Star - Shipt Design Challenge

Rate and Identify Rock-star Restaurant Servers

Star cover
  • Individual Work
  • Interaction Design
  • 5 hours
My Role
  • Product Designer
What I Did
  • Needs Assessment
  • Product Design

Design Challenge

Design an experience to rate individual wait staff and help secure future employment for them

As soon as I read the design prompt, I realized that there are 2 layers of the problem –

  1. How might customers rate individual servers?
  2. How might the reviews from customers help servers and future/potential employers in the hiring process?

Solution Overview

Scan receipts to rate servers

Stars allows diners to scan restaurant receipts, QR code associated with a server or use key word search to rate their wait staff – with precision. In addition, customers can save the hassle of trying to recall the name of the servers when they’re trying to file a complaint or submit compliments for individual servers.

Star overview
Screens of Star

Layer 1

How might customers rate individual servers?

One of the biggest challenge that came to mind when it comes to rating individual servers is precision.

As I reflected on my past experience when shopping in-store, I was often asked, “Did anyone help you today?” and so often, I couldn’t recalled the name, which left me either in an awkward situation of trying to describe the person at the cashier or simply gave up by saying, “No one helped me today.”

Likewise when I went to an exotic restaurant, due to unfamiliarity, I couldn’t recall the name nor recognize the server’s face. Hence, designing a mechanism that affords precise rating experience is of great importance.

Precision is key to rating
Precision is key to the success of rating individual servers. Unfamiliarity with names can lead to imprecision and customers giving up.

Brainstorming: Ways to rate individual servers

What are some of the existing solutions in rating service provider?

Since there aren’t existing solutions for rating individual servers, I decided to look more broadly into how service providers are matched and rated in different format --

Drivers (ex: Uber, Lyft)
Restaurants/Hotels (ex: Yelp, Tripadvisor)
In-Store (ex: Victoria’s Secret)

Wireframe Flow: Rate a server

Knowing the pros and cons of existing solutions, I decided to take advantage of both the physical space and the search feature by introducing a scan to search feature, which allows for precision -- as most receipts include the name of the server or are associated with one – since the tips go to a specific wait staff.

Scan a receipt to rate a server
At checkout, customers receive receipts that's associated with a server, which set the foundation for rating individual servers.

Layer 2

How might the reviews from customers help servers and future/potential employers in the hiring process?

Current Situation

Even though most employers tried to be as comprehensive as they could in the interview process, it’s actually hard to know how the server would perform in the long-run. The candidate can have the perfect answer for all the behavioral question but they might not act as they say.

Interview doesn't fully reflect how servers truly acts on the job
It's hard to make a precise prediction on how the server would perform in reality via an interview.

Customer rating can help bridge the gap between potential employers and server candidates. In my design, customers are asked for their constructive feedback in the first place. If a customer rates a server for more than 3 stars, they would be prompted to endorse servers’ skills – where they performed well.

Some of my considerations when designing for the screen includes:

  1. Not overwhelming the customers in the default rating screen
  2. It’s important to communicate how the endorsement can help the server -- who created a wonderful restaurant experience for the diner, to increase customer’s willingness to endorse and be careful when they’re endorsing their server
Endorsement for skills
If customers are satisfied with the server's service, they would be encouraged to endorse for the servers' skills to help servers secure their future employment.


Planning is important under time constraint.

Working under a 5-hour time constraint can be terrifying as it doesn’t allow for too much time on comprehensive research nor to craft my design. However, by drafting a plan and allocating some time every day to work on the design challenge helped ease my anxiety of not being able to finish the work on time.


I kept my process rather simple during the 5-hour timeframe – I started off by reflecting on my personal experience of giving credit to a service provider and then researched online to gain knowledge of what makes great restaurant experience and how wait staff specifically can have influence on that before I started to sketch and iterate with pencils. Having a rough pencil wireframe really helps speed up the whole process of visualizing the screens. Still, I realized that it’s hard to implement both flows for customer/diner and server apps. Alternatively, I replaced the server app flow with an endorsement screen to create a bridge for how a feature from the customer app can be linked to potential feature in the server app – to help secure employment.

Final Thoughts

I think having design candidates to work under a 5-hour constraint is a great way to understand how designers would navigate through ambiguity and stress. Overall, I really enjoy the design challenge as it allows me to think more strategically of how to communicate my ideas through minimum design.