top of page
Pizza! _edited.jpg

Papa John's Pizza

Usability Study


Kent State University - Class Project

My Role: 

Usability Analyst


3 weeks

Project Introduction

The project at hand was a usability study conducted on the Papa John's Pizza website. The primary objective was to evaluate the user experience during key interactions such as ordering and customizing pizzas, signing up for deals and coupons, and contacting customer service. The client, Papa John's Pizza, is a globally recognized pizza delivery and carry-out restaurant chain, and their online platform plays a crucial role in their customer engagement and sales. The study aimed to identify areas of improvement that could enhance the overall user experience, making the website more intuitive, efficient, and user-friendly.

"Oh wow! I like the pizza animation thing!"

The Challenge

The Papa John's website, while functional, had several areas that potentially hindered an optimal user experience. Users were having difficulties with the pizza customization process, finding the sign-up process for deals and coupons to be overly complicated, and struggling to locate important customer service contact information.

The challenge was to identify what were things causing issues for users in these areas and provide actionable insights to improve the website's usability. The solution was to conduct a thorough usability study that could provide valuable insights into these issues and offer recommendations for enhancing the user experience on Papa John's website.

The Journey

The journey began with a clear understanding of the challenge at hand. The first step was to design a usability study that would simulate real-world user interactions with the website. The study was structured around three tasks that represented key user interactions: ordering and customizing pizzas, signing up for deals and coupons, and contacting customer service.

Once the study was designed, the next step was to select participants who had previous online pizza ordering experience. This ensured that the participants had a baseline understanding of the process, which would make their feedback more valuable.


The journey was not without its difficulties. The process of analyzing the recorded sessions was meticulous and time-consuming. However, the insights gained from this analysis were invaluable, providing a clear direction for improving the user experience on the Papa John's website.

User Research

The usability study employed a mixed-method approach, combining task-based usability testing with qualitative participant feedback. The participants were selected to represent users who had previous online pizza ordering experience. The participants, along with their respective demographic information, are described below.

Participant 1: A male who appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s. His preference is to call and place his orders due to his dietary restrictions.

Participant 2: A male who appears to be in his 40s. He doesn't have a preference for either calling his order in or ordering online.

Participant 3: A female who appears to be in her 50s. Her husband has an app on his phone of their favorite pizza place so he typically orders their pizzas.

Participant 4: A male who appears to be in his 30s. He orders a few pizzas every month. His current favorite pizza place doesn't offer delivery services.

These participants were asked to complete the following tasks on

Task 1: Order 3 specific pizzas for a hypothetical party. The pizzas were a mushroom and pepperoni pizza, a half onion and half sausage pizza with light sauce, and a specialty pizza of their choice.

Task 2: Sign up for deals and coupons using an email address, without registering for a full account.

Task 3: Find a way to contact the corporate office after a poor pizza delivery experience.

As the participants performed these tasks, they were asked to narrate their thought processes, providing real-time feedback on their experience. The sessions were recorded with the participant's consent, capturing on-screen activity, participants' facial expressions, and verbal commentary. This approach allowed for a thorough analysis of both the usability of the site and the participants' subjective experience.

Each task was assessed for success rate and user satisfaction. Notable quotes were extracted to capture the general tone of the study. This qualitative feedback provided valuable insights into the user's perspective, supplementing the quantitative data gathered during the tasks. The combination of these methods provided a comprehensive understanding of the user experience, highlighting areas of success and identifying opportunities for improvement.

The Outcome

The usability study yielded valuable insights into the user experience on the Papa John's website. The analysis of the tasks revealed several areas where the website could be improved to enhance user satisfaction and efficiency.

The pizza ordering process, while generally straightforward, could be improved by streamlining the customization process. The option to customize a pizza with half-and-half toppings and selecting the quantity of sauce was found to be confusing for users. Additionally, users expressed a desire for a larger image of their customized pizza when viewing their cart, allowing for easy order confirmation.

The sign-up process for deals and coupons was another area identified for improvement. Users found the requirement to create an account to access these features to be excessive. The study suggested exploring ways to reduce the information required for signing up for deals, such as removing the necessity of phone numbers and reassessing the visibility of the "Text and Email Offers" link.

Finally, the study highlighted the need for more visible and accessible customer service contact information. Users struggled to find the corporate office's telephone number, a vital feature in instances of customer service issues. The study suggested improving the visibility of this information on the website.

The outcomes of this usability study provided a clear direction for enhancing the user experience on the Papa John's website. The insights gained from the study are expected to guide future improvements and ensure that the website is user-friendly, intuitive, and efficient.

Lessons Learned

One of the significant challenges I faced during this project was the time-consuming process of reviewing my recorded sessions. Each session was lengthy, and I wanted to ensure that I didn't miss any crucial insights. This experience highlighted the importance of efficient note-taking and time management during the review process. In future projects, I plan to develop a more streamlined approach when needing to review recorded sessions.

The most surprising aspect of the results was the discrepancy between my expectations and the actual user experience. Tasks that seemed straightforward to me proved challenging for the participants. This was a stark reminder that personal assumptions can often lead to blind spots in design. It emphasized the importance of empathy in UX design and the need to step into the users' shoes truly.

This project reinforced my love for usability testing and user research. It was a rewarding experience to see how user feedback could identify issues that might not have been apparent from a design perspective. It underscored the value of iterative testing and the necessity of user input in creating intuitive and user-friendly designs.

One of the most significant takeaways from this project is the importance of user feedback throughout the iteration process. While I can provide an informed personal opinion, it's always best to hear from the users themselves. This project has reinforced my belief in a user-centered design approach, where user feedback is not just an optional extra but an integral part of the design process.

In conclusion, this project was a valuable learning experience that has enriched my understanding of usability testing and user research. The lessons learned will be instrumental in shaping my future work, ensuring that the designs I create are not only aesthetically pleasing but also intuitive and user-friendly.

Delivering User-Friendly Experiences, One Slide at a Time

bottom of page