Katerina Samoilis - UX Designer
User Experience Designer
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Sainsbury's meal planner microsite

Sainsbury's meal planner microsite

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The Brief

As a leader in the grocery market, Sainsbury’s has decided to expand its services to include meal ingredients and delivery options. Sainsbury’s wants to create a microsite that allows customers to plan their meals, purchase the ingredients and have them delivered, packaged to their convenience. During this two week individual project, I followed the double diamond process to deliver a mid fidelity prototype.


Competitive Analysis

After conducting research on the current competitor landscape as well as asking users about their preferred online grocery/ recipe box services, I identified that, although there is some crossover in services, none encompassed all functionalities users required in one place. Some websites provided inspiration and recipe ideas, others provided recipe box delivery services but rigid recipe options, and finally there were the grocery sites (instore and online only) that provided little integration with regards to selecting and planning meals and then purchasing ingredients:

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Generating Personas

Sainsbury’s provided 3 key personas that would use the service, with different backgrounds and various requirements from the microsite, describing their current meal planning and shopping habits and listing their pain points. I identified Jackie, a 32 YO Marketing manager, as my key persona: she’s an influencer, career driven and encompassing the Sainsbury’s ideals, as an environmentally conscious individual who aims to eat healthily and avoid waste.

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Conducting user interviews

Interviewing users that matched Jackie’s persona helped identify further pain points in the current shopping experience:

“I would plan meals and make lists if it was easier than a lengthy manual process. That’s the only way I know how to do it.”

“It’s a bit overwhelming trying to pick the right retailer, they all have their pros and cons, and some have terrible delivery timekeeping.”

“I usually leave the online shopping process before I complete it because I cannot reach the £60 limit and the delivery options are too rigid”

Tracing Jackie’s current user journey

These findings were added to a visualisation of the user journey and pinpointed the areas that the microsite had to focus on, ensuring a painless experience with consistent user satisfaction every step of the way. I identified that the most painful parts of the current shopping process involved calculating ingredients and compiling a list, trying to find the right supplier based on the specific needs of the user, and then going through the payment process and trying to ensure the right choices were made.

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Research gathered on users like Jackie, as well as tracing her current experience, helped identify what the issues faced were, as well as reach a hypothesis of how these could be addressed:


A lack of time when grocery shopping meant users like Jackie couldn’t organise and prepare home cooked meals, meaning a lot of their shopping was not properly planned and resulted in food being wasted.


By creating a microsite that allowed Jackie to plan meals more efficiently, get inspiration, and be able to purchase only the food she needs for her selected meals, she will avoid unnecessary wastage and save time and money when grocery shopping.


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User flows and prototyping

With the findings provided by competitive analysis and user research, I started sketching out user flows that traced the journey the user will follow to complete certain primary tasks on the microsite, as well as drawing screens for how each step would be visualised, first on paper and then digitally. Card sorting was also used to ensure product categorisation was clear and easy to follow.

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Usability testing

During each step of the process, user feedback and usability testing helped ensure the language, labelling and functionality was clear, making the process more intuitive and easy to follow.

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An important aim was to ensure a user like Jackie had different options and avenues to reaching her goals,and that tasks were manageable, only requiring a few steps to reach completion.

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Onboarding processes were added to the ‘home’ and ‘meal planner’ page, helping Jackie acquaint herself with the process of planning her weekly meals, as well as breaking the process into three manageable steps.

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Interactive prototype:

The findings and refinement of usability testing helped with the delivery of a mid fidelity prototype of the Sainsbury’s Meal planner microsite.

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Jackie can now browse inspiration and plan her weekly meals by adding individual recipes to a weekly planner or choosing predetermined set plans. Her shopping list is automatically populated and any duplicate ingredients and deals are highlighted for her. When she’s ready to order, she can choose to from flexible delivery or collection options. Her profile section provides the ability for her to save recipes she likes for later, plan ahead or repeat and track past orders.


On the roadmap for future iterations of the microsite, there are several key functions that would be beneficial to all users and especially fit Jackie’s needs. These are:

  • Mobile app: Develop a way to plan and order meals on the go.

  • Tailored to you: Option to save certain dietary preferences that may apply to every shop.

  • Community: Enhance social features such as a youtube channel, cooking classes and recipe/meal plan sharing. Encourage and reward with competitions, offers and gifts.

  • Preferred ingredients: Apart from substituting, adding and removing ingredients, allow users to select from ranges of a particular product.