User Experience and Product Design
Project Overview
Tasked with finding a problem which has a global impact, we set out to determine our area of interest and quickly settled on food waste, specifically for small households. Throughout these 10 weeks we did primary and secondary research to define and learn about our target audience. Then we set out to create a solution that solved all of our core pain points, creating digital and physical prototypes and deliverables.
My Contributions
Being my first proper UX Design class, this project was all about learning every part of the UX design process from research to implementation. However, I lead mostly in UI/Interaction design as well as user testing. I had large contributions with graphics, secondary & primary research and affinization but those were not my primary roles. Taylor and I designed and tested the entire app side of our solution, with me taking the lead.
January-February 2020
(10 Week Project)
My Roles
UI Design
Interaction Design
User Testing
User Research
Team Members
Taylor R. (PM)
Luke L.
Garbiel V.
Isabela M.
A global issue
Our initial research into the problem area.
Our team started with secondary research to understand the problem at a global scale and define some core statistics which would help us pitch to our "investors" (the class and professor). We searched high and low for statistics and studies around this topic and found three striking figures which guided our entire project. The three figures are: "1/3rd of all food produced is wasted", "55% of all edible leftovers are left unused", and "3.5lbs of food is wasted per person per household each week".

Next we took research into our own hands and conducted our primary research with 4 different techniques. We conducted, 2 participant observations, 11 cultural probes, 29 interviews with experts/users, and received 106 survey results. I played a large role in this process, creating the cultural probe diary, conducting interviews and more. We had just a 1.5 week timeframe. We used all of this great data together and affinitized, finding trends and commonalities between insights to develop deeper and more meaningful How Might We statements.

Together we moved forward with a more clear and distinct path forward. Our final target audience was 18-35 year old home cooks who cook for small households.
The Problem
Who and what are we designing for?
With our target audience finalized, we got a clearer vision of what the problem is and who it is effecting; 18-35 year old home cooks who serve small households. This may seem like a small group of people, however in our primary research especially, we found this was the group of people most willing to adopt a new solution for cooking to reduce their food waste. This demographic was not only knowledgeable but makes up a very large portion of the United States food waste mostly due to their awkward cooking proportions and constantly changing lifestyles.

Our problem statement was then clear:
People all over the world are starving, while here in the United States and other countries, food is being underutilized.

For the remainder of our 10 week project period, our task was to develop a solution that truly solved this issue. Looking at our target audience, we needed to find ways to have a solution that is informational, intuitive and at the end of the day reducing food waste, as much as possible.
Ideation And Affinization
Gathering data and integrating ideas.
Key Insights
User insights that were imperative to the overall design of the solution.
  • Cooking small portions is very difficult to do efficiently
  • Food waste is being recognized but little to no effective solutions exist for users to reduce their waste
  • Users reference recipes and material when cooking
  • Poor or no planning leads to a temporary solution and double the waste
  • Time and money are top of mind when deciding on saving or consuming food
personas and journey maps
Giving our team a clear definition of our users and their journey to identify key opportunity areas.
Opportunity areas
Some of our key areas of impact.
  • Eliminate need for single use storage solutions for leftovers and groceries
  • Providing users with more customizable portion sizes
  • Recreate grocery delivery services while improving their efficiency
  • Preventing the need for leftovers through proper recipe portions
  • Use alternative technologies for seamless recipe referencing
User/expert Testing
Testing our hypothesis on real users within our target audience.
Main pain points
Our expert and user testing provided us with the opportunity to refine some features...
  • Delivery and grocery list pages (unclear purpose of each page)
  • Interaction with product (what is the best way for us to interact with meli?)
  • Onboarding (more examples of how meli benefits me)
  • Home page (lack of focal point)
  • Slider design (not clearly a slider)
Final Deliverables
After just ten weeks of class, we presented our final work.
Meli itself
The final product
Our final Presentation
Physical Prototype
A working Figma document that allows you to travel through our application.
The entire Process
A more in depth and detailed look into our process.
Process book
advertising meli
A short video used to attract customers and potential investors for our solution.
Vision Video
Reflecting on the project
What I would change, do differently or tweak looking back on the project.
Looking back on this project, being my first experience with UX, I see lots of issues. However, I am impressed with how much our team was able to accomplish and demonstrate in 10 weeks. We created some great graphics and figures in order to explain things like the user journey and opportunity areas. We also came out with good quality final deliverables, despite only having four days to complete all of them.

There is always room for improvement and boy does this project need some improvement. It became abundantly clear that some of our graphics needed to be zoomed in on or better designed to really drive our points to our "investors". Additionally, I would have loved to conduct further user testing with some sort of lo-fi prototype that simulates meli's product interactions with the application. Our limited time doing user testing resulted in a less polished and intuitive final product. Our user testing sessions were crucial to our final design and I would have loved to do additional rounds of testing while stepping up our fidelity.

The main issue I see with this project was the efficacy of the final deliverables. I keep asking myself, does this actually solve the issue? Something which is impossible to answer without developing the project and conducting research into people's waste habits before and after interacting with our product. Of course this process would take months if not years to conduct and realistically would need financial backing to complete this sort of rigorous testing.
OverviewThe ProblemUser TestingFinal DeliverablesReflection