Kosher Without Borders

Making it easier to find kosher restaurants


Kosher Without Borders was developed to help travelers find kosher food made to orthodox standards, anywhere in the world. It's the ultimate solution for those who keep Kosher and love to travel.

KWB's founder often had difficulties finding places to eat while on his travels. Often he'd go hungry or be forced to eat meals that were undesirable.With no design experience, the founder of KWB launched an app to solve a problem he was experiencing.


Mobile Design Team | Engineering | Product Owner/ CEO


Lead UX Designer; Mobile App


8 Weeks

The Challenge

People loved the app's up-to-date database of verified kosher restaurants. However, they had a hard time using the app; often finding other restaurants that are not kosher. People would eventually leave the Kosher Without Borders app and finish their search on another app such as Yelp.

The Solution

Redesigning the app's discoverability would enhance the user's experience.  Which would allow users to easily find kosher restaurants and truly making kosher travel easier.

To view prototype:  Click Here


Direct Competitor Analysis

Even though kosher restaurants are a niche market, there are several competitors that occupy the space. We looked at the apps and websites for Kosher GPS and Kosher Near Me. The team wanted to learn how these companies were helping its users.

Kosher GPS
Kosher Near Me

We found that both Kosher GPS and Kosher Near Me designed a simplified app to accompany their website. Their apps focused on making it easier to search for kosher restaurants.


In-direct Competitor Analysis

The team also looked at Yelp and Google Maps since both apps provided the same services of searching for restaurants. The goal for researching KWB's in-direct competitors was to gain a better understanding of their user's flow while searching.

Google Maps

We found that Yelp and Google Maps had great designs to allow their users to filter and sort through their search results. Our findings provided us with inspiration for designing KWB's flow that would help its users to search for kosher restaurants. Especially when users would have to search for places to eat when following orthodox kosher guidelines.


What's the Current State of the App

Working with KWB's live app, we did usability tests to understand what users were really experiencing with the app. We gathered 5 participants to complete 2 tasks. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find kosher practitioners with the limited time that we had. So prior to the start of the usability testing, we instructed our participants a little about the kosher guidelines. The participants were informed that at a high level, kosher establishments could either serve dairy or meat products separately. Dairy and meat products cannot be combined (cheese burgers could never be kosher).

On average it took users 3 minutes and 40 seconds to find a kosher restaurant in Miami, Florida. With the longest it took for a user to conduct the search was 6 minutes!

Search bar cannot handle multiple key words. Sometimes providing irrelevant results.

Users have to scroll and zoom in on the map to find restaurants in different geographical regions

The Problem

It's difficult for users to search for kosher restaurants. Whether they used the search bar or map, it took users a significant amount of time to complete their search for a kosher restaurant.


Redesigning the app's discoverability and search would enhance the users experience. Easily allowing users to find koshers and reducing the time to search for a kosher restaurant. Truly making kosher travel easier

How might we make it easier for people to find kosher restaurants?

Design Decisions

User Flow

Our initial focus was redesigning the user's flow for searching for a kosher restaurant. The redesigned flow took into consideration those users who were searching for kosher restaurants in different regions. We also needed a flow that would allow users to narrow their search based on orthodox kosher guidelines. We decided to leverage the app's search functionality and focused our designs around a dynamic search bar. Working with the developers allowed us to determine how the search bar would exactly work.

Design Decisions

Pre-Programmed Searching

We included pre-programed searches that would live on the app's homepage to further help users find kosher restaurants. The decision came from the assumption that user's might not want to use the search bar when searching for restaurants in their current location. Especially if users were "hangry," they wouldn't want to spend much mental effort looking for someplace to eat. We included lodging and synagogues into the pre-programmed searches. These lodging and synagogue information were being brought over from the app's old database.

Design Decisions

Filtering Kosher Restaurants

Since the beginning of the project, everyone has been educating themselves about kosher.  We learned that practitioners had guidelines on what was permitted for them to eat during a particular meal period. There was a heavy emphasis that they could either have meat or dairy, and not both, during any meal. That would mean cheese burgers aren't kosher.

This led us to include filters for both meat and dairy focused kosher  restaurants.

