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How Might We?

Strategy Briefing

Data Discovery

Message & Story

UX Analysis


Problem Space

Track daily grocery shopping activities in order to understand general processes usually followed by shoppers in grocery shopping.

Target Audience

Regular grocery shoppers have demographics of 18-50 years old age range

Prevalent and Apparent Problems

  • Taking too much time in searching particular items in a grocery shop

  • Waiting time at the billing counter is unpredictable

  • No information on stocking of particular groceries

  • Difficult to check-in ingredients or special needs of groceries

UX Research Conclusions

UX Study: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought up a new shopping experience.

How might we create an interactive system for grocery shoppers to get specific help and updates in a grocery shop?


UX Study: Shoppers need sharp memories to recollect display items.

How might we design an intuitive grocery list for the shoppers to ease their mental load in the shopping experience?

UX Study: Shoppers have specific dietary/brand/price preferences.

How might we inform grocery shoppers about grocery facts and money-saving deals?


Nirmalkumar Patel - UX Researcher


Michael Wilson
Lead UX Strategist at Aptera

Adjunct Lecturer, School of Information & Computing

Jennifer Shivers

Senior Integration Architect at Regenstrief Institute Inc

Adjunct Instructor, Herron School of Art + Design

Work (11 Weeks)

  1. Data gathering via Traditional and Contextual Interviews

  2. UX analysis and information extraction via UX Meaning and Forms

  3. UX research conclusions via Design Methods for Framing Problems

Tools/Methods Used

Interview Tactics, Coding Excercise, Affinity Mapping, Persona, Journey Mapping, Task Annalysis, Message Mapping, Sense Making, How Might We, Story Boarding

UX Data Discovery

Desk Research

  • Target audience - A large chunk of contemporary customers and almost all conventional customers still prefers in-person grocery shopping despite mongering fear of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. [Deloitte Survey]

  • Inspiration - 85% of in-store shoppers look for a grocery store that supports and contributes to the local community. [Accenture Survey]

  • Observation - Consumers are making fewer trips to the grocery store, but they are spending 23% more per trip while from May 2020 through March 2021, grocery store trips are down 9% with overall spending up 12%. [PennState Survey]

  • Focal point problems- ​Health, well-being, and humane behavior become new benchmarks, hunting for the right items and ingredients is an always race against the time, and information regarding grocery store, its work ethics, efforts of community support and environmental concerns. [Dunnhumby Survey]

Deloitte Survey

Dunnhumby Report

22 years old, Student


I go to grocery shopping once a week in down town, trying different shops most of the time.


"I mostly wander aisles-to-aisles and buy the product intrigued me most. Nowdays only go in afternoon due to the pandemic."

"I sometimes stick to the common groceries for weeks."

Traditional Interview

40 years old, Registrar


I am buying my groceries from local store on my way to work for the last 3 years, some of them including farmers' markets.


“I am a fitness freak so I always look out for the ingredients and try new healthy food items.”

“I have a specific list based on my calendar schedules and directly go to those particular aisles and most of the time self-checkout to avoid the COVID. I've started online shopping recently.”

65 years old, Police (retd.)


I am buying my groceries mostly from Krogers and Cosco situated near my house block.


“I bring my grocery list mostly made by my wife and I like to go in-person grocery shopping as that touch, smell and feel of checking out the groceries help me find the good quality items.”

“I don’t know if I am going to buy online but in wake of this pandemic, I am following all precautions and I like that the store also follows actively.”

Insights found from the interviews -

  1. The participants have to make a proper list every time before going grocery shopping.

  2. The participants like to get offers and discount recommendations directly from the super stores.

  3. The participants have to find the sections every time for the specific items and must have to pass every section in between those target sections.

  4. The participants gave contrast answers about confusion in selecting brands and different prices in comparison to observations noted during the contextual interview. (In the contextual interview, the participant was too confused while checking out different brands of the same grocery item and had to take a good amount of time to read all ingredients and other factors.)

  5. The participants have to check online every time if they do not find the specific item that is unavailable at the store but the online website helps them to address this imminent problem.

  6. The store representatives are apparently biased towards the store’s own products.

I got the following insights that I believe that I could not get from traditional interviews. -

Contextual Interview

  • I used the Contextual Interview method for empathetic observation for my problem space.

  • Why? - Contextual Interview is a blend of Observation and Interview. I believe this process is surely aligning with the purpose of perspective-taking of target users.

