Mental Model – A real life example (AR Food Menu)

AR based food menu in restaurent

“You go to a restaurant and start flipping the pages of food menu. After spending some moments, you call the ‘Captain’ and ask him: “Can you please tell the curry which is ‘less/medium spicy’ or ‘in red gravy’ etc.?” These kind of incidents are very common and we all can relate similar conversation in restaurants/hotels.“

Have you tried to observe the scenario and reason why it was happening? Why sometimes we are not able to make decision with the help of food menu or require the help of captain/restaurant staff? One such key reason is ‘Mental Model mismatch’. 

Really? How does it relate to Mental Model???

What is mental model

Let’s understand that. A mental model is an explanation of someone's thought process about how something works in the real world. Mental models are how we understand the world. Not only do they shape what we think and how we understand but they shape the connections and opportunities that we see.

Mostly restaurants have food item name, which are not standardised or generic and sometimes they may change from Restaurant to Restaurant. Ex. – Paneer Lababdar, Paneer Maharaja, Paneer Pasanda etc. 

When you read these kinds of food item name, you don’t get ‘Key Details’ which are helpful in making decision. These key details are ‘Key Attributes’ which are required to form/understand mental model. For example: In this scenario of choosing Curry, we may have key attributes like Curry type, Gravy color, Spices, Quantity, how does it look when served etc. If we do not get these key details, we may not be able to make decision and will try to clarify them with others.

- What if a food menu can have Food Item name and little bit summary of these key details.

- What if food menu can have Food item image – ‘how will it be served’.

- What if food menu can show you the proper food item on your table before you order.

Using Augmented Reality (AR) in food menu

This problem is not novel in today’s world, many new tech enthusiasts and startups have come up with a new concept of Using – Augmented Reality in this ecosystem. Where Consumer can get preview or feel of food before actually ordering it on their table. This might change the experience of outing in food joint.

AR based food menu in restaurent

Abhishek Jain
Lead - UX Researcher 


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