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Challenge: How do I improve the shopping process for in-store grocery shoppers in order to provide customers with a more pleasant experience by using digital intervention? 

My Role: UX Designer -

full product design cycle from research, product development, to ultimate conception.

TimelineNov 12, 2021 to January 31, 2022 

Skip TheLine is an app designed to help Canadian in-store grocery shoppers to literally skip the line and avoid long lineup wait times at the check outs. 

Platform: iOS platform

Tools: Figma & Adobe Creative Suite

Prototype: Accessibility Updates in Progress: Email me for complete project details

High Fidelity Prototype 

Accessibility Updates in Progress:

Secured Link

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UX Diamond Playground Activated

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Please click on key phases of the design process within the Double Diamond Playground to explore this project. Have a lovely time learning about the Skip TheLine.


Long grocery lines:
Dissatisfied Canadians

According to a study, 81% of Canadians prefer to get their groceries in-store. At big chain grocery stores, however, wait times can be as long as 22 minutes during busy hours. As such, long wait times for in-store grocery shoppers is an unspoken, yet frustrating problem in Canada.

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Why does shopping in-store matter.

Don’t Canadians do groceries online?

To examine closely, research suggests that the 3 most annoying issues for in-store shoppers in Canada are A. Out-of-stock products (29%), B. Too few open checkouts (28%), and C. Congested aisles (14%), which may all play a role in hampering in-store shopping experience.

Check In:
Currently, quantitative research surrounding our topic is conducted to investigate our problem space. 

Secondary Research

a. Long wait times, an unmistakable

problem: What else annoys Canadians?

To examine closely, research suggests that the 3 most annoying issues for in-store shoppers in Canada are A. Out-of-stock products (29%), B. Too few open checkouts (28%), and C. Congested aisles (14%), which may all play a role in hampering in-store shopping experience.


b. Which areas of in-store shopping

do Canadians feel would improve

their in-store shopping experience?


“being able to utilize easy and quick payment methods”

“being able to conveniently and quickly navigate the store”


How might we
improve the shopping process for in-store grocery shoppers in order to provide a more pleasant experience? 

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Check In:
Now that the problem is identified, an attempt is made to empathize and understand the people that will potentially use our proposed design by drafting a hypothesis statement, identifying a list of assumptions, and engaging in qualitative, decontextualized user interviews.

Project Mission

Overarching Objective: 

The goal is to examine the shopping process for in store grocery shoppers now. More specifically, we wish to understand how we can improve checkout times in order to increase customer satisfaction.

Human Centric Design: 

Deep empathy with in-store grocery shoppers will create interview insights in order to make in-store grocery shopping a more pleasant experience and alleviate everyday stress..

Business Goals 

By understanding our in-store shoppers, is there room for industry wide disruption to improve grocery shopping experience around the world?

Our Assumptions

1. Canadians prefer in-store grocery shopping even though online-grocery shopping has been available. 

2. Canadians are not happy about long wait times for in-store grocery shopping.

3. Canadians want to lower 

long wait times when they do in-store grocery shopping.

4. Canadians are willing to use quick technological payment methods to improve their shopping satisfaction.

5. Canadians may feel less stressful when they have more control over their time when they shop.



a. We Believe:

When Canadians are doing in-store grocery shopping, long wait times leave Canadians feeling frustrated, resulting in poor customer satisfaction.

b. What might they say? I believe:

Canadians will (1) say they prefer in-store grocery shopping even though online-grocery shopping has been available, (2) say they are not happy about long wait times for in-store grocery shopping, (3) want to cut down on long wait times when they do in-store grocery shopping, (4) be willing to use quick technological payment methods to improve their shopping satisfaction, (5) feel less stressful when they have more control over their time when they shop.


