Vitaly Dulenko


Restaurant app


Lead and solo designer — discovery, user research, design, animation, testing






Mobile app

N. is a new restaurant app with over 300 restaurants and cafés in Lucerne. The task is to assess and improve the home screen to help users discover restaurants to go to.


The targeted audience is local people, not travelers. The purpose of the home screen is to help users discover restaurants to go to. The business goal is to make this page more dynamic to incentivise users to open the app more often.

The initial app design

Problem Definition

I had the business goal but didn’t know what is the user goal —  what do they want? The solution should achieve both goals as well.

People don’t usually use apps just for fun, they want some jobs to be done for them. I wanted to know why people go to restaurants, what’s important to them, what are their core needs.


User interviews

To find the answer, I asked users why they visit restaurants and what’s important for them when selecting the right one. I put the interviews results on stickers and grouped similar ones to find patterns.


I used personas method to better understand my users. I had two main types of target users — people who like to explore new places and people who want to save money in their favorite restaurants.

Job Stories

Personas help me to understand for whom this product is. Job stories helped me to concentrate on their needs and the context of use. As I’ve defined the main users’ needs, now I can create job stories:

User Testing

I didn’t have access to any analytics of the app usage. I conducted a user testing of the current app to discover how users interact with it and what pain points they have.

The “Hero recommendation” section confused the users  —  it wasn’t clear what it’s about and how it works. Also, it doesn’t contain any rating or reviews  —  this info was very important for users to make a decision.

The “Picked by editors” section wasn’t important and interesting for the users at all.

The “Categories” and “Cuisine” sections seemed very similar to each other. The users can’t understand what was the real difference between them from the first look.

When clicking the “Categories” item the users were frustrated that they can’t filter the list of restaurants by cuisine type or rating.

The “Top rated” section was much more useful for the users than the “Hero recommendation” because it showed the rating/reviews and users could quickly compare different restaurants.


  1. 01

  2. Optimize the top part of the app. The title took too much screen space. This section can be more compact, so the users can see more categories and recommendation without the need to scroll.
  1. 02

  2. Optimize the “Categories” and “Cuisine” sections. These sections were extremely useful for users to start the discovery, so it’s better to show them on the top of the app. As the users didn’t see the difference between these sections, I combined them into the one.

I limited the number of categories to 6 because according to the Hick’s law increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time. Instead of food photos, I used light icons because they are easier to scan and differentiate the categories.

  1. 03

  2. I added discounts into the “Categories” section as this info can be very useful for local people. When travelers are more interested in new places to go to, local people are more interested in some local atmospheric restaurants where they can also save money using actual discounts. This feature can increase users’ interest in the app and motivate them to open it more often to check out new discounts.
  1. 04

  2. The “Hero recommendation” section is replaced with the “Top rated” section as it was much more useful for users. I renamed this section “Recommended for you” to make it look like a personal collection for the user. Now the user can see several cards at a time and quickly compare them.
  1. 05

  2. Add friend’s recommendations. The “Picked by editors” section is better to be removed as it wasn’t really helpful and interesting for users. According to the results of the users’ interviews, most of the users often were looking for recommendations from people they know — friends, colleague etc. So we can add a section with friends’ impressions about restaurants they have visited.

The user also can quickly add recommended restaurants to their own collection. This can increase the user’s engagement and as a result — motivate them to open the app more often.

The Result

You can also check the Marvel prototype