- 30 days
- UX Design
- Home Cooking is a cooking app that offer recipes from all over the world. The goal is to excite user to establish a long term cooking practice but also to learn about other culture though cooking and eating. The app features a meal planning calendar, grocery list generator and recipe suggestions based on user reviews.
User Story 1- " I want to plan my meals."
While the idea of a meal planner calendar isn’t new, the goal of this planner in Home Cooking is to nudge users to inject new recipes into their cooking routines. Doing this in a fun and intuitive way can encourage users to stay on track with their cooking goals.
User Story 2- “ I want to make a meal plan with variety.”
One of the allure of delivery apps is access to cuisines from all over the world. Through user research, I found out most people assume their go- to dish is very hard to make, and struggles with meal redundancy, my goal is to inspire user to cross that threshold and attempt to make that dish and introduce that dish into their recipe rotation. My solution is an end of day recipe review prompt that generate recommendations for similar dishes based on regions.
User Story 3- " I want to plan a detailed grocery list."
The shopping list adjusts ingredient amount based on recipe portion size that user can easily edit. Ingredient substitution allows user flexibility and removes a mental roadblocks to cooking a new dish. It also provide photos of each ingredient for easy shopping identification in store.
I did a high level brainstorming session to create a general roadmap for Home Cooking. The 3 key points i took away is the below..
• How might we establish inspire user to establish long term cooking practice?
• How might we expand user’s palate ?
• How might we facilitate user’s curiosity for other culture through cooking ?
I created a Google Survey to research on potential users for Home Cooking. I recruited a pool of people who lives in NYC and who express interest in cooking. There were 20 survey participants. This is generally a highly educated and medium to high income group. The most interesting piece of data is most speaks at least 2 languages, which suggests this is a culturally diverse group.
I interviewed 5 people from the same group of people who participated in user demographic surveys, I asked them questions regarding their general cooking habits and lifestyles.
90% of user want to adapt long term cooking habit.
85% of user say they turn to delivery for newness & convenience.
82% of user says lack of planning leads to eating deliveries.
90% of user say they have never tried to make their go to delivery order.
55% of user plan their meals in advance, 45% of user do not.
I looked at the top three meal planning apps on Apple Store, each has their own strength and weakness.
- shopping options like in store or online delivery OR pick up
- strong message in reducing food waste.
- sleek design/ interface
- beatiful photography
- featured chefs
- “ethnic” recipes feels authentic
- user can scan recipes
- can add recipes from any website.
- recipes are too wordy, lengthy, more info than necessary.
- cannot adjust portion size.
- not enough variety of dishes
- paid version isn’t worth the value.
- annoyingly amount of premium features/ recipes that isn’t free.
- it’s very western focused but specifically Amerientric .
- hard to find out how to customize diets
- cannot share meal calendar /grocery list with other ppl.
- grocery list is not linked to online retailers.
- Diet filter doens’t completely work.
- better usability with adding individual shopping cart items.
- looks sleek but an example of form over function, users cannot easily get to meal planners easily
- function that allows user to add their own recipes.
- recipe generator based on ingredients you already have.
- ability to switch b/t metric/ imperial measure system.
- cannot export list to print.
- recipes are not simply not exciting
- doesn’t offer solutions for 2 dietary preferences.
- too western focus, doesn’t feel inviting or tailored to people from a different country or just is interested in other cuisines.
- doesn’t have function to manage pantry and fridge.
- Cannot manually edit grocery list
Through interviewing the core target demographic, I discovered there are 2 major types of users. There are type A -The Meal Planners vs Type B- The Non- Meal Planners. Each type of user presents its own unique challenges/ pain points.
Through creating the personas, I was able to formulate a series of user stories. There were stories like being able to “ manage the content of the freezer and pantry more efficiently, or wanting “ to cook with seasonal ingredients”. I prioritized the top three that would facilitate cooking on a day to day basis.
User story 1- I want to " plan my weekly meals."
User story 2- I want to " make a meal plan with enough variety."
User story 3- I want a " detailed grocery list."
User story 4 - I want to " cook with seasonal ingredients."
User story 5 - I want to " manage ingredients in my fridge."
User story 6 - I want to "learn about other culture.“
User story 7 - I want to " connect with people from other part of the world."
Given limited time and resource, i wanted to focus on the immediate day to day problems, which is how to help user plan their meals effectively, excitingly, so they can avoid the delivery apps. The tertiary problems like produce, pantry management, and the community building aspect gets put on the back burner.