How will we verify our assumptions?
I will know I’m correct about Canadian in-store grocery shoppers if user interviews corroborate 4 to 5 assumptions from this study.


a. Recruitment Criteria

b. Decontextualized User Interviews:

  • All genders welcome

  • 30 to 65 years young

  • Recording not mandatory

  • Ontario or British Columbia residents

  • Do in-store groceries at least once a week

Three over the phone or virtual interviews were conducted on target users to better understand motivations, pain points, and behaviors when they do in-store grocery shopping. 

Interviewee Profile 001.

Busy 36 year old female, mother of two, and low on family support. Low on time and social support because spouse is always on the road for work abroad. Needs to juggle competing errands.

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c. Interviews 

Interviewee Profile 002.

47 year old male stock investor, father of three, manages his own investment properties. Hugely successful but has no time left to spend with his family. Yearns a closer relationship with his three kids and wants to use cooking to forge that connection.

Interviewee Profile 003.

60 year old surgeon. Low social and familial support. Type A personality that wants to be in control of his time, affairs, and schedule. For example, he does chores, small to large, all by himself.

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Interview Results Synopsis 
Open-ended questions generated rich interviews, but only key insights and frustrations are kept and organized into the following three themes. A. Crowded Grocery Stores, B. Poor Communication, and C. Long Lineups


Canadians are overwhelmed by crowded grocery stores. A crowded grocery store can cause people a great deal of anxiety and distress.

Canadians appreciate in-store grocery shopping to examine their food, but they do not appreciate in-store staff that is unhelpful and non-communicative.

a. Crowded Stores 

b. Poor communication

Canadians feel trapped when the checkout line is long. This causes them a great deal of stress because they are losing time, valuable time they cannot get back.

c. Lineups 

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Affinity Mapping 


Check In:
The project will focus on "Long lineups" as it provides the most opportunity and relates directly to the original HMW. Also, Long Lineups appears to resonate heavily to our identified problem.


a. Primary Persona Rationale

Using research data that was derived from our open-ended questions in our interviews, the results led me to build an archetype persona i. that best represents the core attributes of our identified target user and ii. that most frequently experienced our problem: those who are most likely assigned to do groceries. 

b. Common Denominator Problem

We discovered that even though shoppers could be different based on sex, age, occupation, or roles, they all experienced a common denominator problem at the grocery store: long lineup wait times. Nevertheless, we focused on idiosyncratic, interviewee details that would most likely coincide with majority segment characteristics for the persona.

c. Interesting Nugget

Some businesses devote early store hours for 65+ seniors. Albeit an “convenience,” some argue it is ageism to assume people of older age will generally wake up early and be expected to do groceries earlier in the day to avoid crowded stores or lineups. If seniors cannot make early store hours, there are no dedicated senior lines. Also, some seniors resent preferential treatment altogether, which means they are equally likely to experience long lineup wait times.

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“If I can pay without waiting in line, that means I can get home sooner to prepare dinner, help my kids with their homework, and get them to bed sooner. It also means I can better time manage to focus on my business and possibly have time for self-care before I sleep.”

Mother, E-commerce Store Owner


Age: 33 years old
Work: Etsy store owner. Google Calendar.
Family: Stay home mother, Married.
Kids: 5yo Jane; 7yo Max; 8yo James.

Kayla is a “do-it-all” mother of 3 who owns an ecommerce side-hustle selling clothes with no spare time. When the babysitter is unavailable, she has no choice but to bring the kids with her to the grocery store directly from school.


Goal & Motivations

Like most shoppers, she wants to complete all her errands and groceries with the least amount of time. She wants the kids home faster for dinner, homework, and bedtime.

Pain Points

  • Long lineups at the grocery store

  • No proper control of time

  • Feels overwhelmed by the time she has lost while waiting in line.


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  • Uses self-checkout lines to reduce wait time for paying groceries.

  • Uses staff support to help her pay if she can’t scan an item properly.

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Note on Experience Map:
We realized that shoppers of different age, occupation, or roles shared a familiar experience at the check out. To better magnify this problem of long lineup wait times, an experience map was made to show us how most people are currently experiencing the problem. We identified 4 distinct Stages: i. Research, ii. Enroute to store, iii. In-store, iv. After purchase

Experience Map

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Note: To deconstruct the existing nature of our problem, various touchpoints and distinct stages were identified and named to better empathize the problem that our users inured. 

