Method and Test Scenarios



Payr is an iPhone application that helps you split bills when paying at a restaurant. It makes interactions like figuring out how much each person owes, calculating tip and tax, splitting shared dishes, and deciding payment type easier and more organized. In addition, it sends the individual payment amount and payment method to the waitstaff so that it is easier to keep track of who is paying what. In no part of the interaction is confidential financial information transmitted.

Because of the device choice of our product (the IPhone), we chose to focus our user testing on personas that more closely matched Joe, Liz, and Tom.  Therefore, we interviewed students from Olin, Wellesley, and Babson Colleges as well as professionals.  Participants received a bit of background on the project and the concept of paper prototypes before being read a scenario (above).  Additionally, we asked participants to verbalize their actions and thoughts so we could better understand how they were interacting.

While we had a manner in which we expected the participants to interact with the paper prototype, when they did something unexpected, we worked to redesign the prototype on the fly.  Upon completion of a scenario, several questions (listed above) were asked.  Generally, participants went through 2 scenarios in a session so that we could observe how they would interact with the design after having a preliminary level of familiarity with the interface.

Set up

We will simulate a restaurant environment by having several stick figures act as dinner party members. The user will be given only a receipt and the front page of the application, and the goal of each scenario.


Scenario 1: Splitting Evenly with Close Friends


The goal of this scenario is to see how users split the bill evenly and to see how the system handles exceptions. This is the simplest scenario, representing what many users will do most often, so the emphasis of the design is quick and easy.


“You are at a Not Your Average Joe's with your 3 other housemates. You regularly eat out with each other and generally just split the bill evenly.”

Setting A

You all typically leave a 15% tip, but prefer not to have awkward amounts of change, so you’ll often simply round up.  Use the Payr iPhone app to calculate how much each person owes, including tip”
(We will give them a receipt with items and prices listed.)

Setting B

This time, 2 people each got a beer.  With the exception of these drinks, the bill should be split evenly (again with a 15% tip).  How much does each person owe?”
(We will give them receipt with item and price listed.)


Scenario 2: Splitting By Item With Acquaintances


The goal of this scenario is to see how easily users are able to split a meal by items.  We are especially curious to see how large amounts of information will be remembered and whether Payr will be seen as a hindrance or a helpful tool. This is a typical scenario, but requires some customization capability. Again, our emphasis is in ease of use, but also in flexibility and ease of reversing mistakes.


"You are at Masala Art with a group of 4 others (Albert, Bryan, Charles, Dianne).  You know everyone there from high school but haven’t seen them in a few months.  You have agreed that everyone will pay for their own meal."

Setting A

Albert got Chicken Masala and a coke.  Bryan got the Vindaloo and a Sam Adams beer.  Charles got Tandoori Chicken and a glass of water. Dianne also got Chicken Masala and water.  You got Malai Kofta and a mango lassi.  Calculate how much each person owes.

Setting B

Same as above, except you also got an appetizer (2 orders of Samosas) which you all are splitting evenly.

Scenarios 3: Splitting and Paying Separately in a Large Group


To see how easy it is to pay using the different methods among numerous people. In this scenario, we are trying to break the system by puting in as many exceptions as we can. This will be the least common use of our application, so although we would like our application to be scalable to this capability, we are not focusing on ease of use.


You are out to eat with 8 different people, some of whom you know very well, and some whom you have never met before. You are trying to figure out how much each person is planning on using Payr.

Subtask A

Depending on what people have on them, some decided to pay in cash, some decided to pay in credit, and you are paying with debit. You all agree to pay for your meal, with the exception of the vermonster (super-sized ice cream), which will be split evenly.

(listed amount doesn't include vermonster, which is $15.49)
Andy: credit
Barry: debit (you)
Cathy: credit
Daniel: check
Ellen: cash (only has 20s)
Felicia: credit
Gerald: cash (only has 5 bucks total)
Henry: cash AND 20% off the meal.

(Gives everyone the receipt)


General questions

Pre-scenario questions

    • - "Do you use an Iphone or other handheld device?"
    • - "How do you usually pay bills at a restaurant?"
    • - "Do you like using technology to do stupid little things?"
    • - "Would you consider yourself a stingy or generous person when it comes to paying?"

Post-scenario questions

    • - "Would you use this app? Is it easier than the alternative?"
    • - "Were you comfortable using this app?"
    • - Are the functions of the buttons apparent?
    • - Are the interfaces intuitive?
    • - Was there a point where you are unsure or uncomfortable with how to - go about an action?
    • - Was there a part that you wish could be structured differently? the "I wish...." moment?