Young adults often buy more food than they know how to cook with at home, and through a lack of recipe ideas or a lack of time, they end up wasting their leftover ingredients and their money.
It’s incredibly hard buying just the right amount of groceries for one person–either you buy too much and throw it out, or not enough and have to go back to the market. Just recently, I bought brussel sprouts and thought I could make a good side dish. Of course, once I got home, I couldn’t find the exact recipe I wanted for the ingredients I had. I managed to throw some things together, and ended up making the entire bag so it wouldn’t go to waste. Needless to say… I ate brussel sprouts with every meal for three days. 🙅🏻 (never again, please.)
Overeasy helps users efficiently manage their pantries by curating recipes to utilize what they already own.
1. College students with income and mobility restraints
2. Working professionals with not enough time
From here, we used a variety of research methods including observations and interviews to gather information. We asked them detailed questions regarding their cooking and eating habits.
Our objectives were:
- To understand what people currently do with leftovers after cooking meals in their homes.
- To understand the habits of grocery shoppers in terms of their considerations when buying ingredients and filtering through what they deem is necessary to own.
- To understand how meal prepping plays a role in cooking and buying groceries.
We discovered that for many people,
FOOD IS JOY.
“I get sad when my food is gross.”
“I use food as a way to destress.”
PEOPLE ARE TOO BUSY TO EAT.
“I either eat to live, or live to eat.”
“Food gives me energy on busy days and gives enjoyment on the weekends”
We realized two things:
We then saw a need
- to quickly and easily find uses for existing ingredients
- for reminders to be set for expiring ingredients
- for tips & easy instructions to educate users
- to explore meal options and sift through recipes easily
We slowly played with different ideas, discussing and voting for specific elements.
As part of our evaluation process, we tackled the problem of how to import ingredients. We had different ideas–scanning receipts, manually inputting ingredients, and barcode scanning. We decided to incorporate and integrate all three because they were key to our app. Scanning receipts brought the problem that only the bare minimum information would be processed (the name of the item at most) but this could lead to a screen for manually inputting information (or skipping it). Barcode scanning was the most essential way of inputting an item, as there are large databases with that information. Another debate we had was if a list category of “Most Used” would give information in a general app sense (what all users use a specific ingredient for) or if it would be more personalized (what you yourself most often used the ingredient for). We wanted to incorporate a swiping card function where you could favorite a recipe or delete it from suggested recipes. We debated over whether that was too much of an extreme interaction with the app, and decided to have more of a carousel card view where you could go back to different recipes.
Features that we found incredibly useful throughout this process of ideation include a calendar-style tracking system for expiration dates, an overview of expired food when you first log in, a card view of recipes, and scanning receipts/expiration dates/barcodes of your groceries. We found the calendar view essential because it is a visual way to view the information and encourages the user to plan to use foods in a “due date”-like format. The overview was effective in that it was a quick, and interactive way to prioritize foods that were on the brink of expiration. Using a card view for recipes made sifting through recipes quicker and easier visually than a normal list-view would. Lastly, we think implementing scanning of either receipts or barcodes and expiration dates of foods can cut down on the time it takes to manually input all of that information in order to efficiently and accurately keep track of what’s in your fridge.
Through each iteration, we evolved from paper to digital wireframes, eventually settling on a style.
Wireframe to final mockup.
This prototype brought to you by InVisionApp
We tested our prototype with five users, giving them a specific set of tasks including:
- signing up for an account
- view an expiring item
- scan the barcode on an item
- go to the recipe list and use the filter to modify the search
- find the nutritional information of fried rice
- log out of the account
Overall, users seemed to like our simple, clean design. The font we used suited our theme well – the sans-serif is easy to read, and its slightly rounded to create a playful feel. The color scheme and gradients are also light and playful, which creates a modern feel yet not too overwhelming.
Many also appreciated the egg icons and the puns that we used. Users claimed that these added character to our app that made it unique while staying relevant to the topic of food and cooking.
Throughout all the tasks we assigned, users seem to find navigating through our app relatively simple and easy to learn on their own. Everything that the user needed was mainly on the home screen, while “Recipes” was intuitive to go through for different functions because of the existing mental models associated with recipe pages. The individual recipe pages were easy to navigate through as well because of the tabs for Nutrition, Ingredients, and Steps.
The flow to accessing information is intuitive and requires only a few clicks. The three sections on the tab bar made it very convenient to access the key features of our app (inventory management, wildcard, and recipe search). The hamburger menu symbol is indicative of overarching controls of the entire app, and is useful to have access to it from every tab page.
Several suggestions that we received included personalization of data that can help with meal planning or convenience of accessing information. For instance, users would like a feature to access recently viewed recipes or history of made recipes. Or, users would like to be able to enter their personal information such as daily value of calories, and to be able to track how many calories they will consume when making multiple recipes in a day. Users also suggested having repetitive functions, such as having a submit button on the filters page and a logout button under account.
Sketch, Principle, InVision