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Experience Map 

Competitive Analysis 

Amazon Go 

Amazon Go was our chosen direct competitor because it is a digital store or in-store service that bares resemblance and repertoire that could most potentially resolve long lineup wait times in an actual, physical store.


The key point here is that “grocery delivery apps,” “same day delivery apps,” and “online grocery shopping apps” are less relevant because we are only focused on people that want to do live, in-store grocery shopping, but struggle with long lineups.


We also recognize the advent of “pick-up and go” style of grocery shopping, where staff put groceries in your trunk and you leave. But once again, it is not the same as the user doing in-store grocery shopping.


Therefore, we only recognize Amazon Go. However, as we will demonstrate, this Just Walk Out technology is only available in Amazon Go stores, lacks ambition! It does not help customers that shop at Walmart or Costco that are still stuck in lines, which warrants a new digital solution


Continued on next page :)

Check In:
In this competitive analysis, both Amazon Go and Self Check Out Machines will

be examined in the following pages.  


Competitive Analysis - Amazon Go

a. Strengths

Tracks your grocery shopping real time using high tech in-store sensors.
Proprietary Just Walk Out technology: i. you enter the store, ii. pick up your goods, and iii. leave without passing through a checkout. The system monitors the products you select and bills them to your Amazon account as you leave the store. The only thing you need to do is install the Amazon Go app on your smartphone.

b. Weakness

  • Only available in United States (26 Amazon Go stores across four US cities; Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York) - Not available in Canada.

  • Only focus on convenience food---pre-prepared lunches, dinner kits, ready meals---but also have a range of other grocery items. Does not have other category of items (i.e. Furniture, Technologies, or Equipment)

Competitive Analysis - Self Checkout Machine

a. Strengths

  • Reduces long lineup wait times for live, human cashiers.

  • With the introduction of COVID-19, it facilitates physical distancing.

  • It helps merchants cut operation cost (i.e. hire less cashiers)

  • More options for customers to check-out, which improves customer satisfaction

b. Weakness

  • Increased probability of theft (i.e. walk out pretending one has paid)

  • Equipment malfunctions or clitches

  • Make a store feel less human, thereby affecting brand identity

  • Customer frustration with machine functionality or controls.

  • Resentment from hired store staffs from layoffs due to Self Checkout Machines implementation.

c. Opportunity

  • Increasing demand from businesses and merchants from India, Middle East, and developing countries

  • Continued customer education to potentially lead to an even wider acceptance

d. Threat

  • Increased probability of theft (i.e. walk out pretending one has paid)

  • Equipment malfunctions or clitches

  • Make a store feel less human, thereby affecting brand identity

  • Customer frustration with machine functionality or controls.

  • Resentment from hired store staffs from layoffs due to Self Checkout Machines implementation.


Looking Ahead:
The project will now focus on User Stories and Task Flow Diagrams. Using key opportunities identified in the aforementioned Experience Map, the core functionality and features of our digital solution will be defined by crafting a multitude of user stories. 

User Stories and Epics 

20 User Stories digested into 5 Epics: But which Epic did we choose that would most address our problem? 

Paying with Phone was the epic that was chosen because it was most relevant to the problem in reducing long wait times at the grocery store. Comparatively, other epics are less effective against the problem.

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User Stories

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Paying with Phone 

was chosen as our core epic and additionally expanded upon with 10 user stories, focusing on primary task and main product function.  

Paying with Phone 

As a Canadian grocery shopper

I want to

see augmented reality price tags on the items 

browse items and locate them with a store map

use my own phone camera as an item scanner

review my online cart on my phone

display an electronic receipt to prove that I paid

conduct a refund for items I no longer want

execute a purchase using credit cards on phone

preview the entire cost of my groceries using my phone

compare the price of items on my phone

see an additional summary of my items purchased

I want to

I don’t have to deal with missing price tags.

