Usability: 28/40 Functionality: 28/30 Design: 14/20 Originality: 5/10 TOTAL: 75/100
Recent news stories show how e-commerce sales keep growing, even in this challenging financial climate. eBay and Amazon are two of the most popular vendors in this sector, but Domino's Pizza are clearly committed to building a name in the online market too. Besides their current web-based order system, they offer an iPhone app that has already helped them increase their sales by £1million in the first 3 months since it was launched. But does the app live up to expectations?
Domino's app for iPhone possibly covers all the requests that a person ordering a pizza could have. It provides a store locator to help us find the closest Domino's restaurant in case we are collecting the order, or to start a delivery order. Once a store is selected, the app lists the complete menu for the chosen restaurant. We can order pizzas, sides, drinks, desserts, and select from a wide range of meal deals.
The process of ordering a pizza is very comprehensive: We can select a pizza from their menu or build our own, choosing the base, sauces and ingredients. It also gives the chance to select different ingredients for each half of the pizza, and even an ingredient roulette if you can't make your mind up! The check-out stage is straightforward, where we type in our details and choose between cash or credit/debit card to pay. The icing on the top comes in the shape of a built-in pizza tracker to see how the pizza is coming along.
All this functionality is provided through an easy-to-use interface, designed to not overwhelm the user with too many options or buttons. However, this interface also presents some usability issues that may hold the user back in several areas of the app.
The app presents several non-standard components in the user interface that may hide features or options. For instance, it uses custom horizontal and vertical lists whose scrolling bar is hardly visible or is not shown when the list is presented. Therefore, the user is likely to miss out items that are located further down in the list, such as ingredients, or even worse, credit card options to pay with. Additionally, some custom buttons have been designed with no hints that they can be pressed, so the user may miss a very useful key feature, e.g., choosing the half & half pizza option).
While these issues hide features away, other usability issues may hinder interaction with the app, frustrating the user, who may stop using the application for that reason. The store selector screen presents one tab for Ireland and another one for the UK. In the latter tab, the screen is divided between a "delivery" and a smaller "collection" order section. However, the stores for collection are retrieved automatically, possibly through geo-location, but the post code for delivery has to be typed in manually or using a separate screen to find our location. The flow of this screen is not obvious and can make the user feel confused about what kind of order they ended up choosing. We think this screen could be simplified by separating delivery and collection orders, possibly using a separate button to start a workflow for each kind of order.
Once a delivery or collection order is selected, we choose what to order. Meal deals and food items are presented respectively using two separate CoverFlow-like streams, one being in the background and the other one in the foreground. It's not clear how to switch between these streams, and once it is found out (through vertical scrolling), the interface is too sensitive to vertical flicks but not responsive enough to horizontal flicks. Offering a convoluted interface can put users off, so we recommend presenting a simplified interface, showing only one of these streams at a time and switching between them through a segmented control button (similar to the control used in the Weather app to switch between °C and °F).
Domino's have managed to create an application that combines the freedom we have when we order by phone with the advantage of having access to an up-to-date menu and having the time to customise the order the way we want. The app is weighed down by several usability issues of various severities that may end up frustrating the user. Improving specific areas of the app could clearly benefit the order process, producing a more enjoyable experience for the user and possibly boosting Domino's online sales even further. Not only this, a useful app with a great user experience will double as a powerful advertising tool thanks to word of mouth.