Mobile Application
Figma, UXPin, Adobe Illustrator
UI/UX Designer, UX Researcher
Helen Nguyen, Chantal Huang
Domain Problem
With the rise in alternative diets, selective eaters cannot find appropriate recipes to accommodate their diets, while being able to comfortably and safely try out new foods.
Research Insights
Through our research, we found that people find it hard to modify existing recipes for dietary needs. This, together with the stress of finding restaurants and foods that a selective eater can find, lead to a lower quality of life. These eaters struggle to find acceptable food, potentially not eating at all or excessively meal planning. 
Value Proposition
Through the use of our application, we hope to create value for our users by allowing them to:
1. Easily find diet-specific recipes, reducing the complexity of finding appropriate foods and overcoming their reluctance of cooking for themselves
2. Avoid the uncertainty of success for alternative ingredients they've found themselves, which may not be suitable for their recipes
3. Feel encouraged and positive towards trying out new ingredients, recipes, and cuisines
We kept a few different things in mind when developing our solution. Since we had lots of friends and family with dietary restrictions, we needed to make the app as simple and accessible as possible, while also giving more advanced users the ease of use they expect.
We also considered a few different use-cases that users would have for the application and when they would use it, developing two crucial use-cases: 1) when the user is planning future meals, and 2) when the user needs an ingredient substituted last minute. Thus, the application we created allows for users to save and browse meals, but also has a function for users to search for ingredient substitutions separate from the recipe catalog.
Target Users
Young Adults (20-29 years)
"Poor dietary behaviour are of particular concern for young adults...The barriers experienced by young adults making different food choices can be driven by life stage changes."
People within this target segment have developed and acquired tastes throughout their adolescence, while still being open-minded towards trying new foods. With the many large life stage changes happening, such as moving out, starting university, and starting their career, they have a newfound freedom in their food choices. With freedom also comes responsibility, as they must take charge of their own health, beginning to think more about their diet and meal planning.
Challenges & Opportunities
Some challenges that arise due to these unique circumstances are difficulty of finding suitable recipes for their specific diet, not wanting to try new foods due to inconvenience or intolerances, and finding that suitable foods may be hard to find or expensive.
Given that users in this segment are more comfortable with technology and use smartphones heavily, creating a mobile application is the most feasible platform for our application. In the future, we may want to consider creating a web-accessible version for tablets and PCs.
Design Process
Seven weeks of ideation, brainstorming, sketches, storyboarding, user-testing, to prototyping.
Initial Sketches
We started off by sketching a few of our key pages and interactions, which were focused on the recipe listings and search filters.
First Mockups
User Testing
We completed user testing with several individuals within our target user segment: between the ages of 20-29 and with dietary restrictions (allergies or following a special diet).
Task Overview
During the pre-test, users were asked general questions such as whether they are familiar with using mobile applications, whether they have used applications with search/filtering systems in the past, and how often they look up recipes online.
During the application testing, they were told to complete the following workflow: 1) create an account, 2) search for a specified recipe, 3) find substitutable ingredients for the recipe, 4) bookmark a featured recipe, 5) visit profile and edit their dietary choices.
During the post-test interview, users were asked to give qualitative feedback on their favourite and least favourite features and/or interactions in the interface, if they would be willing to use this application in the future, along with other feedback.
Through this process, we were able to gather a lot of valuable feedback on our interface to fix for the final iteration.
Clean Interface with Intuitive Micro-Interactions
Participants felt that actions were easy to complete and they did not get distracted by elements on the page
High Use-Potential & Opportunities
Participants believed the application would add value to their lifestyles and they could see additional features and expansion of app abilities to further encompass special dietary lifestyles
Importance of Consistency Across Application & New-User Guidance
Users were slightly confused by inconsistencies in language and recipe categorization across the application, as well as some unexplained interactions that are not seen in non-recipe related applications.
Final Prototype
The final prototype can be accessed here on UXPin, with a more in-depth showcase of our features on our website here.
Sign Up & Profile
Get registered and select your dietary preferences

Homepage & Search
Browse featured recipes or search using categories and filters
Recipes & Ingredients
View recipe listings with their ingredient alternatives
Profile, Bookmarks & Preferences
View saved recipes under bookmarks, edit personal info and dietary preferences
Closing Thoughts
This was definitely one of the largest projects I've ever taken on, and it was extremely fulfilling to see our finished product. As a team, we had to do a lot more critical thinking than I expected to do during the research phases and during our weekly class presentation and critique sessions, as we needed to make sense of the information we were collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing each week. 
The most nerve-wracking moment was definitely in the user-testing stage. Having to let people play around with our products without interrupting them or providing extra guidance for incomplete areas was hard, as I was worried they would give us negative feedback. Thankfully we had great participants that gave us very constructive feedback and allowed us to fix many crucial elements and create a much better application for the final iteration!

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