CASE STUDY – 2021
Tiller + Grain
Working to elavate the T+G profile
(work in progress)
Chef Clair Dowling created Tiller + Grain in 2019 with the vision of bringing nutritious, delicious, seasonal food to the masses as well as fostering an inviting, friendly space in which to work and enjoy the food in.
Clair’s passion for local, seasonal produce as well as sustainability is palpable and she carries this over when chatting with her customers or doing cookery demos. She has built up a very loyal customer base who themselves have become very passionate about what she’s doing and the food she produces.
Research / Testing / Strategy / Copy / Design & Build (WordPress)
Shout out to Conor McGrath for development help on the menu.
*This project is ongoing and so it and this case study are a work in progess*
As part of starting the T+G website rebuild project (outlined in above Case Study 1) I carried out stakeholder interviews with the T+G team. When I chatted to Clair about her vision, much of it was in relation to increasing awareness around food education and raising her public profile.
And so in tandem with the website restructuring I examined how we could go about bringing Clair’s personality to the forefront as well as ideating around what features we could potentially use to build a quality content foundation that could be used to build the Tiller + Grain public profile.
And so with the new site currently live in something of an MVP state, a lot of the features arrived upon in this case study will be implemented over 2021/2022.
When discussing her vision for Tiller + Grain, Clair expressed her desire to:
– Raise her public profile
– Create more awareness around food education
– Work on building the T+G community and introduce a newsletter
– Improve social media presence and introduce
– Specifically reach 10k followers on Instagram
Overall the desire from the team was to have a website that was more in-line with the personality of the shop and was structurally more concise with current offerings (in particular bakery) being more obvious.
So while this was the overarching goal of the website rebuild project, Clair’s vision was integrated into the ideation process and formed the basis for longer term customer journey visualization.
Some other initial processes carried out and covered in Case Study 1 were:
– Targeted Customer Feedback Survey
– Keyword Analysis
– Competitor Analysis
– UX Project Questionnaire
– Design Principles
– Initial Usability Testing of current site – checking assumptions
Some key points in relation to this case study were:
– A survey showed that current customers valued the vibrancy of T+G ingredients and that it was something ‘a bit different’
– The competitor analysis showed that there was an opportunity to differentiate by integrating engaging, educational food content
– Customers valued building a relationship with Clair and the T+G team
“What’s a Big Green Egg..? I don’t know what that is…”
(initial usability testing)
The elements of Clair’s vision were mutually inclusive and opportunities as to how we could build this vision immediately presented themselves, both via the product itself and through initial usability testing, with informative and engaging evergreen content being the most practical and immediately actionable solution.
When testing the project requirement assumptions at the start of the project, one user wondered what a ‘Big Green Egg’ was, as this indoor BBQ was mentioned in the ‘About our Food’ section. This brought to mind a glossary I had previously incorporated on the back of a restaurant menu (Hey Donna) which had been a hit with customers (and busy staff).
Incorporating a similar feature into the T+G website that explained some of the lesser known menu items would start providing some engaging educational content that would help drive more traffic to the site through the various channels (social, newsletter), backlinks and SEO.
‘Hey Donna’ Glossary
With seasonal Irish veg being central to the T+G offering, showcasing these veg in an ’employee of the month’ style feature was another way to possibly create engaging cross-channel content that highlighted this seasonality ethos of T+G as well as educate people a bit about the quality of our local produce.
A blog with articles written by Clair has the potential to really accelerate the T+G profile growth, however the time-investment required on behalf of Clair meant that feature is likely to be rolled out later in the year.
As this project was carried out during pandemic lockdown in Dublin and my opportunities for in-person face-time with the T+G team as a whole were limited, I introduced them to The Glossary/Top of the Crops features etc by way of texting them all the link to the med-fidelity prototypes during a site visit.
I treated the features as discoverable in order to garner an honest reaction from the team as I invited them to think outloud as they browsed the new site prototype.
Some features incorporated at this point that were aligned to Clair’s vision were:
Team profile page with bios for Clair as well as her key players. Clair’s bio has a button option that allowed you to contact her directly
Intro section for The Glossary on the home page, and Glossary page in the menu
Top of the Crops feature on the About Our Food page
Newsletter signup section towards the end of each page
Placement of images that featured Clair and more smiling faces in general
Food Ethos, Sustainability and Supplier info on the About Our Food page
While team feedback on the med-fidelity prototypes was positive and ‘The Glossary’ and ‘Top of The Crops’ got a very good reaction, as with Case Study 1, it became apparent that due to the time-crunch the team was under, I needed to fast-track getting a more finished looking prototype together in order to get more productive feedback, and push forward to testing with some customers.
Once Clair approved the visual direction of the site, I pushed ahead with higher fidelity prototypes as when testing with customers the new personality of the site was key.
While the usability testing was mainly focused on the new site structure, ease of ordering and overall personality of the site, I wanted to also gauge customer reaction to The Glossary and Top of the Crops as discoverable features. And so if they hadn’t already come across these features I asked them to explore the site a little further.
I carried out initial usability testing with two valued T+G customers and overall reaction was very positive. While a lot of the testing was concerned with the ordering processes, the overall personality of the prototype was deemed to be much more inline with the real-life café experience.
When The Glossary was discovered it went down very well with one customer exclaiming ‘excellent idea!’. The Top of the Crops feature was also deemed to be very good if a little hidden.
Both initial customers liked the content features, however both said ‘there’s a lot there’ when browsing the site. And so in order to streamline testing as the functional aspect of this project was key, I pared back site content somewhat and removed the Top of the Crops feature as while it got a positive reaction, it’s something that could be implemented through the newsletter/blog etc.
Further usability testing is covered in Case Study 1
This aspect of the T+G project is still underway however customer reaction so far in relation to proposed content has been very positive. Tiller + Grain has opened properly again with constant requests for catering and workshops coming in. The community is very much growing and will form a solid arena into which to introduce T+G evergreen content.