UX Deep Delight – Pizza Puzzler

If you can establish a foundation of functionality, reliability and usability – only then can you aim for delight.
The two types of delight when users are interacting with your experience are surface delight and deep delight. Surface delight is usually generated by gestural transitions, sound, beautiful graphics, microcopy (slang, humour, predicting users questions etc) and slick animations. It’s important to note, these surface delights only work if the underlying product is perfect.

Deep delight is more holistic, you can only achieve this once all the users needs are met – including functionality, reliability, usability and pleasurability. This is known as users reaching a state of ‘flow’ – meeting the users needs at the right time and place.


Customer Engagement


Pizza Hut, YUM! Brands


Concept, UX, UI, illustration & animation.
From start to finish this was myself and one engineer.


Why did this project

need to happen?

We had rolled out a functional, reliable and usable ordering experience at Pizza Hut, however at the end of the journey the user could potentially wait 20-30 minutes for their order.
During this waiting period the customers often felt a lack of information and a level of anxiety.
We needed a solution to address this customer anxiety.


Users and Audience

Pizza Huts primary consumers are families and single males 25-34.
With 88% of mothers referring to themselves as the household CFO.


Scope and Constraints

88% of Pizza Hut users are on mobile.
The e-com journey was built in React and used a Wrapper for the App, so anything we built would need to be responsive and use web technologies with no plugins.
Work on mobile first & desktop.


My approach

Firstly, Google Analytics revealed most customers quit the app straight after they placed the order and nearly 80% did not check their emails where they had been sent a Confirmation Email on the Order Status, either Progressing or very seldom an Order Cancelled. At the time, once the app was closed, there was no way to return to the end screen with the details.
To understand why customers closed their app and didn’t check their emails we held in-person interviews with our customers through focus groups (I took part in these) and at home interviews (I was not involved in these).

I personally interviewed store managers and discovered they were receiving many calls from customers wondering where there food was, even if it was still within the defined delivery time. This wasted a lot of the in-store teams time and often during busy periods they could not answer the customers phone calls leading to stress for the in-store teams and unhappy customers.


Why this research method?

In person interviews with both customers and in-store teams was the best way to give me an in-depth understanding of their values, perceptions and experiences.
Asking specific questions while remaining open to exploring their points of view.


Hypothesis Statement

We believe that by creating engaging content and a real-time order update
For all our customers
Will result in well informed and happily engaged customers.



Having built several web and mobile games in my career I was confident a good option to explore would be the casual gaming genre. Casual games target a mass market audience, it needed to be simple and easy to pick up and play without any real tutorials. Simple to play, yet tricky to master was exactly what I was after.
I settled on puzzles as that was a genre which appealed to everyone – even people who described themselves as non-gamers were compelled to solve-puzzles.
If you think of a pile of socks from the laundry – you’re compelled to match-the-pairs and solve the puzzle.

pengomo switch

Ideation and Concept Sketches

Taking everything I had learned in the earlier stages I began developing ideas and coming up with possible solutions.


Wireframe and Prototype

I wireframed up the flow, then selected a few of my concepts and created a prototype in Adobe Animate as this leant itself well to gaming prototypes.



At the time our offices were in a WeWork space, so having access to several testers was very easy. From this testing I learned which puzzles worked, which didn’t and also the difficulty level of the puzzles.
I created several versions of the prototype based on the new insights.


Final Graphics

I created the final graphics as vectors so we could re-use them later for marketing, social or any other purposes.


Order Tracker Animations

I intended to create these animations in After Effects with Lottie, however with time restraints I ended up creating these in Adobe Animate with a Wacom tablet and exported as looped GIFs.


What happened next?

In the first month of launch we had over 150k customers play the game.
The average game-play time was 5.5 minutes.
Which means on an average order time of 20min, the customer feels like they are only waiting 14.5min.

Customers played the levels on average 3 times each which could lead us to hypothesise the customers are leaving the game only because they have run out of content. If we had more levels in the game the game-play times could be longer.

Customers were also publicly vocal with their positive experiences with the game.
“Loving the PizzaHut PizzaPuzzler game”
“So, PizzaHut have a little game you can play while you wait for your food.. It’s actually quite engrossing.”
“How addictive is that PizzaHut game? Loved it even though I didn’t complete it.”

We later registered a dedicated URL for the game and included real-time deals to encourage players to continue through to our e-com journey.
Not only did this drive customer engagement but also increased traffic and drove xtra sales.


Social Media

Due to the success of the content in the journey Pizza Hut put marketing spend into social to continue driving customer engagement. I created a social media campaign to support this – driving traffic and potential new customers to the website.

pizza hut game
pizza hut game
pizza hut game
pizza hut game
pizza hut game