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Woman receiving a food order through her car window.

A user-centred approach to optimising mobile ordering for McDonald's.

McDonalds logo

The challenge

McDonald's UK was testing their new ordering app, which was being developed for worldwide use. Their goal was to make the app user-friendly and integrate seamlessly into customers' lives. They wanted to offer easy-to-use features while maintaining a positive brand image. Additionally, they hoped to identify any areas for improvement by looking at the app from an operational perspective.

The solution

CDS conducted two rounds of testing, performing in-restaurant usability research with real-life customers whilst surveying 225 customers using the app for the first time. This research identified issues with the app and uncovered user needs and expectations.

CDS investigated environmental factors affecting users’ understanding of the process and their interactions with the app. This research provided a comprehensive understanding of how the technology and restaurant experiences should integrate to optimise the user experience.

Based on this analysis, our expert team provided actionable recommendations, including improvements to screen flows and user-interface elements. As a result, significant updates to the app produced new collection methods, optimised content to guide McDonald’s customers, and visual changes to aid understanding and highlight key functionality.

The result

Thanks to CDS' insights and recommendations, McDonald's improved their mobile ordering app. Our research enabled McDonald's to confidently release new versions with exciting features that cater to customer needs, like the ability to order from any location at any time and choose different collection methods. The app also helps reduce congestion with multiple order points, improving accuracy and speed, and offering greater convenience and personalisation to fit the diverse lifestyles of their customers.

At a glance...


  • Retail.


  • Produce an app that blends seamlessly into their customers lives whilst providing great service.
  • Identify opportunities for optimisation.


  • CDS was appointed as an insight partner.
  • Two rounds of testing identified user needs and requirements to improve app experience.
  • Research uncovered how to integrate the app experience into the restaurant experience.


  • CDS' insight provided McDonald's with the tools to produce a second iteration and introduce exciting new features.
  • The app offers convenience and personalisation to cater to the diverse lifestyles of their customers.

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