My UX Inspiration of Foodtunity
Graduating with a degree from marketing, I had strengths in creativity and a foundation on the fundamentals of the discipline: pricing, product, promotion, and placement. The main P I wanted to explore the most is product. Therefore, I joined the interaction design specialization that allowed me to utilize my creativity skills in exploring product design. It was an extraordinary experience of going through capstone projects that I have not done before such as wireframing, prototyping, and producing video prototypes.
I have a huge interest in food and have traveled through at least 12 countries and tried 20 different cuisines from over the world. I also sometimes cook different cuisines at home. Issues I face when cooking is forgetting when the food is going to spoil, especially when using expensive cultural ingredients such as yogurt, certain spices, and etc. According to Business Insider, the US is one of the top ten countries in the world that wastes a lot of food because food is cheap to buy. The reasons Americans waste food is due to worrying about the food being spoiled, expired, and food poisoning. I chose a design brief on change for food and researched sustainable ideas for food through technology. Essentially, I wanted to create an app to eliminate the wasting of food.
Before creating ideas, I conducted need-finding interviews in which I asked participants to cook a dish and see what obstacles they faced that lead to food wasting. There were 2 participants who faced problems with food prep in which cutting or cleaning food created a big mess of food spilling off the cutting boards. There was one participant who used a food waste management app that had problems finding the right leftover recipes for cooking quick simple meals. She also has difficult times motivating herself to cook leftovers after a busy day of work. One participant went to the grocery store to find food to cook for dinner and the issue is that the expiration dates were confusing. There were not proper expiration dates for produce which was a big problem. The time the participant tried to cook his meal, half of the food spoiled. The participants would like to see and have alerts on when food is going to spoil, how to manage food prep and leftovers, and consequently stop food wasting. Here are some example pictures of the obstacles.
I was gathering the feedback from the participants on what they would like to see on the new food waste management app. I created 2 POVs (point of views):
• POV: According to Atlantic News, Americans lead the world in food waste because the food is cheap to buy and people are picky. According to statistics, in the US there is 218 billion dollars of food waste. There were two leading causes of food waste which is the worry of food poisoning and wanting fresh foods. The other issues were confusion of expiration dates and not having time to prevent food waste. There needs to be a strategy of ways to eliminate food waste in US so it doesn’t create a negative impact on Earth. Whether you are busy or have free time, people need an easy time to manage the food waste in their kitchens.
• My POV: “There are times when I go to the grocery store to shop for more food, the expiration labels become confusing and misleading. When I bring all of the groceries home and forgot to cook the items within a week or two they all become spoiled. When I tried to follow the recipes, the dish ends up looking horrible. I would have to throw it away which becomes a waste of money and resources. As a busy person, I get irritated when it takes me an hour to cook after school or work due to food prep and cleaning. How can I track the food inventory and improve my cooking skills to eliminate the food waste?”
Based on the POVs, I researched food waste management apps on GooglePlay. The apps that inspired me was Good Opportunity, Foodfully, and Foodkeeper. There were 2 main weakness I discovered from all of the apps which is not having a motivation factor for eliminating food waste and proper food prep when cooking such as how to wash produce and meat properly.
The food waste management apps that inspired me from Google Play
The Good Opportunity app presented useful tips in managing the food waste. Provides you how long and where to store the food in the fridge and freezer. Calculates how many servings per dish. Provides a shopping list that inserts manually and calculates the servings for each item you buy. There is an anti-waste recipes feature that tells you each food that allows to reuse leftovers. It would be great to provide options for people with allergies and diet restrictions.
Foodfully’s goal is to reduce household food waste. The app can link over 14 different grocery loyalty cards in which a purchase is made can be recorded on the app. If users don’t have a loyalty card then they can take a picture of their receipt or manually enter the items. It records if the food was thrown away or eaten. Users get notified when the food is about to go bad. Recipes and tips provided for cooking the food from the fridge. Users can see inspiration rather than instruction for cooking and serving tips. Users can see items in their fridge and move items into the freezer. As for this app, it would be nice to see if it could provide a shopping list on what items are important to buy for your next visit to the grocery store.
