2.1. Gathering Project Requirements

Published January 22, 2019


Our IADT MSC UX Design student project examines the Tesco Ireland grocery shopping application.

The final prorotype

If you can’t wait for the end, then you can open the final Axure prototype in your browser.

Note:You can save the link to your mobile device home screen and launch it as an “app”.

Our student team comprises:

  • Karen
  • Mary
  • Pat (me)

Learning Objectives

This blog post sets out with others to meet the following learning objective:

Table 1. Learning objective 1
Learning Objective 1
Blog post(s) and associated artefacts describing and demonstrating:

  • user research using at least one quantitative and at least one qualitative user
    research method.
  • the problem(s) that has been identified including the rationale for this choice;
  • at least one persona that characterises the users of your chosen application and
    their goals (based on the user research you have conducted);
  • two ‘as is’ scenarios documenting the existing use cases and two ‘to be’
    scenarios describing the envisaged redesigned use cases.


We lack access to the knowledge and expertise or the resources of the Tesco platform teams and the requirements they work to. Our enterprise and user research draws from the Public domain.

Requirements gathering

“Desktop” research discovered the user, product, enterprise, and competitor landscapes (see Table 1) . Mary was unavailable during drafting and reviewed the documents on return to the team:

  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Task modeling
  • Visual walk-thru
  • Basic user journey
  • Stakeholder map
  • SWOT analysis

These built a usable impression of the requirements and the Universal Experience of the Tesco grocery shopping app and general online commerce. We immediately identified opportunities from an expert perspective and informed our user research plan.

These methods are accessible and useful to smaller product teams unable to access enterprise, user, or usability research resources. They inform student teams too!

Table 1. The desktop research methods used to understand the Tesco grocery shopping platform
Method Commentary
1. Heuristic Evaluations

Heuristic evaluations explore and expose quantitative and qualitative usability and experience of platforms from our users’ viewpoint.

Two expert heuristic evaluations were completed using popular methodologies including:

The reports highlight issues with the existing Tesco grocery shopping app:

  • Menus
  • Navigation
  • Flows
  • Accelerators

Artefacts: Two reviews were reported each for the Android and iOS apps:

Our opportunities include:

  • Opportunities to improve the homepage and delivery page clutter and repetition
  • Improve Search using a user perspective ontology and mental model in place of the complex data control architecture.
  • Improve system status warnings and undoing of actions
  • Improve interactions and navigation in general
  • Improve product presentation
  • Improve performance support (and make it “mobile friendly”)
  • Improve our users’ creation, input, and management of lists
2. Task Modeling

Task maps surface our users’ decisions, inputs, and our system’s outputs required to complete discrete tasks.

The maps may reveal unnecessary steps, data roadblocks, and poor navigation. Together with an expert heuristic review, they prove a powerful diagnostic of designs without access to formal design documentation. This makes them ideal for competitor analysis.


Our opportunities include:

  • Identifying nine shopping task models, and where to combine them
  • Reassembly of the Menu, Settings, and Profile tasks
  • Identifying of where a Back feature is not implemented
  • Removing potential process roadblocks
3. Visual walk-thru

A walk-thru or flow map visualises our users’ progress through a task usually to storyboard our users’ transactions negating repeated runs through the system.

They are ideal within a competitor analysis as access is often only a registration away. 

Our project required only the most basic shopping flow illustrated.


Our opportunities include:

  • Connecting our users’ list making to the shopping experience
4. Basic User Journey

The Basic User Journey focuses on our users’ and enterprise’s wants, needs, and tasks and data input, processing and feedback. It is a tool to develop and focus user centered assumptions, identify areas to research, or to plan universal design.

It cannot replace research and can assist where research resources are limited or prohibited. And although not an established tool, it is certainly contemporary, usable, and is proven useful.


Opportunities include:

  • Understanding our users’ and the enterprise’s wants, needs, tasks, inputs and outputs are and their implications on experience and design.
5. Stakeholder Map

Used to identify and communicate the personalities and organisations that influence (direct, assist or constrain) a team or project.

They indicate communication lines and may identify a hierarchy of management or influence. A SWOT analysis may help to make sense of them. Where teams, management lines, and vendors may churn, keeping the artefact editable is advised.

As an academic project outside of Tesco’s influence, the stakeholder map was light. It illustrated Tesco shoppers were vital to our research.


Opportunities include:

  • Identifying where, as a student team, we can bypass or access the Tesco enterprise and their customers.
6. SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis seeks to identify threats and then turn them into opportunities.\

Two informed the project. One for the Tesco mobile app and one for the Student team. SWOT analysis are actionable within a commercial organisation and more illustrative in a student environment.