I can feel more confident at the store.

I can pay and feel confident about my visit without wasting time.

I can see clearly what I’m paying for.

I can skip the line and not be mistaken for theft.

I don’t have to ask for help.

I don’t need to worry about loose change with the cashier

I won’t overspend and lineup for making refunds.

I don’t have to wait and ask a store staff.

I can review my visit.

Task Selection

This Primary User Story and the Main Task were used to create a Task

Flow Diagram to visualize what order of steps a user would execute. 

Primary User Story: As a Canadian grocery shopper, I want to use my own phone camera as an item scanner , so that I can pay and feel confident about my visit without wasting time.

Main Task: Open “Item Scanner” Camera Mode. Square crosshair to scan barcode. CTA Scan button

As a Canadian grocery shopper, I want to display an electronic receipt to prove that I paid, so that I can skip the line and not be mistaken for theft. 

Taps “Receipt” button inside Purchase Summary page (see task below). Electronic receipt for staff to scan at the exit to verify and confirm payment.

Task Flow Diagram

Here a Task Flow Diagram will be created

to illustrate a proposed sequence of steps  executed in the Primary User Task

In this case, the Task Flow Diagram will show us how a user uses his phone as a self check out machine, scans items using the camera, and pays with his phone without lining up for the conventional cashier. In the *End,* the user leaves by displaying their electronic Proof of Payment on the phone to the staff for scanning and digital verification. Actions required by users to execute the primary task is outlined in the following.    

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Task Flow Diagram

Progress Check 

With the digital features established, we are moving into the Ideation & Prototyping phase of development, parting ways with Research and Discovery


A Note on Prototyping

Lean UX approach - Condensed Primary Task Flow Rationale

Embracing the values of "The Lean Start-Up" by Eric Ries, it is acknowledged that the log-in screens will not be generated even though it would create a feeling of authenticity for users in usability testing. As such, only the Minimum Valuable Product screens will be made in order to maximize focus and save time. Not to mention, the sign in screens would be rendered useless if user testing revealed that the core flow screens were illogical or unusable, which is heartbreaking.

Along the same vein, different grocery stores already have existing web and app platforms for purchasing items with details such as profile page or financial account pages. It would be redundant to rebuild the entire app layout of stores like Walmart or Costco. Therefore, we will only focus on 5 main screens (see below), our main task flow, which constitutes our exciting minimum viable product.


If done correctly, customers could technically skip the wait, pay, and leave the door without lining up at all! Here, it is assumed that the user has already signed-in to their grocery app, be it Walmart, Costco, or No Frills. From a business stand point, that means this task-flow could be added to the grocery businesses app if they wish to increase customer satisfaction by allowing them to skip the line to pay and save time.

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User Interface Inspiration Board 

Sequenced in the same order of the Task Flow Diagram, the board images were detailed with deep, user-interface analysis and rationale explaining why it was chosen to empathize Canadians who inure long lineup wait times. Click below =)

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Sketching & Ideation

Exploratory to Solution Sketches

In order for users to complete the main task of using a phone as an item scanner self check out machine for paying, I reviewed my Invision board and the Task Flow Diagram and concluded that the 5 main screens required are:


1. Enter your Store Location
2. Item Scanner Screen
3. Online Cart Screen
4. Summary Screen
5. Receipt Screen

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Paper Sketches

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Prototype I

Exploratory to Solution Sketches

As outlined here, 5 main Greyscale Digital wireframes were created based on my Solution Sketches and my UI inspirations from InvisionApp. Then, these frames were used for User Testing to collect feedback to inspire changes.


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1. Enter your Store Location

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2. Item Scanner Screen 

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3. Online Cart Screen

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4. Summary Screen

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5. Receipt

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7 Online Cart 1.png
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Moving Forward 

Now that Greyscale Digital wireframes are available, we conduct user testing to uncover usability issues associated with navigation and core features of the app.   