The FoodKeeper app was produced by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. The FoodKeeper helps consumers manage the food quality in their pantries, refrigerators and freezers. It also provides consumers information on when food gets spoiled based on the growing conditions, farming and manufacturing process. The disadvantage of FoodKeeper is that it doesn’t provide info on how to maximize the storage, there is not many cuisines it discusses on managing the food. This is a great opportunity for building a news section from USDA, media and other food waste management agencies of explaining to the public about managing food inventory.
Discovery of Foodtunity
The ideas I borrowed from Good Opportunity app and Foodfully app is including a receipt scanner, grocery cards, and some of the tips for food waste management. The unique idea I wanted to add is a loyalty program to reward end users to stop wasting so much food. I also included the news and blogs on food waste management. These ideas contribute to a new food opportunity in which I called the app Foodtunity.
Storyboards and Prototypes
Storyboard 1: A girl went to the grocery store at a busy time due to a crowded parking lot and busy lines in the store. It took some time to look through the shopping list in finding the items she need to buy in the grocery store. It was late when she arrived home after a busy supermarket. The girl started to look for recipes suited for her dietary needs and started to cook. The problem she faced was making a huge mess on cutting and cooking the food. She all of a sudden remembered an app called Foodtunity. This provided an easy management of her shopping list and information on how to manage food in the kitchen. The girl used the app that helped her make cooking faster without food waste and provided her a smooth shopping experience.
- Storyboard 2: A girl woke up in the morning and decided to clean up her fridge. She felt lazy and irritated in cleaning up her fridge. She doesn’t know which veggies and fruits were spoiled because of no expiration dates. The girl decided to throw some of the produce away thinking it’s spoiled which became a waste. She remembered from one of her friends of Foodtunity app that helped them manage the food inventory in seeing the expiration dates and alerts. The girl used the Foodtunity app and went to the grocery cards to see the list of foods being expired. She also registered herself on a loyalty program to help motivate her to cook more leftovers in eliminating food waste which would reward her points and prizes. She was able to clean up the fridge faster in seeing what food items expired and what needs to be cooked soon, thanks to Foodtunity app. The girl was able to eat her lunch peacefully without any confusion and frustration on cleaning up her fridge.
The Foodtunity App contains the process of going through the News and Tips of food waste management. The news includes articles on managing food waste from Washington Post, Huffington Post, and etc. The tips contain information and videos on how to manage food waste in the kitchen.
The first app feature contains a process on how you can check expiration dates of the food items you bought from the grocery store through loyalty cards. There are options on having calendar or email alerts on when the food item is going to expire. The second feature is the loyalty program to motivate end-users to eliminate food waste. This involves including a password and login for security purposes of the prizes. The main prize page would have the number of points the end-user has earned, the number of leftover dishes made, food wasted and the prizes received. There is also an email to enter in order to access your prize.
I produced a low fidelity wireframes on the keynote in order to make it easier for two participants which were my past marketing classmates to test the wireframes and see which features to remove. I removed the news and blogs because it was not necessary and you can find all of them in Google search and Facebook. I also removed grocery cards due to app limitations and privacy concerns. I also removed the food allergies and shopping list because the digital app prototypes had problems incorporating those features.
Digital Prototype first homepage design
This was the first design on the main homepage of Foodtunity App. I used Marvel to create the digital prototypes for the app.
Final App Prototype
I made some final changes for the Foodtunity App. From the UserTesting feedback, I used App Version A in which 3 out of 4 users preferred that version easy to use. As for version A app, I included a tutorial after the profile fill up was done so it would be easy for the end-users to understand the goal of Foodtunity and how to use it. I changed the name of managing groceries to expiration dates. I also included the Loyalty Program for the main page so people can see it’s there then going through the drop-down menu. I made some changes on the tips section to include relevant content for the cutting techniques on meat and fruits/vegetables. Here is the final prototype link: https://marvelapp.com/jicc5ig .
I used the PowToon to create the YouTube video. I included the cartoons of a busy working mom who is trying to cook a dinner for her 2 kids and the obstacles she faced when her food in the fridge expired.
Overall, the capstone was an amazing experience. I was surprised on how far I went with the Foodtunity App in implementing most of the design elements for receipt scanners, tips, recipes, and loyalty program. It was a wonderful experience in using and exploring prototype softwares and learning different techniques in gathering feedback. The capstone taught me to become a design risk taker to adventure through new challenges in solving end-users’ product needs.