Design Decisions


To help users while they were searching through a list of restaurants, we included a tagging system that would help them to quickly learn more about a restaurant. We prioritized whether a restaurant served meat or dairy. Just in case users were looking at unfiltered search results. 

Design Decisions

Verified Kosher Restaurants

There are a lot of restaurants out there that mention "kosher" on their menu or reviews. But in reality they aren't actually a kosher restaurant. A major differentiating factor between KWB and its competitors, was a database that provided verified kosher restaurants. We'd go on to highlight the supervising organization of the kosher certification. This eased users by informing them that the restaurant was actually kosher.


Usability Testing

Validating our Assumptions

Did our redesign make it easier for users to search for a kosher restaurant? We gathered another set of 5 participants to test our redesigns. This time around we were able to find someone who was kosher and they were able to provide us with some insightful feedback. Our goal for this round of usability testing was to test our assumption that users would rely on the app's search functionality to do their search. Which would ultimately result in a quicker time-on-task for searching for a kosher restaurant.

The objective of the usability test were to:

  • Find a kosher restaurant in Los Angeles; then to refine their search to find dairy only restaurants
  • Then to refine their search to view only dairy restaurants
Participants will apply as many key words to their search. Resulting in a quicker time-on-task.

Our Assumptions Were Off (Only A Little)

To our surprise, we were off with our assumptions. Users preferred to use less key words while using the search functionality. We found that users would type the first things that came to mind into the search bar. When participants searched for a dairy restaurant, 80% of participants first searched for all kosher restaurants in the area. Then they would filter their results by dairy. But, the filters we designed allowed people to  quickly find a dairy kosher restaurant. There was no hindrance in the participant's flow for searching for a kosher restaurant.

Test Insights

  • The redesign reduced the average time to search for a kosher restaurant by 3 minutes 10 seconds
  • People used a combination of key words and filtering to do their searching
  • Pareve restaurants were completely missed throughout the entire redesign

Though our assumptions weren't validated, the redesign still helped people easily find kosher restaurants. And they were still able to narrow their searches that adhered to the kosher guidelines. Based on the feedback that we received we only had to make a few iterations that did not impact the redesigned flow.

Adding The Missing Pareve Filter

Since we were rapidly moving through the sprints, we had missed a kosher guideline that had accounted for every other restaurant that wasn't focused on dairy or meat. These filters were already large and there was some concern that the additional pareve filter might clutter the screen. As a team we created several iterations to see which design would work best.


We ended up sticking to the original design. After mocking up the additional and seeing how it would look like in to context, realized that the additional pareve filtered didn't crowd the screen. We noticed that it aided on balancing the whitespace for its surrounding area.

Making Kosher Guidelines Obvious

Our test participants indicated that very little attention was paid to the tags used to describe the restaurants. Mentioning that they would not have used them to determine what kind of kosher restaurant they were looking. The original design didn't effect the user's experience but we decided to iterate on providing additional help to filter through with what they are looking at.

In Context with Other Tags

Visual Ecosystem

Establishing a Design System

There was a collaborative effort between the app and mobile teams towards establishing KWB's design system. This ensured that we coherent designs across multiple platforms.

Final Product

To view prototype: Click Here


Search Times

  • 95% reduction of search times for kosher restaurants

What Went Well

At the end of the project it was exciting to see how our designs improved the app's overall experience. The designs significantly made it easier for people to use the app. Resulting in the reduction of time to find kosher restaurants. There were a lot of concerns for various stakeholders that the website and app wouldn't be coherent. But with the collaboration with the website's design team, we were able to create a coherent design for both platforms.

Challenges I Encountered

Scope creep is real and leading a creative team for the first time had its challenges. As a design lead for the first time I had my difficulties keeping the team on track of what we needed to focus on. The team would often go off on tangents with their work and it was my responsibility to find a way to bring everyone back on track.

Reflecting on the experience helped me realize that we didn't have a strong emphasis on sticking to the app's MVP. Which in turn led us to spending too much time on making design decisions. It might have helped to remind ourselves of what our objectives for the project were and use that as a guide as we moved through the project.

Thanks for scrolling!