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Vary App –
UX Case Study

USER EXPERIENCE, USER INTERFACE,
PROTOTYPING

For my General Assembly User Experience Design project, my goal was to create a tool that would allow a user to find recipes to cook based on what ingredients they had on hand in their home. If people could create a meal without a trip to the grocery store they seemed much more likely to do so, and much less likely to waste the food that’s already in the fridge.

After researching the competitive landscape in this area I realized that a few websites and apps did something similar, but none did it well. With some additional features I thought I could create a product that would solve the problem and function better than the competition.

ORIGINAL PROBLEM

People need an easy way to find recipes that they can cook at home with the ingredients they already have on hand.

People need an easy way to find recipes that they can cook at home with the ingredients they already have on hand.

People need an easy way to find recipes that they can cook at home with the ingredients they already have on hand.

USER INTERVIEWS & AUDIENCE

I sought out folks with a variety of attitudes toward cooking, cooking habits, and experience levels.

After completing the user interviews and creating an affinity map to identify common Insights I determined that there were other more important problems for home cooks. These insights are what led me to pivot and aim to solve a different problem from where I began.

Insights

I followed up with an additional set of questions to help better define the new problem.

From this analysis I made 2 user personas and defined their problems and goals in making meals at home.

PERSONAS

THE REAL PROBLEM(S)

1.
Nick needs a better way to find new recipes because experimenting with and discovering new foods is the fun part about cooking.

1.
Nick needs a better way to find new recipes because experimenting with and discovering new foods is the fun part about cooking.

1.
Nick needs a better way to find new recipes because experimenting with and discovering new foods is the fun part about cooking.

1.
Nick needs a better way to find new recipes because experimenting with and discovering new foods is the fun part about cooking.

2.
Nick needs new/unique ingredients to be more accessible because the unfamiliarity is intimidating and keeps him from cooking certain meals.

2.
Nick needs new/unique ingredients to be more accessible because the unfamiliarity is intimidating and keeps him from cooking certain meals.

2.
Nick needs new/unique ingredients to be more accessible because the unfamiliarity is intimidating and keeps him from cooking certain meals.

2.
Nick needs new/unique ingredients to be more accessible because the unfamiliarity is intimidating and keeps him from cooking certain meals.

Since I pivoted to “discovery” as the problem to solve, basing recipes on what ingredients one has at home went against the idea of exploring and finding NEW meals to cook; so I ditched it and moved forward with what I thought was a more interesting and rewarding problem to solve.

DESIGN PROCESS

USER FLOW: The flow starts by selecting a cuisine they know and like, followed by a main dish they enjoy that falls within that cuisine.

Once Nick selects a dish he is served up similar recipes from other cuisines that he may be less familiar with, or had just not thought of as an option for cooking at home.

FEATURE PRIORITIZATION: All possible features were plotted onto a prioritization matrix and only the necessary features needed to create a MVP were selected to move forward in the design process. Discovery was the main idea that most people seemed interested in and would also return the most reward.

SITEMAP: The key features were organized into a sitemap. Moving the direction of an app that could be used on a mobile device or tablet made the most sense for use in the kitchen.

UserFlow

PROTOTYPING & TESTING

Low-Fidelity

A very rough paper prototype was thrown together and tested in class. It became clear that the order in which decisions were made was extremely important and I had to update the User Flow before moving to the next stage.

Paper_opt
Med_Fidelity

Medium-Fidelity

After revising the User Flow I refined the prototype in Sketch and used InVision to create a clickable Medium-Fidelity prototype to continue my User Testing.

User Testing

USER TASKS
1. Explore some meal options based on what you like
2. Schedule and order groceries for a meal
3. Update your dietary preferences

TAKEAWAYS
* Search AND browse was redundant and confusing
* Scheduling process needed reordering for clarity
* An app with a lot of content, placeholder copy was not my friend as it added confusion based on the lack of context
* Update profile stuff & dietary is intuitive and needs no more exploration

User_Test

FINAL PROTOTYPE

Next, a much more robust prototype was designed based on the user testing results. It included a refined UI and some animation to tease future features. My main focus at this point was to continue concentrating on the overall user experience and functionality.

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Info

I'm Adam Selcke a designer in Chicago, Illinois currently working as a Senior Production Artist at Havas/Annex. I've worked the past 10+ years focusing on developing brands and improving user experiences.

I ride motorcycles, kick soccer balls, follow the Cubs, and tell plenty of dad jokes.