Providing food tracking and management to help save money and the environment.
I enrolled in a UX/UI design course to further my design knowledge and experience. As part of the program, we were tasked with creating a product that solved any user problem. Though a broad assignment, my team quickly identified a common problem to tackle: we all let food go to waste and hate the feeling associated with it. We decided to create an app to help alleviate that feeling and ultimately help society. We had two weeks to execute, during which we completed everything from the initial research to the creation of the final prototype.
I worked with three classmates to research and design this application. I took part in the research, but my primary role focused on articulating the design of the mockups in order to create our final deliverable. I used Sketch to design and Invision to create the prototype.
Based off of the initial data that we collected from researching issues associated with food waste, we created a user persona. We then used four different research methods to validate and iterate versions of this persona.
With our proto-persona in mind, we set out to find out more about our potential user. We had many questions, such as how people tracked the food they bought and how often groceries went to waste. To learn more, we analyzed the currently-available tracking options, interviewed potential users, sent out two surveys, and conducted guerilla interviews to answer any unanswered questions we had.
To get ideas for our app and to make sure we weren’t creating something that’s already been done, we dove deep into some competitive analysis. We found apps that help you donate food, apps catered to restaurants, and fridge and pantry trackers. With a few similar apps out there, none focused on motivating aspects to help prevent the ongoing occurrence of food waste.
We held 6 user interviews amongst friends and family. Our goal was to engage in a conversation about how they managed their food purchases and how it was currently tracked. After our interviews, we realized that there were a variety of different reasons as to why people felt bad about wasting food. While this was something that we did not ask in our initial survey, it was an important piece to gain insight on before we started to develop our app. We chose to send out another survey and perform guerilla interviews to understand precisely why people felt bad about wasting food.
We wanted to learn from a large amount of users in a short period of time, so we sent out an initial survey through our social networks. We learned that the majority of users feel bad about wasting food. Unfortunately, we didn’t uncover why they feel bad about wasting food, thus prompting additional research.
After the initial survey and interviews, we decided to head outside to the streets of San Francisco try to quickly determine what the main reason users feel bad about when wasting food is. Unfortunately, our small sample size of 14 didn’t give us a clear winner in any response. This prompted us to release the 2nd survey.
By sending out a second survey, we learned why people felt so bad about wasting food. Initially our assumption was that it was because of the environment or that someone in need could have had it, but our survey results revealed that users negative perception about food waste ultimately came down to wasting their own money.
After analyzing the data that we collected, we decided that we needed to create a further iteration of our proto persona. Rather than using just one persona, we decided to create an additional persona to empathize with since food waste is prevalent among many different types of people and circumstances.
We created two storyboards to illustrate the impact that a food tracking application would have on a target user. The initial storyboard was created after our first round of surveys. After we conducted further research, we created the second storyboard that centered around the results.
The user journey map was created to align as a team on our goals and further empathize with our users.
Once we were aligned as a team on who our user’s persona and the problem we were setting out to solve, we began sketching, iterating, wireframing, and then iterating more until we created our final prototype.
The four of us broke apart and sketched out the app would function. We came together and shared our ideas. There were some parts that we sketched similarly, but also things we discovered that we never would have thought of on our own. We created another round of sketches so that we were aligned to how the product was going to flow visually.
Once we had our new set of sketches, we each worked on a subset of screens to create the wireframes. We shared these with other members of the class to user test and see if there were major improvements to make prior to the creation of the final mockups. We were limited on time, however, and based on the user feedback, our designs seemed to make sense.
Prior to creating our mockups, we created a style guide to follow to use in our designs. After we had a solid set of wireframes that we felt comfortable with, we created our style guide and applied this to create our final mockups.
We felt that having onboarding screens was an important feature to summarize everything that the app has to offer, while simultaneously setting the tone that not wasting food can be a fun, unintimidating, and rewarding experience.
After flipping through the onboarding screens, users are prompted to login to their accounts as a way to save any data that is inputted.
Once a user logs into the app, they are brought to the the main page, which contains a list of all the food they own. At a glance, it shows the quantity, location, and expiration. Though the specific expiration date is stated, we decided to use the circle around the image to illustrate how much time is remaining. The visual representation is an easier and quicker indication if something is expiring soon.
The app allows you to add items by scanning a receipt, scanning a barcode, or manually entering the item. If a barcode isn't scanning, a user can opt to type in the barcode.
Don't know what to do with odds and ends groceries? Rather than letting them sit there, select the items from your list and either find a recipe or locate a donation center close by!
It's clear that people don't want to waste their food, but it's hard to remember expiration dates, often resulting in user disappointment when an item has gone bad by the time they're ready to use it. Stay fresh helps users stay up to date on the status of their food. The available statistics also let users know how much money they have wasted and the amount of CO2 released based off of the food they have let go bad.
Watch the prototype in action or visit the prototype here: https://invis.io/YKRQWWFU23A
We presented our project to the class and received great feedback. Not only did they appreciate the visual design of the app, the class liked how we chose to solve the user problem and the many solutions that were available for a user, from being able to track to providing recipes based off a users inventory. In the future, if we had more time, I would have performed more user tests. I think we would have received some useful information to incorporate and update in our designs to make the product even more applicable to our target user.