Square Extension

An extension to the Square Point of Sale application made for sit-down restaurant customers.

Brief

Research, design, prototype, and test a reboot or expansion to an existing digital product. Consider how emerging technology may impact the product's user experience.

Concept

Through the use of an NFC (Near-field communication) activated web application, customers can opt to submit their order, call their server, and browse the menu from their device while at the restaurant.

Team

Marie Marcos: Designer, Research Lead, Physical Product Developer

Sarah Cederberg: Project Manager, UX Lead, Typography

Thomas Zapata: Designer, Ethnographer, Researcher

Background

Square was founded in 2009 and aims to provide affordable payment processing and general business tools for businesses of all sizes.

Research

Between surveys, interviews, and field and contextual research, we explored how customers interact with Square’s current system. Initially, our concepts centered around business-side concepts but found that business owners had very few complaints about the service.

“Easy to use, accessible.”
“No complaints! Good, fast, and intuitive in my opinion.”
“It’s pretty nice to be honest.”

Goals

Based on the feedback received, we determined that the goals for the project would be to expand on, rather than improve, Square's functionality. Between businesses who use Square, and Square itself, we focused on the following goals:

Simplify User Workflow

Businesses that use Square love the simplified workflow, but how might we better serve a specific industry?

Reduce Barriers for Entry

Square focuses on making business ownership accessible, but how might we meet business needs by expanding the functionality of Square?

Expand the User Base

Businesses and Square benefit from using the service, but how can we identify a population that may benefit from using Square?

Direction

After discussing our goals, we looked at industries with specialized needs. The owners we talked to love the service but sit down restaurants that used the service was sparse compared to cafes and fast food restaurants. Square allows businesses to use their own personal devices, but we realized that each customer also had a device on hand that could take the burden off of the service staff.

Competitors

Direct

Tabletop tablets have been implemented at restaurants as a way to assist staff during peak hours and maintain communication between customers and staff. Purchasing and maintaining tablets for a restaurant is not always viable, though, and thus hasn't seen widespread use.

Indirect

Pen and paper is a standard way of recording orders at sit-down restaurants because it's simple and cheap to implement. During peak service hours, though, this can lead to customers feeling underserved and forgotten when they aren't able to flag their server down.

Development

Each team member created initial concept sketches, and as a group, we reviewed and integrated successful elements from our ideation into a rough wireframe to use for paper prototyping.

Prototyping

Areas of critique that we received largely focused on the lack of central navigation. Users liked being able to easily call the server but didn't feel the feedback form was a necessary integration, at least as apart of the minimum viable product.

Visual Styling

Based on the critique we received, we determined essential functions required for the extension of this product and were each tasked with separately creating three visual style concepts.

Final Styling

Our final styling featured navigation bar at the top which would include access to the menu, review order tab, and server tab. Full-width imagery is included for all menu sections and items but text is placed over an overlay to ensure readability.

Order Tag

The tag would come in a variety of two-tone colors that can be placed directly on the table or on another platform if preferred. Stored within the tag is a link to Square Eats web-based application, no need to download a new app. The tags job is to send the smart device that it comes into contact with directly to this web-based menu, which can be customized by restaurant owners.

How it Works

These tags are incredibly cheap to make and maintain and doesn’t require Bluetooth or a power supply, which cuts down the operational costs. NFC tags contain simple circuitry, few components, and rely on an active device to come into range before they are activated.

View Prototype