Opportunities include:

  • Stores and app are accessible to our team
  • Technology available
  • Tesco brand
  • Powerful resources
  • Slow growth in mobile grocery app space, opportunity to improve
7. Card sorting

While awaiting input to the preliminary research, I made a paper prototype of the Tesco app homepage to reorganise the profile and menu content, and rationalise the homepage content.

The exercise revealed reasons for the disorientation we had felt in the app’s navigation. It also promoted a possible UX “quick-win” for a team reluctant to change.

The method is easy to assemble and makes a great collaborative tool. Small teams may benefit from the method as there is little investment in creating the cards and interdisciplinary communication may be encouraged.

In context, it got me closer to understanding the app’s existing architecture.



the Tesco grocery app homepage issues
Figure 1. Example assessment of quick-to-fix UX issues on the Tesco homepage UI

Research strategy

To focus my learning from the project, I researched and published a student blog on research and as a part of this module, completed an essay comparing and contrasting Emoticons, Interception Surveys, and Interviews. The research gave me confidence to operate in an area usually reserved for “UX Researchers” and revealed that everyone in our enterprise is a UX researcher!

Our research surfaced the importance of planning and the flexibility of otherwise rigid appearing research methods. Research must be fit for purpose. It is clear that user-centric design requires in-person user contact, too.

Research planning

I drafted our Research Plan (see Table 2), which Mary reviewed and added to.

Table 2. The research plan
Method Commentary
Research Plan

The Research Plan is a “living document” in which to list and plan individual research interventions, resources, and artefacts.

The plan is based on our initial research and our developing a Problem Statement. It confirms our research:

  • Aims
  • Objectives
  • Assumptions
  • Methods
  • Resources

The Research Methods section lists the following for each planned research method and aids the preparation of each intervention:

  • Aims
  • Strategy
  • Equipment
  • Participants
  • Ethics and Consent

Note: Including Ethics and Consent in the planning document usefully prompted a modification of the prescribed IADT Consent Form to meet the needs of the study.


Our research

To gather and understand our users’ goals, preferences, differences, and their experience with a platform, we need access to users: synchronously in person or asynchronously through alternative communication channels.

Findings from our requirements gathering indicated a link between food and emotion. We chose research methods suitable for gathering data on behaviours, attitudes, and emotional responses to shopping:

  • Business and Competitor Analysis (Literature review) for context
  • Interview
  • Intervention survey
  • Observation

Note: Karen later identified an opportunity for a Diary study in support of the other methods.

Table 3. Research methods used to explore the usability and experience of the Tesco grocery shopping app
Method Commentary
Business and Competitor Analysis
(Literature review)

To contextualise the real-world shopping app landscape, I researched a Business and Competitor report and a summary of customer reviews (iOS and Android app versions). This resembled a literature review of some qualitative and quantitative data available to the public.

This level of research is open to anyone outside an enterprise. It is essential to understand the contexts in which an app or platform is designed, and operates and to help focus research resources on known unknowns.

There was insufficient time to present key findings and data as “infographics”, which would ease its consumption and better highlight opportunities.


Opportunities: The findings and their implications were compiled together with the field research and include:

  • Online shopping architectures
  • Business advantages of e-commerce
  • Online grocery app features
  • Trends and competitors
  • The emotional connection
  • Grocery store layout psychologies
  • Tesco shopping app features
  • Returns policy
  • Driver interaction at delivery

Interviews enable the collection of qualitative and quantitative research data. Unstructured interviews may capture new lines of inquiry and access the emotional domain. Structured interviews are easiest to analyse.

As a team, we agreed to conduct two semi-structured interviews each. While working remotely, Mary wrote the interview script, which passed team review easily. Mary also performed the analysis and segmentation of the returned data to inform two believable personas and scenarios.



  • Insights into real-world shopping behaviours
  • Insights into our users’ environment and preferences
  • Insights into our users’ emotional experiences of shopping
Field observations and interception survey

Observation and surveys can canvas and collect quantitative and qualitative research data. They can be highly structured or informal, which opens the methods to inexpert researchers, i.e., the whole enterprise/ development team. Both methods may combine with additional methodologies such as interviews, Emoticons, usability studies, and more.

We were encouraged to “door-stop” shoppers as a method of primary field research and report findings the following week. The Research Plan and my research blog post aided the hasty preparation of a Consent Form, printed survey questionnaire, and intervention approach.

No one participated with the printed interception survey. To obtain data, I converted it into a Google Forms Survey, which Mary helped to promote to receive 51 responses within 36-hours and ready to report in class that Tuesday.

I wrote a student reflective report for my own learning account, which included details of caveats, constraints, and opportunities to acquire useful insights into Tesco’s retail practices.



  • Insights into Tesco’s retail strategies and psychologies
  • Insights into real-world shopping behaviours
Diary Studies

Karen proposed diary studies to gain a deeper understanding of shopping behaviours. Her report helpfully correlates with earlier observations and assumptions around list making in the context of shopping.



  • List building activity
  • Correlation between food quality, trust, and emotion
  • Shoppers experience of healthy options and information
  • Use of device sensors
  • Budget vs value

Comparing the methods

Table 4 summarises the relative merits of the Survey, Interview, and Literature Search methods based on Tuckman cited in Cohen, Manion, and Morrison (2018, pp.509). and updated by the author.

Table 4. Relative merits of Survey, Interview, and Literature review
Consideration Survey Interview Literature review
Personal need to collect data May require a secretary Requires interviewers Using other peoples’ research
Major expense Postage, stationery, or digital hosting possible Payments, premises, transcriptions, etc. None
Opportunities for response-keying (personalisation) Limited, less so with digital hosts Extensive None
Opportunities for asking Limited Extensive Yes
Opportunities for probing Difficult (includes branching) Possible Yes
Relative magnitude of data reduction Mainly limited to rostering Great (because of coding) High depending on data types
Typically the number of respondents who can be reached Extensive Limited by resources Not applicable
Rate of return Poor – perhaps better through interception< Good Not applicable
Sources of error Limited to instrument and sample Interviewer, instrument, coding, sample Bias, diligence, and age of data
Overall reliability Fair Quite limited Depends on sources, their age, and biases
Emphasis on writing skill Extensive Limited, with care Moderate, communicating findings

Identified problems and pain points

From our research, we can identify user pain points including:

  • with the organisation of the homepage and its two menus.
  • between the initial listing activity and the input of list items into the commerce system: the gap between the physical and digital paradigms.
  • the excess UI in the Tesco delivery slot booking area (discovered during Mary’s heuristic evaluation). Unavailable slots are visible where our user may prefer to only see what is available.
  • the cognitive distance between the real-world store and digital experience.


A listing task differs according to our situation, mental models, and concrete or abstract perceptions of need versus want. They guide our shopping by identifying and comparing our wants with our inventory to result in listing our needs.

If our shopper can write a list using their own mental model and the system can help to covert this into the concrete Trolley with minimal work, it may add value to the grocery shopping experience?

Table 5 considers assumptions of how lists may relate to a shopping app.

Table 5. Lists and shopping apps
Area Assumptions
Are lists easy to make?

Accessibility needs aside, the easiest lists are hand-written.

List apps take more cognitive and motor work: typing, managing, exporting, and using.

How do we process a shopping list?

To write a grocery shopping list we first determine our wants and then take inventory of our stock.

We then subtract our stock from our wants, which gives us what we need.

Is the app a list app?

The Tesco app is a shopping task and not a list making one.

The app builds a list of exact products in the Trolley following complex cognitive and motor work to identify and add them.

How can we improve the experience?

If the list is imported into the shopping task it will take work to identify the exact items to place into the Trolley.

The heavy lifting needs done by the system if making the shopping list in the app according to our users’ own mental models before converting the input into concrete Trolley items is to be attractive to our user.


We met to conduct a workshop on December 8, 2018, in which we finalised our problem statements, scenarios, and empathy mapping guided by our research to date and Mary’s persona work.

Table 6. Workshop outcomes
Deliverable Commentary

Problem statement, personas, and scenarios

In class exercises led us to formulate problem statements and stakeholder maps, which were initially ad-hoc and only later developed usefully once the team was able to workshop them.

Problem Statement

“When I need to do grocery shopping, I want to be organised for the week, so I can make delicious meals

Personas and scenarios

Mary’s exceptional work compiling and segmenting research data into two credible personas led to our team work-shopping and agreeing believable scenarios and Steve, our go to persona.

Artefacts posted by Mary:

Artefacts from workshop:

Empathy map

From our research, proto-personas, and scenarios, we created an empathy map.



A storyboard communicates the user story to our team. Images and text are popularly combined to increase engagement and improve memory retention (learning). Learning may be further improved using auditory and video channels.

I experimented with and blogged about using an “explainer video” and exported stills from it. As a novice user, there is plenty of scope to improve the outcome using custom graphics and a voiceover. (Read my blog post exploring the video storyboard.)


Mary was very supportive with her feedback and we adopted it as our, “as is” storyboard with a printable storyboard version as backup.

Affinity Map

An affinity map or diagram helps gather different ideas, opinions, and problems focused on our proto-personas and their scenarios. 

We brain-stormed, card-sorted, and segmented with sticky notes our personas’:

  • habits
  • goals
  • positives
  • pain points

It is a useful tool to reflect upon during design discussions.




Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K. (2018). Research Methods in Education (8th Edition). Abingdon, Oxford, UK: Routledge.


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