An Eco housebuilder has requested innovative new products for a house of the future. Digital services must make use of physical objects that typically reside in the kitchen.
Role – UX Designer contributed in UX strategy, information architecture, user and competitor research, wire framing & visual design, prototyping, testing.
- Setting Goals and Objective
- Domain Analysis
- Comparative Competitive Analysis
- Thematic Analysis
- Affinity Mapping and Card Sorting
- Contextual Inquiry
- Establishing Key Audiences
- Building Personas
- Empathy Maps
- Creating Scenarios/ Storyboarding
- Creating user journeys
- User Flows
- Crazy 8
- Paper Prototype and Testing
- Low-fidelity prototypes
- Medium-fidelity prototypes
- High fidelity prototypes
- Creating wireframes
- High-fidelity design & guidelines
- Usability testing
- Invision user flow prototype
- Future Innovation science friction video
01. Understanding the opportunity
To design inclusive kitchen product that enables people of diverse ages and needs to prepare and eat food, entertain, enjoy hobbies or work and experience life together.
Managing Kitchen is complicated, confusing and time-consuming. There are quite a few apps available in the market.
A smart app that can help users manage kitchen inventory, orders groceries, recommend recipes from available inventory and connects with kitchen appliances in the simplest manner.
Setting Goals and Objective
To increase automation of grocery orders and decline food waste by 90 percent.
To receive assistance in managing Kitchen in a personalised and convenient way.
Household food wastage has been a prominent issue that plagues not only United Kingdom but the entire world. Often people forget about the food left in the fridge or they order ingredients that they already have. About 20%-30% of food goes bad or expires due to poor management of Kitchen inventory. People consider ordering takeaways or eating out out a much more convenient option than cooking. This creates unhealthy eating habit as well as stress one financially. Eating out and ordering takeaways are expensive unhealthy options that need to be addressed.
Why is managing Kitchen is so confusing and frustrating? To understand the reason, my research investigated why UK household is unable to manage it’s food wastage habit. After analysing the data, it shows that As many as 8.4 million families in the UK struggle to put food on the table and yet 7.3 million tonnes of food waste for UK household ends up in landfills each year costing UK families £700 per year (Sheffield, 2017). Studies have found that households throw away food for a variety of reasons, including preparing too much food and not using items in time before they go off (Kirk and Scott, 2018). This issue has been discussed but a solution is yet be be devised.
Analysing the challenges faced by the UK citizens at the time of cooking or ordering groceries allowed us to understand the issue and direct our research accordingly.
After investigated numerous fridge and pantry Management apps available for download globally, few apps were explored that include: Chefling, No Waste, Fridge Pal, Epicurious, Fresh Box, Out of Milk, Fridge Check, Grocery Shopping List – Listick and Best Before.
“Most people can’t manage their Kitchen so they end up eating out or ordering Takeaways. They need a convenient tool to assist them in managing their kitchen so they could cook healthy food at home, reduce food wastage, maintain food budget and enjoy time with families.”
Comparative Competitive Analysis
We did a comparative competitive analysis (CCA) to help visualise and compare the apps mentioned below (Figure 6).
After analysing the information gathered, we created a competitive analysis visual that demonstrated that the key distinction between Greener and the apps currently available in the app store is that none of these apps provide an order automation from calendar planning your recipes.
As illustrated in Figure 1.1, some of the popular features in these apps were manual entry of items, expiration reminders and barcode scanning. These information helped in development of the app further.
Thematic Analysis of User Reviews on Kitchen Assistant digital services
An invaluable resource for informing road map decisions for both new and established products and services, customer feedback helps firms glean insights from the people who matter most (McCook and Hillis, 2017). Whether they have 10 customers or 10,000 clients, this feedback helps companies uncover customer pain points, identify the features and functionalities customers care most about, and prioritize product road maps accordingly (McCook and Hillis, 2017).
After collecting preliminary research, we began analysing user reviews of the available kitchen assistant apps in the market. There were more than 5000+ reviews available online that gave us data to conduct our thematic analysis. It helped in understanding the user and their pain points.
We highlighted contents relating to themes that affected the user with purple colour. These themes included features that users appreciated, user pain points and users expectations. We create an affinity diagram that helped in visualising which category our themes fall under. Affinity diagram proved helpful in forming meaningful clusters of the research/data for analysis. This activity proved to be valuable, as it allowed to extract relevant information and disregard unnecessary information.
The objective of our thematic analysis was to understand our target users from the available valuable data sources in order to innovate a new user-centred product.
Affinity Diagram and Card Sorting
To compliment this initial Thematic Analysis of Kitchen assistant apps, an affinity diagram (Figure 8) was created to visualise our research and group the data into meaningful clusters. With the help of Note.ly software we were able to sort (Figure 9) the data points collected from the Thematic Analysis into meaningful clusters. This method allowed in extracting valuable information and shed key insights in our research findings.
Contextual Inquiry was carried out in the field to understand and observe the behaviour of target users in real time.
Location: Waitrose, Canary Wharf
Duration: 125 minutes
The contextual inquiry at Waitrose suggested that individuals have problems in remembering the recipes of their favourite dish or the ingredients available in their kitchen. They use the help of notes or whatsapp to coordinate with their family while ordering groceries. Some of them are using Kitchen assistant apps that help them in buying groceries.
However, our contextual inquiry is bias as it was not a representative of the whole population. Waitrose has been committed to reducing food waste all over the UK and people who shop at waitrose are sensetive about their mission. Waitrose at Canary Wharf seemed an ideal location for contextual Inquiry as it represented a lot of users with similar frustrations and a motivation to reduce food waste.
