Learnings by Sameer Kapur
Published March 09, 2020
This is the case study for Munch, a web app created for Capital One’s MindSumo restaurant challenge. I worked with Sahil Kapur to create a better restaurant choosing process for users over the course of one week.
The challenge: We have all been there. Picking a restaurant can sometimes be a daunting task. Even with Yelp, it is never easy. The endless variables, from cuisine, price, and location to rating and hours, can be overwhelming.
We imagined that there were ways to make the process of choosing a restaurant easier and more intuitive. The challenge required us to use Yelp’s Fusion API, plot merchants on a map, and obtain user location via HTML5 Geolocation.
Because picking a restaurant is such a broad problem that affects everyone, we decided to narrow the target audience to college aged students within generation z. Being part of the target audience would allow us to have a better understanding of the problem scope and how we could solve it for people our age. Additionally, we knew we would be able to ask our friends for input on the problem and test our final solution on them.
After discussing the problem with my close friends, I was able to get a better sense of what questions to ask within the scope of choosing a restaurant. I was curious to know the motivations behind using any of the current apps or websites on the market and what users were longing to have. The goal of the survey was to better understand pain points within the scope of restaurant choosing and scout for ideas which would turn into Munch. These questions included:
I wanted to keep the survey short at no more than 5 questions to make it easy enough for friends and acquaintances to fill it out. We received ~30 responses to the survey over the course of three days. I mostly reached out to college-aged students from my personal network and so 90% of the responses were from generation z.
Several different themes stood out among all our responses:
It’s always important to explore the current solutions to get a sense of what is in the market. I went through Yelp, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Resy. Researching other platforms in depth gave me a greater understanding in terms of ui/ux for Munch and base to start designing.
Some of my initial thoughts:
Over coffee and crepes at Greyhouse, we brainstormed ways to solve several of the issues identified through the survey responses and the design audit.
We decided on three main goals for Munch:
After doing some rough wireframing on paper, we used Figma to design mockups of the MVP for Munch. This was the first time we used Figma for designing, instead of Sketch.
Munch helps individuals discover places to eat around them. Using just the responses from three questions, Munch curates the top five recommended restaurants. Munch gets smarter every time you use it based on what restaurants you like and dislike. Munch also lets individuals browse trending restaurants and where popular influencers are eating at.
Check out Munch running live: munch.fun
We used Next.js for it’s speed with developing multi-page React applications with speed. The React code uses Hooks for managing lifestyle and state, which eases clarity in writing code. Since Next.js does not support CSS, all styling is done with inline CSS, making some styling blocks long, but keeping all styling attached to their components allows for faster modifications. The application is hosted on Google Cloud.
We really enjoyed working on the challenge for Capital One. Within one week, we were able to design a web app from start to finish using the Yelp API to help users discover places to eat.
Given more time, we would love to build out the back end for Munch, source real data for the influencer categories, and polish the MVP some more.
Thanks for reading! Please let us know if you liked reading about Munch and any questions + feedback you may have about what we built :)
heya! this was written by me, Sameer! i’m an interaction designer, developer, problem solver and many other things that won’t fit in a few sentences. i try to write about what i've learned or done every once in a while. follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates.