Building an app that allows to pre-order your meal at college cafeteria and avoid queues



FoodReadyGo is an app that allows students to pre-order their food in college cafeterias and set a check-out time to pick-up their food. The main goal is to avoid crowds in the college cafeteria due to the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, this app is going to offer healthy meals made with fresh ingredients to contribute to the well-being of the students. Allowing them to eat healthy every day of the week.


How might we set a system to avoid crowds at the college cafeteria?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is mandatory to avoid crowds and closed spaces to minimize the outbreak of the virus. However, it is also important to keep schools and colleges open. In that sense, school and college cafeterias are key services for the students. Therefore, it is important to find a solution that could allow cafeterias to accomplish their goals and at the same time be safe for the students.


Like with every project, there are always some constraints to take into consideration in the design process. This time, there were the following constraints:

- Limited amount of time: The development of this product had to start in one week. That’s why we had to make some assumptions and design the prototype in a very short period of time.

- Payment options: To assure the viability of logistics, the user can order only the meals for one week. Moreover, the user must pay his meals one-by-one to be able of ordering the right amount of products and avoid food wasting.

Finding the problem


With the aim of havin a better comprehension of the user. We created two different user personas with different pain-points. This exercide was very important to establish different core users and address their main problems.

You can see what the user personas look like here.


After it was established two different pain-points that the user could experience while using this app. It was time to think about the possible ways that we could solve the problem while taking into account the different constraints.

By thinking about different alternatives for the users to navigate through the app. We were able to establish a clear path for the user so he can accomplish his goals in an easy and intuitive way. In that sense, this product has different paths to accomplish the main tasks of this product:

1. An easy and intuitive onboarding process where we explain how to use this product and its limitations. The user would know from the beginning what to expect from this app. This is important as we are trying to avoid the user to feel disappointed and know from the beginning the limitations of this product.

2. To pick-up the food, the user has to do a pre-check-in the day prior. On the same day, the user has to do a check-in and choose the time when to pick-up his order. Then, he only has to show a QR code to be able to pick-up his food freshly made.


To help ideas flow, nothing better than sketching to explore different concepts. To that end, I did the following exercises. First, some note taking to remember again the problems that the user faced and the different alternatives that we came out. Second, starting to sketch rough ideas on limited time. Third, I did some crazy 8’s to start exploring some transitions between screens. And, finally, taking some screens from the crazy 8’s I came with the final solution. .


After going through this whole process, getting to design the prototype in Adobe XD was the easiest part. Also, it was the fun part.  Of course, making the prototype in such a short time was challenging. But, after all,  that allowed me to test my skills to work under pressure.


Once, I finished designing the prototype it was time to show this final design to the stakeholders. After a productive meeting, we decide to do the following iterations:

- Add a numerical code in case the QR Code does not work properly.

- Add the option to see the allergens.

Final Product


Being able to work on a freelance project having to deliver good work in a short period of time was very challenging. However, this was proof that I can work under pressure  and also deal with clients which is a key aspect of every job.

Moreover, this project was challenging because we couldn’t do user interviews and conduct proper user testing. In this sense, it was a challenge having to think outside of the box and constantly advocate for the user.


Dealing with stakeholders that don’t necessarily understand the importance of user experience design can be hard. However, as a product designer, my role is to advocate for the user and trying to create the best experience possible with the tools and the time that I have.

Finally, I learned that sometimes it’s impossible to deliver the work the way you would want. That’s because, in business, time is money so it’s always necessary to have a business mindset.