Home Restaurant: accessible healthy eating
This began as a project for the seven-week IDEO.org Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design class. My partner and I came up with the concept for Home Restaurant, and I developed the mobile app portion independently during my spring semester at ACC. The following process integrates the two-person team project with my independent work.
The Design Challenge:
After consideration, we decided to focus our project on “How might we provide healthier food to people in need?”
- We conducted field research via immersive observation, competitive analysis
- We conducted expert interviews and targeted users in the geographic region of Austin we were focused on
- I visited two different grocery stores for contextual observation to observe shoppers, product offerings, and observe how customers traveled to and from the stores
Together my teammate and I spent time at a bus stop outside one of the stores to ask about their purchases, routines, and more. We wanted to learn about daily meal routines, where they accessed recipes, how they prepared meals, and other related qualitative information. As a byproduct, we also learned about how their budgets impacted their lives, and also gleaned insights about mobility issues in Austin.
We discovered that much of the low-income population in Austin struggles with mobility, and that accessing healthy food was a challenge. The residents we interviewed were aware of how food impacted their health, in fact some followed a modified diet due to chronic health conditions. Interviews with subject experts revealed that education was key to creating a behavioral shift towards healthier food habits, and addressing the false perception of affordability of seasonal produce.
Our focus is on low-income Austinites that live in areas where access to healthy foods is a challenge due to a false perception of high cost, and lacking availability to healthy produce. I created these personas during my studies at ACC.
Home Restaurant, a community-based brick and mortar program, was born from a partner class project for the IDEO.org Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design class. I revisited our work during my studies at ACC, and created a supplemental mobile app to reinforce the healthy eating curriculum and resources provided at the brick and mortar program.
The User Journey:
I drew this storyboard to illustrate the onboarding process of a new customer, Andre, to Home Restaurant. Because the restaurant is easily accessible within the user's community, it has a strong presence. The business plan includes selling food at cost, which directly competes against area fast food options. Curiosity drew Andre in, but the prices and familiarity combined with friendly staff welcomed him.
Initially I used a mind mapping technique to explore the areas of the app. This offers a quick way to get ideas out for consideration, while also providing a visual. I revisited the class project for Home Restaurant for guidance on what features to include. Initially, I wanted to focus on searching for and adding recipe ingredients to the shopping cart. This ties directly into the crucial educational component of Home Restaurant.
This app is designed for iOS due to popularity and usage among targeted users.
Key product features include:
- Filtered recipe searches using user-selected search criteria
- The ability to create a shopping list based on recipe ingredients
- Culturally sensitive recipes
I created the wireframes in Sketch, and used InVision to build out the interactive prototype. This allowed me to easily share it for usability testing.
Testing was conducted with users remotely.
- "The appearance was exactly what I expected."
- "I really love that it tells me which recipes are seasonal!"
- Standardizing language usage throughout
- Add a rating function so that users can review individual recipes.
- Suggestion to add pricing and an estimated total to the shopping cart
- Add a search function on the "home" screen
One assumption I potentially mistakenly made was that non-Spanish speaking users would be comfortable with recipes titled in Spanish versus translating to English. It was pointed out that is was confusing, even with an image of the meal. I would like to get further feedback in testing to see if other participants have this same preference.
Next I’ll focus on building out the remaining app components to meet key user scenarios, and conduct further usability testing. The first area of focus is the Calendar, as it’s important that it’s easily accessible for users, as it’s linked to the educational classes taught at the brick and mortar Home Restaurant.