User Story 1- I want to " plan my weekly meals."
User Story 2- I want to " make a meal plan with enough variety."
User flow 3 - ” I want a detailed grocery list.”
I moved onto creating a site map that would serve as a map of how each user flow would relate to each other on the platform.
This shows an instance of how a Type A user like Camilla would interact with Home Cooking. Let's say her go to favorite dish is Mapo Tofu, this app would encourage her to try it since she already shopped for the ingredients.
It's Friday night, Camilla is tired from working long hours, she is hungry and is trying to decided what to eat for dinner.
She gets an alert from Home Cooking reminding her she has ingredients for Mapo Tofu.
She reads the instruction and decide to make Mapo Tofu.
She made Mapo Tofu
and it was easy and delicious!
Home Cooking sends her a recommendation list for similar dishes to Mapo Tofu.
Taking the information architecture I built for the site map, I did some crazy 8 sketches to spit out as many different ideas as possible to explore divergent paths.
Through rapid prototyping and iteration, i constantly performed user interviews and user testing, I did a total of 5 rounds of iteration, there were many changes, some were flow changes, some were UI changesI won’t talk about all of of the changes, but i am going to talk about 2 important changes.
• Intake question section was much longer.
• Single choices vs. multiple choices.
• Streamlined steps
• Tailored and eliminated confusing wording
• In the earlier iterations like version 1 and 2, I had designed a long, 3 step intake questionnaire to gauge user’s cooking/ eating/ and flavor preferences to create an tailored experience for consumers, I had tested it on a small group of people, the feedback was unanimously that it was simple too long of a onboarding process and user will lose interest.
• Through user testing, i found out the wording/ icons on some of the questions were confusing, and some questions are simply not applicable to them. So where i landed is the 2 screens you see on the right, users would only need to go through 2 simple questions before they can get to the world recipe page and start to plan their meals.
• Shift away from a more realistic representation of the world map.
• Addition of search bar allows for specification.
• Toggle button between map/ list form for clarity and easy navigation.
• I decided to shift away from the realistic depiction of the world map because through user testing, I found out users are less concerned about the exact location of an recipe’s place of origin, they just want to get a general idea of of where the recipe is from.
• The result is a cleaner and stylized world recipe map, then through another round of user testing, I decided to add the options of being able to view the same info in recipe vs list form, that again was a insight through user testing.
Like I mentioned earlier, i did 5 rounds of iteration. the most formative interview was done on version 4, which was the last iteration i did before version 5/ final prototype. Through this feedback capture grid, i was able to move forward and finesse the final prototype for Home Cooking.
- Ingredient substitution feature.
- World recipe map because it feels like a video game.
- Ingredient amount on the recipe wasn't specified.
- Wording on the intake questions are confusing.
- Some user might not be familiar with world geography.
- It's hard to buy new ingredient/ condiment if you don't know what you are looking for
- Would like to see a section that feature seasonal ingredients, that could inspire users to make a new dish.
- Would be fun to see some the evolution of a dish, for example, noodle was introduced to Italy by Marco Polo after he visited China in the 14th century, that was the precursor to Italian pasta.
I performed a A/B test on one of the most important feature of Home Cooking, which is the meal planner calendar screen. In this test, i wanted to find out which one of these screens help user plan their meals more efficiently. This test was performed through Google Survey with participants of 10 people.
89 % of user sprefer this version because the days are collapsible and it offers easy navigation.
While this version allow for bigger photos, it was confusingfor users to navigate.
I conducted google polling survey, with participant of 8 participants. On a scale of 1-5, 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest. I asked them to rate this app on a series on criteria like “ how easy was it to make a meal plan” and perhaps the most important question of them all is “ how likely are you to use this app to establish a long term cooking habit” and it was a 4.2.
Refine & Finesse
• Add more recipes from around the world.
• Import recipes from other platforms.
• Recipe generator based on ingredients on hand.
• A log that tracks ingredients in the fridge & pantry.
Bridge Across Cultures
• Quarterly progress pop up that show user all the dishes from the world they made.
• Get user to share family recipes and stories
• Tech can divide or unite us. Learning and appreciating other culture can be a way to bridge our differences, Home Cooking hope to do that through cooking.
Kinder Approach to Health
• Cooking can not only utilitarian in purpose but it can be a way to stay connected to the world by knowing and learning what you are putting in your body.
Legacy & Heritage
• Recipes are accumulation of culture and history. Passing down and sharing recipes can be a way of celebrating your family’s legacy.