This is the story of how we helped Swiggy set up a scalable design framework that has grown beyond our own designs from 2014.
Swiggy started in 2014 with a simple aim: deliver food from local restaurants to you. Unlike similar businesses, Swiggy took responsibility for every step of the process, not just providing a platform to order food but also having a network of delivery personnel who would bring you the (still hot) food. When Swiggy approached us in late 2014, they only operated in one neighbourhood, and didn’t have a mobile app.
We helped them plan out, design and develop their very first mobile apps, and also redesigned their website.
The app showed you restaurants around you, sorted not necessarily by distance, but by how quickly they could get you food. Distance was not the only criteria; how long it took for the restaurant to prepare food was another.
Making menus cleverer
Restaurants already categorise their menus (for e.g.: starters, entrees, desserts etc). We borrowed that system and tweaked it a little to fit into the app. Our first target: to maintain categories and add subcategories to allow people to find what they were looking for more quickly. Our second target was to subtly suggest popular dishes that were quick to prepare. Less prep time meant faster deliveries and so we introduced Recommendations. Every restaurant had unique categories to accommodate their menus. We added recommended dishes at the top of every tab, increasing the chances that people would select those. Smart, right?
Large imagery along with descriptions, and the ability to customise dishes (for eg, to add fries, or add more toppings to pizzas) helped people make better selections.
Lists are the best
The menu was’t just a photograph of the the restaurant menu but an proper list of dishes. Swiggy listed every dish the restaurant prepared . Every list item (dish) could be added to cart from that very view.
I’ll have what they’re having
Every seen someone else’s food being taken out of the restaurant kitchen and saying ‘I want that’? While food descriptions often help us imagine taste and flavours, big, pretty pictures work far better. We included pictures for most of the dishes on the menu, specially for the recommended ones. After all, it’s impossible to ignore both a grumbling stomach and a watering mouth.
Change is inevitable
Cash on delivery is a convenient option for many, until it’s impossible to find change for that thousand rupee note. We didn’t want the customers running around for change so we included a check box in the design that informed the delivery personnel to carry change for the exact payable amount. Simplifying the situation for everyone!
Stalking your food
The last thing you want to do to a hungry person is keep them in the dark about where their food is. Swiggy gave all their delivery personnel a smartphone with a special delivery app which tracked their location as well as the status of the food in real-time and sent that information to the customer.
The idea behind that, was to assure them that the wheels were in motion. As long as they could see progress, they would be more amenable to wait for their order. It was a win-win situation for everyone.
Here are some screens from the designs we created for two platforms
Two years later, even after a rebranding exercise and frequent design updates, Swiggy largely uses the framework and logic designed by us across their platforms. We build products that last, because we account for future possibilities and product growth.