What does healthy mean to you? Most say it’s a balancing act. Some say it’s to stay attractive. Other loving beans do it to support their family’s dietary needs. What about preventing or lessening the impact of chronic diseases?
Here’s a delicate seedling to take with you and grow during my case study 🌱
Vita’s vision for a healthier bean
Chronic diseases that most of the time (anywhere between 70–90%) are preventable through making better life choices.
We want to help those trying to be healthier form new habits and keep them.
We are using a mobile phone application, developed using human centred design and informed by behavioural science to empower people to change their dietary habits one small step at a time to prevent chronic disease. 🌱
On a 2 week sprint with 3 other dedicated team members (Josephine, Alaine and Melvin) in a remote isolated working environment, we embark on a mission to find a way to empower people to develop lifelong healthier eating habits.
Growing my team
I strongly contributed in the ideation and prototyping stages of the project as it was where my strengths bloomed but I also assisted with research, conducting interviews and competitor analysis.
1. Empathise with Users
2. Identify Problems or Opportunities
3. Ideation of Solutions
4. Testing and Feedback
1 — Empathising with Users 🌱
Before our research, each of us put down assumptions to validate and help form questions.
Our challenge was to identify a user group to target and discover their current healthy eating habits.
Our first round of interviews we had thought to seek out those who have transitioned into a plant-based diet or transitioned due to a medical condition. Our questions were based around plant-based diet. It was a narrow path we took which we realised we should have casted the net wider, to anyone and find out a golden insight that we could dig further into, after all our challenge is to find a specific target market that we can effectively cater for. Reading over the brief again, we then positioned our interview questions about healthy eating habits. If we had the time, we would have taken the opportunity to do a second round of interviews to come up with a creative or interesting direction.
What we wanted to know about from our interviewees:
- What motivates them to live a healthier lifestyle? Why?
- What challenges did they face?
- What support to they receive?
- Where do they go to learn about health and well being?
- How do they reward themselves for maintaining a good habit?
In total, we interviewed 23 people. 6 wanting to eat healthy, 5 considering plant-based, 5 due to a medical condition and 7 Subject Matter Experts who have already transitioned. We decided to focus on 16 out of 23 users who had the motivation of wanting to eat healthier, this is because they are more likely to take the push in transitioning their eating habits.
We also looked into other competitors such as meal-kits/food boxes, habit changing apps and health programs to find out how they benefit people through the Jobs to be Done methodology. This is to see what existing markets are doing to encourage a healthy lifestyle and can implement into the app’s program.
2 — Identify Problems or Opportunities 🌿
- I believe health is about balance and flexibility
- I want to reduce the risk of medical conditions
- I lack the time and energy to commit to the life style change
- I feel that most diet / healthy plans are very restrictive — a healthy lifestyle is about flexibility
- Lack of understanding from family, partner, friends — Hard to stay motivated when I’m alone
Who should we focus on empowering?
Based on the users we interviewed, we had multiple mindsets…
We discovered that Vegans prioritise and are motivated in supporting the environment and animal welfare but still value healthy eating. However, there is a common value for thinking and motivation for improving one’s self.
We developed our primary persona, Julia, to collectively represent the group of users who are self-motivated to build better eating habits. Our persona had a self-motivated mindset of:
“I think it’s important not to worry too much: feeling restricted about what you can eat means this lifestyle wont be successful”
“I cultivate a relationship with my body, to help me on this journey. I want my future self to thank my current self.”
We feel that around the age of 35–40, users with this mindset have a better chance of transitioning their healthy eating habits due to their strong motivations and awareness.
What does Julia need?
Julia needs a way to stay committed to her new healthy lifestyle because she wants to live a long, happy life unrestricted by medical conditions. 🌱
How might we help Julia feel supported, stay accountable, stay motivate and make her new lifestyle more convenient?
Thanks for continuing to read my case study.
Your 🌱 has evolved into 🌿 !
3 — Ideation of Solutions 🌲
To help with our ideation, as a team we ran a design studio using the Crazy 8’s method. 3 rounds of iteration full of CRAZY FUN ideas.
Through iteration of ideas was the birth of Beanie, our app’s loveable companion.
We also wanted to position ourselves differently from other habit apps that just set goals for the user to take initiative or dietary apps which were about tracking micro and macro. Having the idea of a growable companion for the longterm with rewards could be another accountability factor.
