UX Research Project
Heuristic: User Control and FreedomPeople couldn't adapt individual recipes to their preferences or generate new recipes without listing ingredients in their kitchen. Recipe discovery and preparation needed to be more flexible to match people's cooking behaviors.
Heuristic: Flexibility of Use
Terms like "weight loss" and "weight gain" emphasized weight-related goals, rather than supporting the goal of encouraging people to cook. Outcome-based goals don't need to be mentioned in each interaction with the app.
Heuristic: Mapping to Real Behaviors
Without user research to back up the design, I assumed people would diligently keep track of the ingredients they had. This was totally wrong! Allowing recipes to be discovered without restrictions gives people the opportunity to plan future meals.
Heuristic: Visbility of System Status
People had to do the math themselves to understand if individual recipes on their plate added up to met their nutrition goals. Highlighting the overall results of each choice can help people make informed decisions.
Who was in the survey?The 40 participants who responded were 18-24 years old. They were interested in healthy eating, but most cooked less than they want to because they don't have ingredients they need on-hand.
How do people cook?
29 participants said they have trouble deciding what to cook and often rely on ready-made food that is more predictable. They rarely grocery shop and try to use what's already in their fridge if they do cook.
How do people choose what to cook?
29 participants said that their mood dictates what they're going to eat. The most important factor is how the food itself looks.
Does nutrition influence cooking?
2x as many participants look at macronutrient ratios instead of calories when they cook.
Traditional nutrition apps ask users to track the foods they eat, which often leads to attrition after a few uses. I used this insight to flip the nutrition app model upside down. Instead of logging foods, Plateful helps people meet their nutrition goals by creating personalized grocery lists with exactly the right amount of each ingredient and tracking which recipes you made.
Quotes from App Store reviews
The biggest struggle people faced was with preparation before they cook, like shopping and choosing recipes that meet nutrition goals. I created 2 personas to summarize my research insights and design in the context of user goals, pain points, and use cases.
Moved in to an apartment with a kitchen for the first time
Getting bored of making the few recipes he knows
Impress his friends with his cooking skills
Try vegan foods to reduce animal products in her diet
Buying ingredients that are only used for one meal
Grocery shop efficiently and use all the food she buys
Plateful helps people find, make, and share great food. In 3 steps, get cooking with personalized grocery lists filled with quality ingredients and tailored to your nutrition needs.
Ingredients, ready when you are
Save recipes with personalized serving suggestions.
Initially, I imagined people scheduling time to meal prep in a calendar. Instead, I learned people want to open their fridge and see what they can make with the ingredients already there. Plateful helps people get the right ingredients on-hand by allowing them to save entire recipes to their shopping list.
Get creative while Plateful does the math
Get smart nutrition suggestions when you're ready to dig in.
Mood guides people towards their food choices. They're thinking more about the visual aspects of food than nutrition, but want to know their plate is balanced when it's time to eat. By adding recipes to My Plate, people can focus on choosing foods first and fine-tune quantities later.
A taste of community
Add your own recipes to Plateful and try out your friend's culinary creations.
People enjoy the communal aspects of cooking and eating; even when cooking alone, people are posting what they eat online for others to see. Plateful gets social with recipe sharing, so people can enjoy the foods their friends are trying.
To take Plateful to the next level of personalized nutrition guidance, offering visual summaries (like Spotify wrapped) of user's plate history could guide people towards their daily goals and help them remember their favorite recipes.
Integration with fitness tracking could also add value to users by suggesting meals based on the intensity of their workouts. This could promote people's awareness of the relationship between their nutrition needs and activity levels.
If you want to get in touch about any of my work, feel free to reach out!
Explore Other Projects