Boost! is an app that creates feel good moments at your local bar. How it works? Reward your waiter by sharing your collected coins or keep them to receive rewards yourself.
Keep in mind: They say giving makes you happier! (Anik, Aknin, Norton & Dunn, 2009)
As a final year student we have to make our first big personal project around a chosen topic. Kindness must be featured into our project and the end solution needs to be a digital interactive product.
Surveys, literature studies, thematic analysis, personas, wireframing, prototyping, usability testing
As a student it’s not common to give away money. Students indicate that they don’t have a lot of money and when they do they certainly don’t want to give it away for free. So what about the hospitality industry, where tipping has become a social norm?
In this project I look into how a tip in the hospitality industry can be replaced by a digital alternative. My research aims on students who go to cafes and employees who work in student cafes. I obtained the results of this study by means of surveys and several previous literature studies.
Some important information before proceeding
Restaurants and bars are the industries where tips are by far the most prominent (Azar, 2020). Although tipping is not mandatory, it has become a behaviour driven by social norm (Lynn and Simons, 2000). Star (1988) who published the book ‘The International Guide to Tipping’ indicates that in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, it is customary merely to round up the bill or to leave small change in addition to an automatic service charge.
Students indicate they go to a cafe 1 to 2 times a week on average. The majority never tips because of their financial status so they use verbal communication to thank the waiter. Those who tip, do this because of the waiter. Waiters, on the other hand, indicate they prefer to receive tips because of the financial freedom they have with it. Besides tips, they also value for verbal communication.
Out of the data, I made up some rules how the final solution should look like. It is important that the idea of giving a reward still needs to come from the customers themselves, we can’t offer it to them. When giving a reward it’s important that verbal communication is present. Also to retain the freedom, it’s important that the reward can still be given to a waiter and that the reward also only belongs to that waiter.
During this 5 week project I kept a blog where i wrote down all my notes, findings, thoughts, data, source files… The blog is divided the same way as the work below. So feel free to take a look (behind the scenes)!
How I got there
Short description of my working process
To be able to receive meaningful quantitative and qualitative data, I started with creating carefully crafted questions for my surveys. I also used academic papers to gain a broader understanding of my subject.
With this data I constructed a thematic analyses to organise the qualitative data that I received. I also established my target audience and made personas (student and employee). This analyse led to an insight and three design principles that clarify what the final solution should look like.
With these design principles in mind, I started to generate as many ideas as possible (diverge) and worked out the best of all these ideas (converge). I made wireframes and did usability testing to see where i could make improvements.
Some detective work
The surveys for the employees and students were created to gather quantitative and some qualitative data. This also allowed me to reach a large population and receive many responses. I recorded 44 responses from students who go to bars and 21 from employees who work in student bars.
I wanted to gather certain information from the students like how often they go to pubs, with how many people, how much they tip in bars, why they give or give not tips and what other ways they use to thank a waiter. I wanted to find out what kind of rewards students use in pubs and what their motives are.
From the employees I wanted to know some general info like their gender, age and work status. I wanted to find out how often they received tips from students, in which other ways they received ‘rewards’ from their customers and which way they prefer.
Viewing previous studies
I have also appealed to academic papers to increase the overall effectiveness of my research and gain a broader understanding of my subject.
Finding my way through all the data
With the tool Miro, I performed a thematic analyses on the qualitative data that I received from both the students and employees. First, I listed all the items they said per question. I looked at similar items within each question and sorted them into groups. Afterwards I named each of the groups with a label that best describes that group.
The Majority of the students never tip at pubs (53,5%). From the analysis I can conclude that why they don’t tip is because of the culture/norm in Belgium and their financial status. These were the two most common categories when I asked them why they never tip.
“Not really the custom in Belgium” (Participant 39, survey students)
“As a student I often don’t have a lot of money” (Participant 21, survey students)
45,2% of the participant give sometimes, often or very often tips, which is a lot more than I expected. When I asked them what their motive is to tip, the categorie ‘waiter‘ came out strongly. So the main reason to tip is because of the behaviour of the waiter.
“Because that person works hard when it is very busy and still picks up our orders quickly” (Participant 18, survey students)
“good smooth service, pleasant staff” (Participant 25, survey students)
“If there is a little change I sometimes say you can keep it” (Participant 24, survey students)
Verbal communication is the most used reward among the ones who never tip. I also asked the ones who tip, what other rewards they use. Verbal communication also came here out as the strongest. So excluding tipping, the most students reward the waiter with verbal communication
“I always say thank you kindly” (P39, survey students)
“By being kind” (P23, survey students)
The majority of the employees prefer receiving tips (76,2%). Out of the thematic analyses I can say that they prefer tips because of the financial freedom they have.
“In that way I can drink something after work”
(Participant 3, survey employees)
“Easy to spend on something random”
(Participant 10, survey employees)
“You then choose what to do with it”
(Participant 13, survey employees)
Besides tips, the majority of the employees appreciates receiving verbal communication from their customers.
“A compliment is always nice to receive”
(Participant 20, survey employees)
“Appreciation in words”
(Participant 17, survey employees)
Who am I designing for?
Out of the data of the surveys and secondary research, I have made two users (employee Hannah and student Vince) for whom I will be designing.
Out of the participating student, the majority goes to bars 1 to 2 times a week (66,7%) and do this together with 2 to 4 persons (61,9%). The ages range from 19 to 27 years old, with 20 being the most common age.
VINCE THE TRENDY MILLENNIAL
The second target user is Vince, a 20 year old student journalism who enjoys playing basketball and meeting with his friends.
Vince belongs, like most of the participating students (98%), to generation Z or like Prenksy (2001) says the ‘Digital Natives’.
A description from the study Journalism Artevelde: “You are a digital native who can also work digitally, and you understand that a journalist in the 21st century operates cross-media.”
Get to know Vince:
The majority of the participating employees, who work in student bars, are women’s and work as students in the bar (57,1%). The ages range from 18 to 43 years old, with 23 being the most common age.
HANNAH THE SOCIAL BUSY BEE
The first target user is Hannah, a 23 year old student event management. She works in a student bar to finance her student life. Hannah loves to stay up to date with the latest trends.
Also here, the majority of the participating employees (80%) belongs to the ‘digital native’ generation (Prenksy 2001). Here is also a description according to Rothman (2016): “This generation is tech-savvy and prefers to communicate using social media over direct contact with people” (p. 2)
Get to know Hannah:
Connecting all the data and clarify the final solution
I wrote down the most important data that I received from the thematic analysis, and started to compare and try to recognize patterns. And yes, this allowed me to discover some interesting things. I found one insight and put together a set of 3 design principles to clarify what the final solutions should look like.
Giving a tip is a personal choice based on the situation.
Out of the data analyse of the studentsI found that the main reason to tip is because of the behaviour of the waiter. I can substantiate this on the basis of the study of Lynn (2009) where she examines individual differences in self-attributed motives for tipping. Out of here survey the most common reason for tipping was because of the good service they had received. Gambetta (2006) conducted a study where he investigated the micro motives that lead people to tip or not to tip. Such of those motives are self-interest, reciprocity, sympathy, guilt, or any other motivations that can take place. Gambetta (2006) concluded that everyone has (a) different motivation(s) to tip.
Some examples: you had a very kind waiter and you tip him to show gratitude, It was very crowded in the pub and the waiter had so much work but still did a great job and you rewarded him out of compassion.
So when customers tip, it’s because of a personal reason and that reason is based on the situation, it’s a personal choice based on the situation.
Let the customer choose
I made this design principles out of the insight ‘giving a tip is a personal choice based on the situation’. It’s important that each customer still has his own motive to reward someone. To maintain this, it is important that we don’t offer the option (to reward) to them. The idea to give a reward still needs to come from the customers themselves. Another thing I want to avoid is that when we do offer this, they have the option to turn it down, which can make them feel bad. It is therefore important that the customer still can choose what to do.
Out of the analysis of the students we saw that verbal communication is the most common reward among the students. On the other hand, we saw that the majority of the employees prefer to receive tips. When I asked them what they like to receive besides tips, the majority also referred to verbal communication. From this I can deduce that verbal communication plays a major role in giving rewards. So we need to make sure that verbal communication is present during the giving of rewards.
Rewards belong to someone
Out of the analyse of the employees we saw that they prefer tips because of the financial freedom they have. They only have this financial freedom because the tips that they receive, belongs to them. I want to retain this freedom so it’s important that the reward can still be given to a waiter and that the reward also only belongs to them.
Finding a (perfect) solution
With my design principles in mind, I started to generate as many ideas as possible. After working out some initial ideas, having several discussions with my dad about it and receiving feedback from my coach, I (finally) arrived at my final concept.
The application Boost!
Create feel good moments at your local bar!
Collect coins with our digital loyalty card app and choose wether you share them with your waiter or keep them for yourself. Boost! is a digital alternative for tipping and allows you to give an extra reward to your waiter.
Joyn is a loyalty card that customers can use at all their favorite local merchants, while still saving for nice rewards at each merchant separately. For you, as a merchant, behind the digital loyalty card is a user-friendly but powerful loyalty platform, with which you turn every customer into a regular customer. (Joyn, 2020)
Out of a study from Demoulin and Zidda (2008), where they investigated the impact of loyalty cards on store loyalty, they concluded that holders of a loyalty card are more loyal and less price sensitive when they are satisfied with the reward scheme.
The biggest differences is that Boost! focuses only on the bar / pub / cafe industry and to receive the coins the customers need to scan a QR-code on their table that’s linked to what they have ordered. The most important addition is the feature where customers can share their coins with waiters as a reward (digital alternative for tipping). They can do this by scanning their waiter at the photo board in the bar and giving coins. In turn, the waiter also saves coins for free drinks at participating bars.
Let’s make some wireframes!
In the app there is a difference between being a waiter or a customer. So i made screens of the app for both the waiter’s and the customer’s point of view. Afterwards I made a clickable prototype from the wireframes.
The customer’s point of view
At the pub
The first time that our customers come in touch with Boost! is at the pub. On every table there’s a board with some ‘advertising’ about the app. They need to download the app and scan the QR-code of their table to collect coins.
When leaving the pub they can find a photo board with pictures of the waiters. Here they can scan a waiter and give him/her coins.
These wireframes are based on the Joyn app. When the customers are logged in, they immediately see an overview of their collected coins per cafe. If they click on a cafe they see a list of rewards and when they have available rewards they can generate the QR-code and receive free drinks. When clicking on the ‘balans’ button they can see when they received or spent coins.
The second tab is the ‘scan’ tab. They can scan the QR-code of their table to automatically receive coins or scan their waiter at the photo board to give coins.
In the last tab the customers find their notifications. They get notifications when they receive or spend coins.
The waiter’s point of view
At the pub
At the pub, every waiter can choose to participate the system or not. When they want to participate, It’s their responsibility to place their photo on the board.
At the home page the waiter sees his coins and a list with free drinks from which he may choose. The waiter can spend the coins, in another bar after work hours, by clicking on the drink he likes. He receives a QR-code that needs to be scanned by a waiter.
Here, the waiter can find a list of all the received rewards together with the positive points.
In the balance tab the waiter can see what he has received and spent. The received coins from the customers are divided per day in order to avoid losing the overview of coins he already has spent.
Finding gaps in the app
After finishing my low fidelity prototype, it was time to test it out with usability testing and see where i can make improvements. I asked one student and one waiter, who fits in my target audience, to use my app. I came up with five tasks for the student and three for the waiter.
The tasks of the student: (1) Go to a cafe and use the app (sign up and scan), (2) you receive a notification, (3) you can get something for free in The Social Club, (4) you want to see what you have drank in the Social Club, (5) after paying the bill you leave the cafe and reads the board that you pass.
The tasks of the waiter: (1) you received a notification and want to see it, (2) after your work you go to De Dingen and want to have a free water, (3) afterwards you want to see what you have spent and received.
What are the gaps?
I filmed both the usability tests, which made it easy to revisit them and find all the problems that were occurred. I categorised these problems by page.
I got feedback that it would be easy to have the option to login/sign up with social media. The button ‘ben je een ober? klik hier’ is not clear enough, it needs to be more noticeable.
It’s not clear at which cafe you are navigating.
The item ‘Balance’ didn’t stand out. It wasn’t easy to find.
Not clear what to do after receiving the succes notifications.
Didn’t expected to find the drinks here. Expected an overview of al the tabs.
What I improved
In the login/sign up screens I added the option to continue with facebook or Google. I removed the option to login as waiter with a code. Every waiter will have an account to which he can simply log in so the waiter doesn’t need to sign up.
Since it wasn’t clear at which cafe the customer was navigating, I made all the headers the same with ‘Boost!’ on top and the pub their navigating below with the coins.
I have made the rewards that the client has not yet achieved lighter, which makes the balance button stand out more.
I added an “X” to the succes pages to have a more clear way how to close it/exit the page.
My participant expected an overview with all the things he could do in the app. After the usability test, I also found that the current homepage wasn’t good. I made an overview page for the waiter, where he can see his coins, received rewards and balance. From there he can navigate to the different tabs or use the navigation at the bottom (where I also made a little change).
Something that I have noticed
At the balance tab from both the waiter and customer I changed the ‘>’ symbol. It looked like you were going to continue navigating to another page so I changed it to ‘+’.
Curious about the full flow of the app?
I made clickable wireframes in Figma of my app Boost!. Because the waiter and the customer have different views of the app, you first need to choose which view you want to see.
