options / group order function?

Place the order in cart

Task 5 - Checkout and payment​

  • How many payment options?

  • Can user modify / cancel the order after placing the order?

Checkout and payment

Features present in

>70% of competitors


Features present in

<30% of competitors



  • User can browse the APP without login.

  • Filters in the searching result

  • Add-to-wishlist function

  • Several options of delivery time

  • User can leave notes for each product.


  • Barcode searching function

  • Text predictions in the search bar

  • Substitute option

  • User can modify items after placing the order.

  • User can cancel the order after placing the order.



  • Easy sign up method with email/AppleID/Facebook/Google.

  • User can create a group order.


  • Login with fingerprint / FaceID

  • Mobile will vibrate while editing ​items.

  • Free delivery fee option

  • Free shopper fee option

  • Payment option - Apple Pay & Paypal

The main take-aways

  • Easy access to browsing the APP (e.g.Easy Signup / No Signup) is important especially for user who doesn't have patience in going through too many steps to create an account.

  • It's better to have flexible delivery options. If users can’t manage delivery methods & time slots at check out process, they have to click to the previous page and that will make too many steps for users to achieve their goal.

  • Group orders is a way to increase purchasing power. By placing orders as a group, there will be likely an increase in sales that translates to volume-buying cost savings. 

Usability Testing - Initiating

Recruiting participants

We first used a survey to 1) help us narrow down our target user group and 2) quickly learn about the most important user needs and the pain points parents encounter when purchasing on the grocery applications.

According to the result of the survey, we finally decided to chose participants who has following characteristics:

  1. Various ages, HHI, and device preferences

  2. Unbiased towards either company

  3. Some experience using grocery delivery Apps

  4. Unfamiliar with Central Market or Amazon Whole Food APP


User Interview Session

In the interview session, we asked 9 participants to operate 8 tasks in 2 Apps (Central Market and the benchmark - Whole Foods Market). During the testing session, we asked users to articulate their thoughts as they proceed and observe their behavior. Also, we probe users about interaction problems between task attempts. After participants finished all the tasks, we asked them to provide feedback if there is any, and rate the experience of both APPs.


TASK M - Order a gallon of milk

TASK C - Order chicken thighs

TASK G - Order fresh ginger

TASK B - Order a loaf of French bread 

TASK P - Order unpopped popcorn (Optional)

TASK 6 - Review the cart

TASK 7 - Place the order

TASK 8 - Cancel the order​​

Usability Testing - Analysis

Insight from user behavior

  • ​88.89% of participants (8 of 9) prefer using searching function rather than only browsing the category. 

  • 44.45% of participants (4 of 9) said : After cancelling the order, they expected to see the order in the [Past Orders]. 

  • 33.33% of participants (3 of 9) said it would be better to notify customers via phone after they place/cancel the order.

  • 22.22% of participants (2 of 9) mentioned the screen was too sensitive to scroll down the page. 

  • No participants (0 of 9) used filter function on both grocery apps.

Here are our 3 measurements of the usability testing:

Screen Shot 2022-04-04 at 20.56.18.png

Overall analysis

Generally, the scores and preference rate of Central Market (CM) are better than Whole Foods Market (WF).


Success Rate - Consistent with % said easy

We can see some insights from the data on Task M, B, G, P. There are gaps between the data from Central Market and Whole Foods Market testing result. Most of participants successfully placed the order and cancelled the order, however, the easy rates on Whole Foods Market are not so high. 


SUS Distribution Graph

Screen Shot 2022-04-04 at 21.06.53.png
Screen Shot 2022-04-04 at 21.07.04.png

Moreover, which APP goes first would affect the SUS score.


For Central Market, if the app was used as the second app, the general user experience was better.
For Whole Foods Market, there was no trend in Whole Foods app regardless of the order of the apps..

Therefore, we can inferred that Central Market is relatively easier to use for most of users.

Task Analysis

My Learning

Craft a solid scenario and make the tasks realistic

The participant is adopting the role of the person in the scenario, so create a story narrative that will help the participant connect to your scenario. Creating good tasks are also essential to having results that produce accurate and actionable findings. Both of them we need to use "user language"- use a language, tone, and style the participant can relate to and understand.

Moderating a usability session Is an art

Moderator needs to remind participants as they accomplish the tasks to think aloud and to externalize their thoughts and feelings. Besides, the moderator should feel free to ask probing questions. Similarly, at the end of the session, the moderator has the opportunity to ask follow-up questions and ask participants to clarify what they did or said. How to speak, when to talk, and how to ask right answer are really crucial.


Avoid research bias

Research bias occurs when we consciously or unconsciously influence the results of the study to get a certain outcome. The purpose of the usability test is to observe real-life interactions between the participant and the system. This won’t be a pure observation if the participant has preconceived notions of how they should act or perform during the usability test so we need to analyze all the data, not only interpreting the feedback.

See my other projects

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