Let’s see how other apps represent growth and progress!
Based on our design studio and MVP ideas, each of us diverge to ideate user flows of how each of us thinks what ideal app could help Julia be more committed to developing longterm healthy eating habits.
I developed the focus idea to have a companion that would grow with the user as they develop healthier eating habits. This companion would reflect the user and grow depending on how well the user has developed their habits. The companion would also be an accountability buddy for Julia as a source of commitment.
To get a better understanding of how to develop around the “growth” theme, I analysed Fabulous, Forest and Deemo on how they make progress visible through growth. 🌿
I then integrated features to assist with growth throughout the on-boarding process:
- Food diary to track and suggest improvements for eating habits
- Personalised tasks based on the goal set by user
I also considered what time of the day the app would be used depending on the task performed.🌿
Some bonus fun things I thought of for the Beanie’s growth alongside some bean puns:
- Beanie can evolve into a succulent, flower or tree depending on how well the user has taken care of their habits
Coming together as a team, we compared our ideas, gave each other feedback on what features to implement.
We were definitely fond of the idea of Beanie growing as the user progresses with the app. This seemed like a fun, quirky and cute way to motivate users to be more committed to forming their dietary habits. 🌿
Each member worked on a section of the final flow and combined it to make our final user flow.
Our final MVP consists of:
- Daily & weekly goal setting — guide and motivate users
- Simple food journal — track their eating habits
- Daily tracking & reflection — reflect on their mood
- Curated RSS feed — Discover and be inspired by new knowledge
- Support group system — Learn with others
All integrated with a simple reward system and a fun little character who grows with you. 🌿
4 — Testing and Feedback 🎄
To speed up the paper prototyping process, we each quickly paper sketch wireframes based on which part of the final user flow we developed.
I was nominated along with another amazing passionate designer, Melvin, to develop paper prototypes for testing, ready for the next day while the other 2 members worked on the usability testing plan and recruitment of users.
Usability Testing Results
- Our character is cute!
- Asking why is annoying
- Traffic light page confusing
- Wants to skip certain functions in the on-boarding
- Want to choose who they get matched to in community garden
- Want to choose multiple goals and / or write their own
In summary, users wanted more flexibility to write their own goals or select multiple goals. They also want more clarity with instructions on how to use certain features like the Traffic Light in Food Diary.
We would have done a black and white mid-fidelity wireframe but due to the time constraints with our biggest focus on research, we jumped straight into developing a hi-fidelity prototype to present.
Test our final prototype here!
Next Steps — what would I do differently?
There’s way too many features implemented in our first version. I would revisit and really nail down on the MVP feature prioritisation. I would also explore different mature art styles as this may seem like a kid’s app.
Your 🌿 grew into a 🌻! Thanks for reading my case study!
This project changed my diet. The more I spoke to people about their dietary habits, the more I was convinced to change mine. I also discovered some habit changing apps such as Fabulous during this project. It woke me up to see how the most basic things like eating breakfast and exercising regularly was important… Fabulous not only gave tasks/goals but explained why it was important to do so with easy suggestions.
I skipped breakfast or rather…. I just had bread with Nutella every morning. I never exercise because my body was fine with that… or I’m just lazy.
Now… I aim to go out for walks at least 3 times a week and eat breakfast with protein such as oatmeal with nuts or toast with eggs. Stay healthy! Especially during COVID19.
Kudos to Team JAAM!
- Josephine Maguire-Rosier — Project Manager/UX Researcher
- Alaine Thompson — UX Researcher
- Angel Nguyen(Me) — UX Researcher/Designer
- Melvin Dinata — UX Researcher/Designer
I believe our foundational success for Vita came from the team able to be open and transparent with each other. Allowing us to maximise our productivity and being comfortable to uplift each other. So thanks for all your hard work and support!
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Thanks for your time and making this far with my case study!
Here’s a juicy apple 🍎 for your day!
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Hi! I’m Angel
I’m a multi-disciplined designer who focuses on UX/UI and branding. I moved from Perth to Melbourne to explore and discover my career to which I discovered UX Design Immersive at General Assembly. I value creative design for improving and evolving humankind in new never-thought-of, exciting creative ways.
Visit my website for more of my creative works beyond UX!