In this project I looked into how a tip in the hospitality industry can be replaced by a digital alternative. My research aims on students who go to cafes and employees who work in student cafes. We obtained the results of this study by means of surveys and several previous literature studies.
Out of secondary research I found that restaurants and bars are the industries where tips are by far the most prominent (Azar, 2020). Although tipping is not mandatory, it has become a behaviour driven by social norm (Lynn and Simons, 2000). Star (1988) indicates that in Belgium it is customary merely to round up the bill or to leave small change in addition to an automatic service charge.
Students indicate they go to a cafe 1 to 2 times a week on average. The majority never tips because of their financial status so they use verbal communication to thank the waiter. Those who tip, do this because of the waiter. Waiters, on the other hand, indicate they prefer to receive tips because of the financial freedom they have with it. Besides tips, they also value for receiving verbal communication.
Out of these results I put together a set of 3 design principles. The idea of giving a reward to the waiter still needs to come from the customers themselves. We can’t offer them the option. When giving a reward it’s important that verbal communication is present. Also to retain the freedom it’s important that the reward can still be given to a waiter and that the reward also only belongs to that waiter.
With these design principles I made the application ‘Boost!’. It’s an digital loyalty card app where you can collect coins by ordering drinks in participating cafes. The customers collect coins with which they can receive free drinks or can give coins to the waiter as an extra reward for good service. In turn, the waiter also saves coins for free drinks. With the received coins, the waiter can receive free drinks in participating bars. But the customers can only spend their coins in the same bar.
Boost! is a digital alternative for tipping in bars and allows you to give an extra reward to your waiter.
Where I could improve
Before I started the project, a second lockdown was declared. All cafes, bars and pubs were closed so it wasn’t possible to test out my digital product in its original environment. This is definitely something I would have liked to have done.
I also did not have enough time to do a second round of usability testing to improve my prototype.
Sources I used:
Artevelde. (2020, 4 december). Wat zal je leren? Arteveldehogeschool Gent. https://www.arteveldehogeschool.be/opleidingen/bachelor/journalistiek/wat-zal-je-leren. Accessed on 24 November 2020.
Anik, L., Aknin, L. B., Norton, M. I., & Dunn, E. W. (2009). Feeling Good About Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior. SSRN Electronic Journal, 7–11. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1444831. Accessed on 6 december 2020.
Azar, O. H. (2020). The Economics of Tipping. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 34(2), 215–236. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.34.2.215. Accessed on 22 November 2020.
Demoulin, N. T. M., & Zidda, P. (2008). On the impact of loyalty cards on store loyalty: Does the customers’ satisfaction with the reward scheme matter? Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 15(5), 386–398. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2007.10.001. Accessed on 7 december 2020.
De Morgen. (2019, 17 mei). Spaar punten terwijl je betaalt: Payconiq en Joyn slaan handen in elkaar. De Morgen. https://www.demorgen.be/nieuws/spaar-punten-terwijl-je-betaalt-payconiq-en-joyn-slaan-handen-in-elkaar~b28eb5d1/
Gambetta, D. (2006). What makes people tip: Motivations and predictions. Le Libellio d’Aegis, 2(3), 2-10. Accessed on 26 November 2020.
Joyn. (2020). Maak fans van je klanten. https://www.joyn.eu/nl/digitale-klantenkaart-en-marketingplatform-in-een?gclid=CjwKCAiAiML-BRAAEiwAuWVggq04hXm6zna68v9ApatMpUmhxMe5ttpmi4aFU6nR6es7OtnhLbhSbxoCwVoQAvD_BwE. Accessed on 10 December 2020.
Lynn, M. (2009). Individual differences in self-attributed motives for tipping: Antecedents, consequences, and implications. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 28(3), 432–438. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2008.10.009. Accessed 30 November 2020
Lynn, M. & Simons, T. (2000). Predictors of male and female servers’ average tip earning. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30, 241-252. Accessed on 26 November
Prenksy, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved from https://marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf. Accessed on 21 November 2020.
Rothman, D. (2016). A Tsunami of Learners Called Generation Z. Retrieved from https://www.mdle.net/Journal/A_Tsunami_of_Learners_Called_Generation_Z.pdf. Accessed on 21 November 2020.
Starr, N., 1988. The International Guide to Tipping. Berkeley, New York. Accessed on 22 November 2020
Giving makes happier
In a study conducted by Anik, Aknin, Norton & Dunn (2009) happiness was measured between people who spend money on something for themselves or people who spend it on a gift for someone else. Results showed that the participants that spent their money to someone else where happier at the end of the day.