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  • Writer's pictureJia Jie Jon

Starbucks Mobile App Redesign

This project was done in 2019. Back then, Starbucks Mobile App was largely different from what it is today. If you were a user, I'm sure you have wondered why did you even have that app on your mobile phone.



Background Story

Starbucks has always been one of the cafes that I frequent. Being a customer for so long, I always had a hard time ordering my drinks because:

  • The insane long queue. I often have to worry if my seat got taken by someone else. I mean I do chope my place, but sometimes I worried if my laptop gets stolen.

  • The words on the menu are so tiny. I can't even fathom how someone could read that. I guess everyone just remembers one or two drinks in their head and always goes for the usuals, like me. I mean I rarely tried anything new cause of this.

  • The amount of anxiety I get when I was not ready for my order, then bam, dark mocha (My usual)... I didn't even want that.

  • I have no idea what's a macchiato, latte, cappuccino, frappuccino, or americano.

It got me thinking, why couldn't I just order from the Starbucks App? Somewhere where I could read the menu and order comfortably when I'm ready. But nope, the old Starbucks app can only be used for cashless payment or for me to check my reward points.

(I know it's possible to make an order through the app in the US in 2019, but not in Singapore)

That explains why the app has been parked on the last page of my iPhone. I rarely used it, maybe less than 5 times a year. I only used it when I forgot to bring my Starbucks card. Why did I even download it?

I wonder what's the experience like for other customers?



the Users

Finding the Candidates

To identify the type of users that I should interview, I came up with a list of criteria.

  1. They must be a regular customer of Starbucks, at least patronize the cafe more than once a week

  2. Have downloaded the Starbucks App and used it for some time

With those criteria in mind, I managed to find 5 suitable candidates

User Interview

This is the list of questions asked during the 1-on-1 user interview. It helps me identify the difficulties that they faced when visiting the cafe and when they use the app.

  1. How often do you visit the Starbucks cafe?

  2. How would you rate your experience there, on a rating of 1 to 5?

  3. What makes you visit Starbucks cafe so often and what do you like so much about there?

  4. Was there anything that you dislike when visiting the cafe?

  5. How often do you use the Starbucks mobile app?

  6. What do you usually use the Starbucks app for?

  7. Did you have any difficulties when using the Starbucks app?

  8. What is the one thing you would change if you are given the power to change anything in Starbucks?



the Findings

I group the similar finding using affinity mapping and here's the result:

From the interview, it is apparent to me that the app engagement was really low, probably limited by the number of features it has. All of the participants only use the app to check for reward points.

Good experience highlighted

  • 24 hours cafe

  • A good place to work

  • A nice place to hang out with friends

Problems highlighted

  • The long ordering queue [3]

  • Slow queue due to payment [1]

  • Noise level [1]

  • Wrong order [1]

Opportunities highlighted

  • More seats

  • More power outlet

  • Do delivery

  • Online ordering and pick-ups


Defining the


Is it possible to use the Starbucks app to resolve the existing issues? Yea

I believe the app can do much more than what it's intended.

These are the problems that I'm tackling:

  • The long ordering queue [3]

  • Slow queue due to payment [1]


Diving Deeper to

the Problem Space & Ideation

From the findings, we know that long queues have been a major problem for visitors, one of my participants even had to miss her breakfast sometimes.

The question is, Is it possible to eliminate queues? Nope

However, is it possible to "skip" the queue? Yea, maybe, as long as the visitors don't have to physically be there, it sort of eliminates the feeling that they are queueing for their drinks.

This can be done with the idea suggested by the participants.

Allow online ordering and pick-ups. This would "eliminate" the need for visitors to physically be in the queue. And, yes, no more awkward situation where you scramble through your bag to find your cash or cards.

(I mean their drinks are still in queue to be made but they don't have to physically be there.)

There are also other benefits like:

  • Easy-to-read menu with attractive images

  • Opportunity to educate customers about coffee

  • Easier customizations, reducing the probability of wrong order due to order-taker mistake

  • Customer can order their drinks when they are ready (Yay!)



the User Flow

The user flow helped me think through each step the user has to take to make a successful order, as well as the possible failure scenarios.



the Prototypes

I went straight into high-fidelity prototypes which is not a good practice. (NTS)




When I'm selecting the participants for the user testing. I realized this feature is not for everyone, it is mainly helping users who have busy schedules.

This also matches the participant's profile who I interviewed earlier. She is a 27-year-old working adult who has a very busy working schedule. I decided to recruit participants with a similar profile as her for the user testing.

All of the participants love the feature because:

  • They no longer need to spend 15 minutes in the central business districts' Starbucks when the queue is always insane during the lunch hour

  • They can make orders and schedule pick up before they arrive at the office

  • It helps them to satisfy their cravings during a busy day

  • Brings them a lot of conveniences


This project was done in 2019.
Starbucks has this feature now, and I'm loving it.
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