ChefUp

A one-stop solution for tracking groceries

Overview

ChefUp is a one stop solution for tracking grocery in and out of kitchen. ChefUp helps in tracking grocery in the kitchen by providing recipe suggestions using the items already available in the kitchen, shows expiration dates and provide reminders. ChefUp also has shared shopping list option to avoid confusing regarding grocery shopping in shared living spaces. It helps saving, less wastage of grocery due to expiration and also makes the grocery shopping experience sorted.

Objective

I live in a shared living space and completing dietary requirements as well as focusing on my studies was a difficult task. Everyday I had to think about what to cook and do I have the groceries. Some problem or the other made me order food online or run out to get extra groceries! So I took up the challenge of solving this problem which resonated with so many people in today’s world.

Goals

A mobile application that manages the complete food flow in the users’ homes.
An integrated solution that provides users to track grocery in kitchen, tailored recipe suggestions to decide upon hence encouraging low wastage of food.

Problem

A large number of people today lack time and patience to cook and eat healthy food, youngsters have no idea how to track their kitchen items and lack recipe knowledge. They end up ordering food, hence spending money unnecessarily. They lack any integrated tool to manage the food flow in and out of kitchen.

Role
Year
UX/UI Design
2021

Research

Competetive Research

Investigating the existing products in the market. Before diving into primary research I wanted to analyse the products already existing in the market today. Are they providing what the user needed? Are they enough helpful to the user to keep them engaged for long term usage? To figure out the app goals and target market we asked for app reviews from people who use them.
Two apps were considered for the competition review that is Yummly and SideChef.

Early Insights

Isn’t as expected
Usability problems as users took sometime to find out the app flow.
Confused with veg and non-veg meals and no filter option to filter out recipes

Not to the Point
Recipes were not tailored according to the individual
No recipe recommendation according to the meals like breakfast, lunch or dinner
Users skipped using the app because some item is missing always

No Control            
Users wanted to also see customised recipes with their choice of ingredients
Most of the features are also available in paid memberships

Less Options  
Very less options to choose, most of them are available on paid membership
Recipes does not match with kitchen items

Online Surveys

A total of 17 individuals took part in the survey where the target audience were people
aged between 20 - 40 years. Online surveys are a part of quantitative research so as to include more number of individuals in the research process to understand the small details of their experience. Survey questions majorly included questions about the users visitation to grocery store, frequency of food wastage, time taken to decide meals. Target audience were mostly young college students who stay in shared spaces, single professionals and married working women with family.

Survey Questions
(click to enlarge)

User Interviews

In-depth user interviews was conducted with 7 potential users on how they manage their dietary requirements, how do they manage their groceries, are they successfully managing the food flow in and out of kitchen, are they using any tool for it. User interviews helped me understand minute details about the problems the user faced in the kitchen, be it spending a lot of time everyday to make food or they are happy with their traditional pen paper method of tracking and shopping. I chose a particular group of interviewees who get affected by this problems.

Interviewee Details
  • College students living in shared living spaces
  • Working married women with family
  • Youngsters with money crunch
  • Single office professionals with busy work life
Goals of the interview
  • To understand how they manage their kitchen in shared living spaces. Do they have any tools for doing it?
  • Are they successfully completing their dietary requirements? Are they facing and problems due to unhealthy diet?
  • Do they have all the items needed to make food whenever required?
  • How do they manage their grocery shopping? Are they satisfied with the money they spend?
  • Are they ready to adapt to a digital way of managing or will they stick to the traditional pen paper method?

Insights from the Interviews

In interviews many problems came into light. It included keeping up with daily dietary needs, they do not cook due to lack of recipe knowledge. After office they don’t have time to see what groceries they have in kitchen and make a good recipe out of it. College students because of their assignments don’t get time to make, eventually order food online. Even if they try making usually they find the groceries expired, which results in waste of money and food. Mothers with kids have to constantly make something new, so it is difficult to give them something new everytime. Young people are getting grey hair and joint pains due to their bad diet. Youngsters get swayed with good advertising and buy things unnecessarily, having no idea what to buy and what not to. In shared spaces it is difficult to shop because they don’t actually know what to make. They think about this after going to a supermarket, thus they waste extra time.

“ After cooking for one or two days a week I stop cooking and order food from outside “  
“ I eat frozen foods, bread and biscuits until I go shopping “              
I would love to keep a healthy diet but takes a lot of time. Really hard “        

Problems Faced

Define

User Persona

To empathize with the users and try to find a solution to their problems, I made two personas. The personas helped to prioritize the type of users, and also gave a clear idea to execute combined solutions to their problems. Building personas gave a direction to the solving process and opened new design opportunities.

Exploring Solutions

After the user interviews and survey responses and insights from them, I started brainstorming and thinking how to solve the major problems most of the audience were facing. How do I help them tackle the problems and get a peaceful daily living. I decided to focus majorly on some areas :

- How might we help the users to make overall cooking experience easy and less time    consuming?

- How might we help users manage their kitchen items all at one place?

- How might we help young audience to lead a healthy diet?

- How might we make shopping experience less chaotic?

Initial Features to be focused

Ideation

Initial Sketches & Iteration

These are the initial sketches I came up with solving some of the major issues mentioned by the users. After I tested them with the users I figured out some of the changes that I found would be critical from what feedback they gave. I have mentioned the changes below the sketches.

Task Flow

(click to enlarge)

Information Architecture

(click to enlarge)

Low-fi Wireframes

Prototype & Test

Hi-fi Prototype

Feedback & Iteration

Likes
  • Reminders of expiry dates
  • Shopping List, can add members to list
  • Shopping List arranged into categories, so no chaos to search a counter many times
  • Recipes catered to individual
  • Less food wastage, easy kitchen management
  • Healthy diet flow
  • Ease of use, good UI
Dislikes
  • Confused with cross button in Shopping List. Not clear if its cancel an item or bought the item.
  • No option to see saved recipes
  • Users wanted to see the Add items screen
  • Wanted reminders before a day or two before the items is about to expire
Iterations
  • Added tick and cross button in Shopping List. Tick is bought and cross is cancelled
  • Notify others members when an item is deleted from the shared shopping list
  • Changing diet related options from Settings
  • Remove the list icon from the recipe detail page and add See List

Takeaway

Challenges

Working on an individual concept project with a time constraint was a challenge for me. It limited me from intensive research but I did just the right amount of research to make an app which would impact the users daily lives. The problem which I chose resonated with me as well as it is a part of people’s life today in one way or the other.

My Learnings

Time constraint taught me to work in a certain amount of time by taking my self made deadlines seriously. I completed the project in the set amount of time. User feedback and iterations made the app concept impactful. Users already wanted an app like ChefUp in their lives.

     Let's work together  🚀