03. Defining the user need
The findings from our research formed the basis for our personas. We were able to create User personas with the help of the data collected through Affinity Diagram.The user persona bridged the gap between research and planning. It proved to be an extremely valuable tool throughout the design process.
We chose to focus primarily on our 2 personas, John who was a busy accountant, and Jen who is the engineer mommy. John ‘The Busy Accountant’ and Jen ‘The Engineer Mommy’ were selected for the first stage of design work as their goals and frustrations reflected the majority of our users.
We created an empathy map to gain deeper insight of our user group. This tool helped in empathising with the customers and understanding their perspective. Empathy maps have a user’s thought and feelings, What they see, What they hear, what they say and do, their pain points and their gains which affects their decision-making power. This tool supports the design making process and is a constant reminder to make sure the product is user-centred.
The storyboard below helps build empathy with the user. It further helps in Identifying user pain points and key features for the app.
We created storyboards for John ‘The Busy Accountant’ and Jen ‘The Engineer Mommy’.
John ‘The Busy Accountant’ wants to cook pasta after work and Jen ‘The Engineer Mommy’ wants to buy groceries. The Storyboard will help in understanding the steps the user takes to complete the task and their frustrations along the way.
Customer Journey Map
The storyboard helped further synthesise the data to create Customer Journey Map.
Customer Journey Map below illustrates John’s scenario, his goals and expectations. It provides visual representation of every experience John would have with our Kitchen assistant app. This helps in focusing on important touchpoint that John would have with our app and how we could provide great experience in those areas for him. This give us insights into the app features that we should develop along the customer journey.
I developed a number of user journeys and flows to help clarify the necessary steps to design for. There were a number of user goals and frustrations to satisfy but the key ones were to help John plan meal for the week and add people to his greener calendar. The simplified user flow below shows the key steps of John’s journey:
04. Developing the product
The design objective was to innovative new products for a house of the future.
The user flow map paved the way for ideation. Crazy 8 is a great method of ideation which helped in creating interesting features for the app.
Testing and Iterations
The first version of wireframes were created after the ideation method. Without the user flow and crazy 8, it would be quite difficult to develop screens for wireframing. It would have also taken a lot of time.
After creating the wireframe an initial user test was conducted. This was a low-fidelity paper prototype test to get user feedback at the initial stages. It is quicker to test and validate the designs at this stage as users can be extremely honest with their feedback to paper prototype rather than high fidelity flows. Also, it saves a lot of time in earlier validation of the flow.
We gathered feedback from the second iteration of the wireframe (as discussed above) and used it to created the mid-fidelity prototype (below).
Below, you will see the mid-fidelity plan your week calendar screen. This is where users can plan the date and time of the selected recipes in their calendar. The second screen enables the user to adjust the quantity of items in the pantry. The third screen is the Sync screen where the users can sync other devices and application to greener app. They can also share their calendar with other users.
Using the mid-fidelity prototype, we continued user testing and began designing the high-fidelity screens.
Our research suggested that the kitchen assistant app should be able to operate on all the devices. Most of the users while cooking require a bigger and wider screen. iPad and smart TV or a fridge installed with screen with these functions would be ideal for a Kitchen set up. We considered to use iPads as they were cost-effective, user friendly and could be installed anywhere. We started designing a concept screen for the iPad. After rough sketching and user feedback, we developed a mid-fidelity wireframe of the iPad screen with the help of Axure design tool (below).
Below, you will see the mid-fidelity recipe screen of the iPad. This is where users can browse through numerous user generated repels that they could add to their calendar. User could get to know the calories, allergens and other details of the recipe. Recipes could be saved or book marked to create your own cookbook favourites. Recipes have simple step-by-step instructions to cook them. Using the mid-fidelity prototype, we continued user testing and began designing the high-fidelity screens.
Testing and Iterations
At all stages of prototyping, we tested and iterated the product. In total 5 participants were selected to test the prototype.
We adopted structured method of testing where users were given a task with specific objectives.With the help of Geneva Emotion Wheel, we could get their emotional view on the app. We also used the Think Aloud method to understand and note any challenges faced by the user. After getting the detailed notes on their emotional interactions with the prototype, we noted their behaviour while they provided their feedback of the app. The behaviour was tracked with the help of Action-Measure Sheet.
1. Add recipie to calendar
2. Share Calendar with other users
3. Adjust Quantity of Pantry items
4. View your Shopping Cart
User feedback from testing was considered in order to proceed onto the next stage. Revisions were made and incorporated throughout the design process.
05. Delivery & next steps
Specification & style guide
Below is the completed documentation and a style guide for this project. I developed a style guide inspired by the green colour for the Greener app and used white and shades of green to develop its visual identity and branding.
Take a look at the Greener prototype:
A science friction to understand the future of Greener Kitchen assistant app. The video below shows the life of Greener Delivery Drone.
Sheffield, H. (2017). Why is UK household food waste getting worse?. [online] The Independent. Available at: //www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/how-the-uks-household-food-waste-problem-is-getting-worse-a7520171.html [Accessed 17 Dec. 2018].
Kirk, A. and Scott, P. (2018). No time for leftovers: The astonishing scale of food waste in the UK and around the world. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/02/no-time-leftovers-astonishing-scale-food-waste-uk-around-world/ [Accessed 22 Dec. 2018].
McCook, K. and Hillis, S. (2017). How to Leverage Customer Feedback to Drive Product Innovation | FMI. [online] FMI. Available at: //www.fminet.com/fmi-quarterly/article/2017/12/leverage-customer-feedback-drive-product-innovation/ [Accessed 27 Dec. 2018].