Usability Testing

Scripted Use of Product Method

With these 5 main Greyscale Digital wireframes, a Prototype was created to conduct User Testing to collect feedback, critique, and directions for future iterations. Of note, we planned to conduct two rounds of usability tests (5 new testers in each round) with a total 10 users.  After the first round, findings were prioritized with the classic Design Matrix and implemented into the design. Then, this process was repeated for the second round of user testing. Users were given one scenario and asked to complete five tasks.

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Test Plan


“As a 33 year old Canadian Mother of three named Kayla, you just placed a cart load of groceries in the car trunk after waiting in long lineups. Then, you realized you forgot to pick up a bag of milk. So, you walk back into Costco to pick up a bag of milk, with little time to spare in your busy schedule.“

Five Tasks

  1. Entering your location

  2. Scan Item to add to Online Cart.

  3. Pay for item in Online Cart Screen

  4. Generate Proof of Payment barcode on phone.

  5. Leave store by presenting barcode to staff at exit.

Round One

Overall, the results were reassuring with no critical issues. Most users were able to navigate the tasks with no difficulty. No participants had functionality suggestions, while some had specific UI suggestions that would increase the clarity of the app. Armed with these  insights, we prioritized and fixed flaws that directly affected usability first.

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Round One Details

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Prototype Link

Round Two

Once again, the overall results were marvelous with no critical issues. All users were able to navigate the tasks with no difficulty. Still, users had user interface writing suggestions (i.e. page descriptions). With these insights, we prioritized and fixed flaws that directly affected usability first to reduce edge cases.

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Round Two Details

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Prototype Link


Progress Check 

After two rounds of user testing, the greyscale wireframes will undergo application of color, imagery, and high-fidelity design elements. 



In order to develop a brand identity for Skip Theline, a list of five adjectives were used to anchor and ground how a person will experience and feel the app: 

  •  Friendly

  •  Reliable

  •  Welcoming

  •  Relaxing

  •  Innovative


To further clarify the brand, I further articulated the following to elaborate - Skip TheLine is:

  • More modern than dated

  • More radical than conservative

  • More empathetic than callous

  • More welcoming than exclusive

  • More candid than mysterious

  • More warm than cold

  • More amicable than aggressive

  • More streamlined than unorganized

  • More organic than artificial 


Brand Name Deliberations

Skip TheLine was the obvious choice even though it does have three syllables, which is one more than I preferred as the best companies on the planet usually have two to three (i.e Facebook, now Meta, SnapChat, Tesla). SkipTheLine was chosen because it figuratively and literally describes the function of the app, which allows you to “skip the line,” by using your phone as an item scanner. This chosen name also promotes user acquisition because people want to save time and leave the store by skipping the line. The name is catchy and also easy to remember.


Based on the aforementioned adjectives, a mood board was made to visualize colors and typefaces that could be used for Skip TheLine.

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Colour Rationale

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Colour Application

Typography System

Roboto is used for the entire project to maintain consistency. A singular type will help customers make quick associations with the Skip TheLine brand. In terms of practicality, this font is quite versatile and understood by many. Therefore, it is consistent with the brand in that it is inclusive and more welcoming than exclusive.

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The letter “i” was used to graphically represent grocery shoppers skipping (or jumping) the line. As such, the “i”s are figuratively skipping across the entire logo, or the dreaded long line ups, as illustrated here. As the “i” sticks the landing, there is geographic depression. The arrow is playfully round, forgiving, and amicable as opposed to being aggressively jagged or sharp. It reminds users that they could get from point A to point B in a swift manner with no resistance or inertia.

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High Fidelity Prototype

Design Rationale

The brand colours are applied sparingly in a subtle way. The app layout is clean, defined, and restrained. That way, users are not overwhelmed, especially if they are in a chaotic, busy grocery store. People will notice the subtle presence of our brand colour as shown on the call to action button. 

