The User Experience (UX) of In-N-Out Burger

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In-N-Out is a very popular regional chain of fast food restaurant located in west coast, mostly in California. I first heard of it was when I was researching for my trip to San Francisco and LA. Some bloggers strongly recommended that everyone should go try it if visiting California. Therefore, my boyfriend and I went there in great expectation, and we didn’t get disappointed at all. Its menu was extremely simple- only two kinds of burger, regular hamburger or cheeseburger, and you can choose double or triple meat as you want. The most interesting part was that they had a list of secret menu, and it was not on the menu and only by word of mouth, which meant if your friends didn’t tell you about this, you would never know the secret menu. For example, “Flying Dutchman” is double beef with double cheese without any bread or vegetable, “Neapolitan Shake” is chocolate-strawberry-vanila swirl favor, and well known “Animal style” is burger or fries with thick cheese and grilled onion  mix sauce.

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For In-N-Out‘s UX (user experience) across platforms, I check their site on iPad, laptop, and smartphone.

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They do have app on smartphone for both iOS and Android system, but unfortunately, they don’t have an app for tablet, so I access their website on iPad through Safari.  In-N-Out does design a special layout for its website on Safari, which is different from those of laptop and smartphone. The design is simple and clear with eight icons in the middle and photo of In-N-Out restaurant as background. The top three icons are for purchase information: Menu, Location Finder, and check your Giftcard Balance, which is useful and convenient for those who want to buy burgers. The second layer is for branding purpose: Foundation, History, and Download. In Foundation, they show that they sponsor The Child Abuse Foundation to help abused and neglected children. In History, they show big events happened since they opened first store in 1948. In Download, they provide several In-N-Out wallpapers and ringtone, as well as official mobile app. The last two icons are Contact and Full Site. In Contact, you can see their toll-free number to customer service associate and a form where you can leave your comments and contact information. Overall, it’s user centered, in clear, simple order, and I can easily find anything I want to know about them.

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On their website with my Mac, the contents are pretty similar but slightly different. The four main icons in the middle are Location Founder, Food Quality and Menu, Merchandise, and Employment. Still, they maintain the focus on providing information of products and location for customers who want to make purchase. Different from the experience using iPad, they add Merchandise, where they sell several In-N-Out’s T-shirts, accessaries, and gift cards.  Also, they add Employment icon, where you can fill out an application to available positions in In-N-Out, and a page of nutrition information of their food. The feeling I have here is different from that with iPad- it’s more like a real corporate selling and recruiting, which is more formal and has more distance.

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On smartphone, In-N-Out has an mobile app for both Android system and iOS. The contents are quite similar to those on iPad- Locations, Menu, Gift Card Balance, Downloads, and History. The difference is that there are Settings, and Share. You can set in your Email, Facebook, and Foursquare, and in Share “Tell Your Friend”, you can easily share this app with your friend by email or Facebook. This In-N-Out’s mobile app provides dinning information in a simple layout as laptop and website do, but features more on social sharing, letting users to refer this app to friends, which appears younger and energetic.

Overall, the user experience of using the three platform of In-N-Out is all very pleasant. Their design are pretty similar, all use the same color combination from the logo and photo of the restaurant as background, which shows the restaurant’s personality- live and passion. They are all user centered- I can easily find information about food and location and submit comments to them.

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A very interesting thing is that because their secret menu has become so famous, now they have a Not-So-Secret-Menu on their website, showing the well-known choices such as the animal style, and clam that you might hear “rumors” about the secret menu, however, they don’t have any secret in reality, they just want to make customers happy so let customers order customized burgers. Brilliant marketing, isn’t it?

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