Athena Grill


Athena Grill is an Ipad application that was created for a chain of restaurants.

So how does the App work? A customer selects their meal from a stationary iPad menu on the counter of a casual to fast-food restaurant. The order is then placed via the touch-screen interface and is sent electronically to the kitchen to be prepared.

I used the following User Experience design principles in this project:

Business model

Athena Greek Grill serves imaginative, contemporary fare with an emphasis on healthy and organic ingredients that come from local farmers in the area. Our cuisine is fresh, made-to-order and adds a creative twist to Greek cuisine.

The Athena Greek Grill App for iPad features:

• Self-service, build-your-own meal

• Intuitive touch screens

• Images and titles for menu items

• Nutrition, allergy information and ingredients for menu items • Customizable dining options


Some of the questions used to develop the personas:

• What is most important element for you when you look at a menu?

• How would you feel about ordering your food on an iPad?

• What are your likes and dislikes during the food ordering process?

• What are some suggestions you have to improve your food ordering experiences?

• Are there any cool experiences you would like to have during your food ordering process?

Competitive Analysis

Examining the competitors took place on three levels:

• Comparing restaurants similar in price point

• Comparing Greek restaurant menus with build-as-you-go style ordering

• Field research of touch-screen ordering interface at a restaurant and a casino

Card sort results

Over 20 respondents organized the food into several categories via the online card sorting resource. I further refined the cart sorting results in to a usable site map.

Taxonomy & Sitemap

Sketching the interface – horizontal or vertical?

Test the user – what I need to learn

Answer these questions during the usability test:

• Can the participant easily get started in the process and navigate the menu?

• Does the participant struggle to choose food options he/she likes?

• Is the payment process simple regardless of a person’s age or iPad experience? • Is the experience pleasant and desirable?

• Would the person enjoy ordering a meal this way?

Usability test – research objectives

• Test the user’s ability to perform common tasks on the iPad

• Draw from a sample participants from different genders, ages, financial backgrounds, ethnic makeup and Internet savviness

• Observe participant’s actions, reactions, confusion, struggles and pain points during key tasks

• Listen to dialog about each success or failure in the interaction and implement where possible • Record each user’s audio commentary and summarize actions in notes

Usability test – logistics

• Test at the participant’s house, public places or a coffee shop

• First sketched paper prototypes, then computer-generated paper prototype • Record each session with the permission of the participant

• Note non-verbal reactions and clues immediately following the interview

Testing users with sketched paper prototypes

I tested users with sketched paper prototypes. I learned several lessons about “ease of use” from the users:

• Reduce choices on home screen

• Update menu descriptions to reduce confusion

• Make it clear that the user could add as many vegetables as they would like to their meal • Institute the term “Preferred Customer”

• Change the option to just “rice” after user confusion with “basmati”

• Change “Special notes” to “Notes to chef”

• Allow users to choose rice (brown or white) and sandwich temperature (cold or toasted) • Simplify the “Finalize and pay” screen for easier checkout

Testing users with paper prototypes

I learned even more valuable lessons from guerrilla testing users on the street. I jumped into the wild by testing people with paper prototypes created in InDesign. I made the following changes with my discoveries:

• Computer generated text on pages

• Create obvious placeholder blocks as buttons

• Make nutrition button more noticeable

• Streamline check out process with less options

• Add confirmation of payment

• Change some menu steps to simplify ordering

• Allow for more customization and flexibility to write notes to the chef

• Include prices


I used Adobe InDesign to create the wireframes because this has several advantages:

• Robust functionality, with the ability to make interactive PDFs

• Clean design and simple typesetting makes it easy for the user to read

• Apps can be created directly in InDesign and no code is needed

• Just design the App in InDesign and upload directly to the App Store – seamless process

Principles of heuristic evaluation

Several of Nielsen’s “10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design” principles could be applied:

• Visibility of system status

The side “Order” column keeps users informed about what is going on, through visual order accumulation.

• Match between system and the real world

The buttons and instructions speak the users’ language, with familiar words, phrases and concepts.

• User control and freedom

Users select the food items they want and remove it if they do not want it.

• Consistency and standards

Consistent language and buttons placement follow platform conventions.

• Recognition rather than recall

Minimize the user’s memory load with menu items pictured, nutritional information available and clickable item titles.

• Aesthetic and minimalist design

Descriptions do not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. For “more information,” an interested user can open an additional nutritional information box.

Mood board