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TasteBuddy

Project Overview

A digital solution for users with dietary restrictions to filter ingredients on restaurant menus.
Type: Solo Academic Capstone Case Study
Role: UX Researcher, UX/UI Designer
Duration: 10 weeks
Tools: Figma
Platform: iOS
During my UX Design Bootcamp at BrainStation, we were tasked with completing a capstone project over the span of 10 weeks. This project was an end-to-end UX design process that involved designing a digital solution for an identified human-centered problem.

Starting Point & Motivation:

As a foodie that enjoys trying new restaurants with others, I found the restaurant decision-making process of interest for those that have dietary restrictions and strong food preferences. I always aim to ensure that the people I dine with also have a great experience in the variety of menu items they can have.

The Design Process:

My process for this design challenge was to leverage a non-linear design-thinking methodology. Through this human-centred approach, the goal was to design a desirable solution that addressed users’ real human needs.
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Empathize

Problem Space:

Having dietary restrictions can be a challenging problem for many people, as it limits their food choices, the restaurants they can visit, and even their social interactions when it comes to eating out. This can be a source of frustration and make it difficult for people to enjoy meals with friends and family. Additionally, it can be emotionally draining to try and find ways to accommodate one's dietary restrictions, and it can lead to feelings of guilt or exclusion.

Secondary Research:

During my initial quantitative research phase, I found that having dietary restrictions can be a challenge when dining-out. It may even impact how frequently one dines out, where they dine, and how they prepare for such occasions. Even more than that, dietary restrictions can have social and emotional impacts.
20% of Canadians observe some sort of committed dietary regimen.
54% of Canadians dine-out once a week or more.

Primary Research:

To gain a better understanding of the problem space and the affected individuals, I reached out to 3 Canadians who dine-out at least 1x a week and who follow a dietary regimen or dines-out with one that follows a dietary regimen. Post-interviews, using an Affinity Map, I organized the insights gained from my interviews into motivations, behaviours, and pain points. 
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How might we provide Canadians that have dietary restrictions and/or strong preferences, a positive experience when choosing a restaurant to dine-in at in order to ensure that it can accommodate and alleviate any inconveniences for them and their attendees.

Define

Persona:

With all the information I gathered from my secondary research and interviews, I synthesized it to develop a persona that would allow me to portray my target user. Having my persona at the core of my design decisions ensured that I always had the user in mind.
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Experience Map:

After developing my persona, Liz, I created an Experience Map to get a better understanding of their journey. By defining the stages of their experience as a Canadian foodie with a strict dietary regimen, I would be able to pinpoint the ideal moments of opportunity where I could intervene with a digital solution.
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Developing a Solution:

After identifying key moments where I could intervene, I moved into the problem-solving phase where I began to explore User Stories and Epics to see how users like Liz might use digital solutions to help them overcome the challenges they face as a foodie deciding where to dine-out based on her needs.

User Stories:

Based on the information gathered in the research phase and the persona, 20+ user stories were curated to capture their functional requirements
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Solution & Core Epics: 
Creating a digital platform that allows users to filter their dietary restrictions and strong food preferences in order to find restaurants that offer menu items that fit their criteria. 

Task Flow:

After I selected the epic of "Flitering", I created a task flow diagram that would show how Canadians with dietary restrictions & strong food preferences can complete their main task of choosing a restaurant that offers menu items that fit their criteria of needs
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Ideate

Concept Sketching

Using pencil and paper, I began my preliminary sketching based on my task flow and a UI inspiration board I created, which includes the features and functionalities of filtering ingredients and comparing menu items that restaurants can offer to accommodate the users requirements. After various iterations, I refined the best ideas into solution sketches.
Capstone Sketches.png

Wireframes

I was now in a good place to start translating my sketches into mid-fidelity wireframes. Working with greyscale wireframes was a great way to see my digital solution come to life from a functional standpoint, it also allowed me to quickly test and iterate functionality before moving into high-fidelity wireframes.
Wireframe.png
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Test

Usability Testing

With the initial prototype built, I then conducted 2 rounds of usability testing with 10 different individuals to get feedback in real-time while they completed the tasks necessary to go through the flow of filtering ingredients and comparing menu items that restaurants offer.

After each round of testing, the feedback and insights from the testers were prioritized using a Design Prioritization Matrix. This allowed me to assess the effort it would take to fix and the value it would bring to the user.
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Refine

Brand Development

With testing done and having an improved greyscale prototype, I was ready to bring the design into High-Fidelity by developing and applying a brand and visual identity. When defining the brand identity, I knew it had to reflect the community this product was intended for. Developing a list of words I believe embody my brand came from what I gained from my interviews and research.
Capstone Moodboard.png

Brand Name Exploration

When exploring brand names, I aimed to choose a name that can be punny, fun, memorable, and relevant. Along with user opinions, I decided on the name TasteBuddy. The name represents one that symbolizes food and that is a complimentary guide.

Wordmark

The wordmark is friendly and fun in order to invite users. 
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Taste Buddy App Icon.png
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High Fidelity Prototype

After countless hours, multiple iterations, testing, color injection trials, and brand development, I could finally bring my prototype from Mid-Fidelity to Hi-Fidelity and finalize the TasteBuddy app.

Looking Ahead

Marketing Website

In order to market TasteBuddy to local users all over and to communicate its value, I created a marketing website for desktop & mobile.

Much like creating the app, I searched for UI inspiration as a starting point and explored some design ideas through sketching. Having previously built a UI library for the app made the design process much more efficient.

Future Thinking

I would like to incorporate a social engagement element to the app where it can be extended to other users utilizing the app when planning to dine-out in a group setting. When inviting others to dine-out, users can send a link or add others so that they can also input their dietary restrictions and food preferences so that it can find restaurants that accommodates everyones needs.

Design Impact

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Ensure to include disclaimer on the app that says to confirm with restaurant of their needs. For example, that certain food aren't touching others based off their allergies. 

Another aspect to consider, is that norms/habits can evolve with this app by pressuring restaurants to update their menu information to be more inclusive. 
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