Designing a mobile app for an Annual Food Festival

Greater Des Moines Food Festival has grown from a small fest to one of the largest food festivals in America.

At Des Moines, attendees connected with the large selection of incredible popup shops to browse, including cuisines from Italy, Mexico, India, American and several other types of cuisines.

Each day, more than 2,000 people availed discounts through the platform.

Whether traveling for business or leisure, participants can instantly discover shop items and offer quickly and easily.

User reviews

I reached out to good hints from user reviews which have not highlighted relevant issues about usability or functionalities. I’ve categorised the functionality into 3 groups:

  • Pain Points
  • Design
  • Prototype

Pain points

We developed the following considerations:

  1. There is not a proper solution to cover the venues that have been created from the dashboard. It seems that the user needs to have all the information required to get a suitable result.
  2. There are not functionalities to improve the user experience considering each persona identified.
  3. UI could be improved and made more user-centric rather than “sales-centric”
  4. There are issues related to the booking cancellation and to reaching out the hosts


Starting from the pain point, we tried to find solutions to solve them and introduce new features overall to improve the user experience.


Overall, there were many changes to the current homepage. The searching process has been completely redesigned, trying to avoid too much information being required to get a result in the first instance


We’ve designed a new Tab Bar, pulling out the “scan” button from the IA, so the user can quickly have access to its own saved properties. Furthermore, I introduced the new section “Profile” which I’ll explain better later.


Restaurants are even more integrated with the festival. So why shouldn’t it be included even in the app? We’ve included a new feature that allows the user to check-in to a restaurant with their profile and to see the latest available dishes to be chosen by them and some quick discounts. We’ve relegated this feature to the homepage as I want to collect more data about it before rolling it out across other sections.

Listing page

The listing page shows many overall changes to improve usability:

  • We changed the filter from 3 to 2 buttons to reduce the user’s step — it also remains at the bottom to have a quicker and easier access
  • I added a label to identify the section type
  • The main facilities offered by the property have been shown to the user In the first instance.

Note: Leveraging the personas data, the property listing can be customised to highlight relevant information which each persona is looking for.

  • I converted the price to “for 2 people” instead of “total” to make the comparison easier between properties

Restaurant Detail

Average reviews and pricing info is shown. I’d also like to highlight a minor feature related to the location, in which the user is able to view the place of the restaurant in an app.


The profile shows very concise data. We have shown previously visited restaurants if so the user needs to go back to change their rating or recall what store/restaurant they visited through the festival.

  • The clear and spacious feeling was a major factor in the design process.
  • Restaurant name and area were moved down from the image.
  • Other useful information like the cost for two, timings, cuisines, and any other note was brought upfront.
  • Information is still shown in tabs but now it’s a long scroll, which was working as separate tabs before.
  • UI change of the overall page.


And with a few check-ins here and there during the handoff, a month passed and before we knew it, the app was on the app store and getting loads of love from the visitors at the festival.

The client was super happy with the result…

Let us know what you think of the app, and tell us if you’re thinking of building a product — we’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the process!

Brewing an idea in mind? We would love to hear about it.

Solving Product problems with Intelligent & Neat Design.