UX Case Study: Panda Express

Panda Express Online Ordering – User Experience

I dug up this UX Case Study I did a couple of years ago on the Panda Express online ordering system, after a frustrating experience with it. See the SlideShare below for details. I recommend watching in full-screen to see all the notes (click the arrows icon on the lower right).

Although I no longer dine at Panda Express, out of curiosity, I went to their website to see how they have (hopefully) improved their online ordering system since 2014.

Ordering Panda Online 2014 vs. 2017

Although the designers at Panda Express have¬†updated some of their visuals, the ordering process is largely the same. You start out by choosing a restaurant location, then the time you want your order to be ready (either “as fast as possible” or a specific later time).

The process for building a plate is similar, but when it comes to continuing to add to your order, it’s just as confusing as before. In fact, more confusing. Whereas in 2014, the appropriate button to click if you wanted to add more plates to your order read “Finish Plate,” now it just reads “Finish.” That could be misinterpreted to mean “Finish order,” which of course would be frustrating if you wanted to place a larger order.

What did change was the checkout step. Before, clicking on “Checkout” led to a screen to review order details, where you had to click yet another “Checkout” button. Lame. Now, clicking “Checkout” leads to a form that prompts you for your name, email, and optional password and newsletter opt-in, with the next call-to-action button labeled “Continue.” That seems to make more sense. However, that’s as far as I explored the new ordering system, as I did not want to accidentally order something from Panda Express tonight.

In Conclusion

I’m curious as to what kind of feedback the folks at Panda Express are getting with regards to their online ordering platform. I would think a company of that size would have the resources to track metrics such as abandoned cart rates and at which step in the ordering process people give up. Then again, they probably get relatively few orders through their website, in which case perfecting the system may not be a priority for them.

All in all, this was a fun case study exercise to make and follow up on.

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