    • In this method, the participants are introduced to the problem space and the interview process which involves the observation in their natural environment whereas the interviewer has the liberty to abruptly ask them questions in order to understand the bizarre actions they perform during the process of their daily tasks.

  • Participant demographics - 22 years old, Female, go for grocery shopping twice a week

  • Environment - Krogers (a leading grocery chain in the US)

The participant performing grocery shopping at her go-to Kroger as per her weekly schedule.

  1. The participant has bought items that are not in the list just by seeing the lucrative offers and display presentations.

  2. The participant had to remember as the grocery list was not organised as per sections set up in the store.

  3. The shopping of items having specific ingredients takes more time in searching and comparing with others.

  4. Forcible shopping of unwanted brand or flavour happens as no information regarding future availability provided by the store.

  5. The participant likes the Kroger card features and that makes the participant come back to Kroger for grocery shopping.


 iteration - 1 

Affinity Diagram

Another 4 UX designers also worked on the same topic and we combined our interview notes to create affinity diagram which can help us to know key segments commonly found from the interview taken by each one.

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Made Persona

  1. Covid-19 pandemic

  2. Authentic groceries

  3. Price inflation

  4. Updating aisles

  5. Store benefits

  6. billing queues 

Based on Persona and Affinity Notes, the following journey of James is traced...

Coded UX data with sub-coding

First cycle of coding

First cycle coding.jpg

Second cycle of coding


Finally, How Might We...

I have concluded the following 3 'How Might We' problem statements in the final categories

based on the insights found from the UX data analysis.

These problem statements should be considered for UX Design to explore a grocery shopping experience domain.




  • The COVID -19 pandemic has brought up a new shopping experience in wake of following pandemic guidelines by shoppers themselves and also by a staff of a grocery shop.

  • Shoppers finds it difficult to get immediate customer help within a grocery shop despite a staff is present (e.g. one must have to locate a staff person by checking each aisle of a grocery shop).

How might we create

an interactive system

for grocery shoppers

to get specific help and updates in a grocery shop?


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has brought up a new shopping experience in wake of following pandemic guidelines by shoppers themselves and also by a staff of a grocery shop.

  • Shoppers finds it difficult to get immediate customer help within a grocery shop despite a staff is present (e.g. one must have to locate a staff person by checking each aisle of a grocery shop).


  • Shoppers having specific dietary preferences are keep checking ingredients in each item they pick.

  • Shoppers have difficulties in finding particular brand or flavor despite having an aisle map of a grocery shop.

  • Shoppers wander aisles looking for new offers and promotions.

How Might We ?

How might we design

an intuitive grocery list

for grocery shoppers

to ease their mental load

in shopping experience?

How might we inform grocery shoppers

about grocery facts and money saving deals?

Message Mapping

Message maps are built to systematically extract messages and sub-messages

hidden behind the 'How Might We' style problem statements.

Message maps are generally used as precursers for story boarding process.


A story of grocery shoppers on their daily grocery shopping process and experience

  • Roles: They are typical daily grocery shopper who goes for their grocery shopping at least 3 days a week in person at the nearby grocery store to their residences.

  • Needs: They want an easy shopping experience that should take less time and be frustration-free. They actively lookout for new offers and promotions on the grocery items and they want to check out newly released items. They also want to take care of all precautions laid out by official authorities for the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Acknowledgment: They know how to check aisles for particular items but do not know the easy or shortest to navigate to each aisle. They check ingredients for dietary preferences, prices for their own convenience and offers for possible profits. They know that the store frequently updates its grocery lines, promotions and stocks. They have a good knowledge of the shopping process and payment options at checkout counters. They are aware of the COVID-19 pandemic and steps to avoid it.

  • Delivery: They go for in-person grocery shopping and use shopping carts availed by the stores for carrying the groceries in-store. They read ingredients, prices and other relative information labels mostly in English and sometimes ask the store representatives for help in understanding and/or shopping and finally, payment is done either card or cash payment. So, the delivery medium is verbal, visual, detail-oriented, auxiliary and self-knowledge based.

Story Sketch

Digital Story Board



Cognitive Walkthrough

Think aloud sessions of the participants

while doing grocery shopping

to know their inner dialogues

Strategic vs Tactical Aalysis

To organize 'How Might We' in thematic columns

having broad strategy ones on top

to in-depth tactical reasoners as we go down in the chart

Data coding is painstaking but always rewarding for me


I have excellence over the sense-making process of UX codes


Finding a message and sketching it in a storyboard, its my new hobby nowadays.


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