Breaking Down the Sweetgreen iOS App
Sweetgreen, iOS App
So I’ve never actually used the sweetgreen app. I mean, I’ve had it on my phone for about a year and I play around with it pretty often, but I’ve never used it for it’s primary purpose; to pre-order a salad.
I guess I figure if I leave it on my home screen long enough maybe one day I’ll accidentally order a salad and that will kickstart a new lifestyle of shredded cabbage and Quinoa. But until that day I’ll stick to pizza and admiring the imaginative and elegant user experience my healthitarian brethren over at Sweetgreen constructed.
Transitions as smooth as their housemade hummus.
You may not expect a company once referred to as “the next Chipotle” to develop an app with inspirational UX but I’ll tell you what, that’s exactly what those kale-lovin salad-jockeys did. When they decided to build an app sometime in late 2016 they went all-in.
They brought in the movers and shakers over at Gin Lane to lead the project, built out an internal tech team of their own and spent a year designing and developing what they felt was the optimal mobile experience. And what came out of it was pretty damn impressive… and not just for a bunch of guys who specialize in selling spinach leaves to health nuts.
One of their primary purposes for building a native app was to help “bridge the gap” between healthy eating and convenience. Basically they were trying to figure out how to fight the now infamous lines that accumulate at most locations during the lunch rush.
The Sweetgreen team said they used Uber as inspiration when designing their app. You can see this as you go through the experience. Ordering a car to take you from location A to B and ordering a salad for lunch should both be linear processes where it is clear to the user what the next step is.
The goal for the Sweetgreen user is to place an order. The goal for ✎ Gin Lane and the Sweetgreen team was to take that user on as frictionless of a journey as possible to achieve their goal. The approach they chose was not a very common one but successful all the same.
The Sweetgreen app makes use of a top down navigation pattern. Each screen has oneclear objective. The user’s only options are to step backward on their journey by tapping the button at the top of the screen or complete the screen objective (i.e ‘choose a restaurant location’) and step forward on their path by hitting the button at the bottom of the screen.
The transitions between screens are so seamless as one slides up off the top of the screen and the next enters from the bottom that the entire journey from welcome to checkout feels almost like it took place entirely on one screen.
If you‘ve never used the Sweetgreen app be sure to go check it out. It may not inspire you to eat healthy but it could give you an idea for your next mobile app design project.
No duh… but wait!
Pinterest, iOS App
Alright, so Pinterest may not be the unexpected source of design inspiration that SweetGreen is but if you haven’t looked at their app recently you should go check it out. I really admire the way Pinterest has been innovating. Unlike some other tech companies that prefer feature-cloning their competitors (*cough* Facebook), Pinterest listens to the needs and goals of their users and makes feature updates accordingly.
They’ve released quite a few new features since the turn of the year but there is one in particular that I love. They call it “Instant Ideas”. In past iterations of Pinterest, it was easy for a user to get lost in a endless stack of modals after just a short time browsing, bouncing from one pin to the next, following whatever catches the eye.
Now, if a user sees a pin that interests them and they want to see more like it, they just tap that nifty little circle button and a few more similar pins are dropped directly into the feed they are already scrolling through. No tabs, no modals, no going back a dozen times. It’s such a simple and pragmatic solution that you begin to wonder why every feed doesn’t have a button like this. As Josh Constine puts it in Tech Crunch,
“This button is a lightweight, real-time way to dive deeper into a topic without getting lost down the rabbit hole. And every app needs this button.”
If you want to check out all the other features Pinterest has added recently take a look at their blog post on “Visual Discovery”.
That’s it for this first edition. If you have any feedback please tweet at meand be sure to share if you enjoyed it!
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