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Hi-Fi Rationale

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Hi-Fi Prototype

Say Bye to Long Lineups

We help you check out faster

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Pay and Leave


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Let staff scan electronic 

proof of payment to leave

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Skip TheLine on Multiple Platforms

For the next phase of Skip TheLine, it will be made available on smart watches to further elevate and improve people's experience as they do in-store grocery shopping. 

Note: Apple Watch can be scanned by staff with a scanner to verify proof of payment.

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Progress Check 

A marketing site that establishes the brand and conveys the product value proposition is made through creative use of storytelling, copywriting, and visual design to connect with customers. 

Marketing Strategy

Target Audience

In terms of target audience, Skip TheLine is loved by a range of in-store grocery shoppers from all walks of life who uses both iOs and Android products from 30-65 years young. Skip TheLine’s agenda to be warm, empathetic, and welcoming dictates that we try to make Skip TheLine more accessible as possible in order to tackle such a pervasive, relatable issue. Skip TheLine is tailored for people, like mothers with multiple kids or people with a busy schedule, that are interested in technologies or ways that can help them effectively save time at the grocery store. As a corollary, our target users would have past experience, sufficient access, and basic knowledge with technologies.

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Tone & Voice

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In terms of tone, voice, and communication intention, Skip TheLine is supposed to conjure a feeling of warmth and empathy, which further manifest a sense of reliability, reassurance, and calm. The aforementioned is necessary and perfect to attenuate anxiety at crowded stores. Therefore, people can relax, be happy, and function properly. Skip TheLine handle users with sincerity and respect with their information (i.e banking info). This is reflected in the app product and the marketing desktop and mobile website. For example, the high quality rendered images of produce and items convey a sense of competency, professionalism, and mastery. Therefore, users know they can trust us with their sensitive information.

Marketing Website

Furthermore, the aforementioned agenda was used to create a marketing website that is consistent with our brand goal of conjuring feelings of warmth, familiarity, and modernity. The design is clean, minimal, and contemporary. 

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Desktop Website

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Mobile Website

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How would a community of your most passionate users behave?

Their lives will be changed forever from the time they can save from long lineups at the grocery store.

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What happens when 100 million people use your product? 

Part time cashier jobs will reduce in numbers as grocery stores transition to using Skip TheLine. 

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What is the worst headline about your product you can imagine? 

Users will attempt to steal items by pretending they paid, causing grocery stores to lose money from theft. 

Impact of Skip TheLine

A glimpse into the future with Tarot Cards of Tech

Closing thoughts

What did I learn?

Canadians do prefer to shop in-store for their groceries even though online groceries have been available for quite some time. Canadians are indeed not just unhappy about long wait times for in-store grocery shopping, but also feel helpless as if “it is a part of life,” as mentioned by one of our interviewee. That is why Skip TheLine has the potential to forever change and disrupt the landscape of the grocery store business. Assets in this portfolio could be used for stakeholders presentation for future implementation into market.  

Personally, I feel happy about User Experience Design because it is logical and grounded by research, systematic methods, and continuous product iterations. Also, it feels like something I can do for the rest of my life because I thoroughly enjoy solving problems that can make this planet a better place to live in, unless we decide to fly to Mars with Elon. I also learned the importance of time constraint and management for the design process. In the future, UX Writing is an area I want to explore more in detail.  

Next Steps

Is it possible to apply this same check out process at the shopping mall? 

Is there room for innovation to allow grocery stores to be mapped by virtual reality? 

Is it possible to help in-store grocery shoppers to create "checkout appointments?" 

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Double Diamond Design Process

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Special Thanks

Joel MacLeod

Joel is the Lead Educator at BrainStation that showed me about the lovely and scientific world of User Experience Design. Without him, this project will not be possible.  

Lily Da Huang

Lily is the Associate Educator at BrainStation. She is super supportive and I love to ask her extremely difficult questions, but she never fails to amaze me with her knowledge. 

Sherin George

Sherin is the teaching assistant at BrainStation. If you have a question, Sherin will be the first one to reach out and give useful feedback and constructive criticism.