AI-powered assistant for a healthy diet

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Overview

 

Achieving diet goals is not easy. Specifically in the context of young individuals who often ignore their diet due to busy schedules and changing lifestyles. This application acts as an assistant to solve some major issues surrounding the consumption of healthy food and maintaining a balanced diet.

Advisor

Duration

Prof A. Fleming Seay

Team

Tools

Team of five

Figma, Usertesting.com

My contribution

I was a UX Researcher and designer for this project. I conducted 3 unstructured interviews, 2 structured interviews, worked on the research analysis, Designed the user interview and user testing scripts, collaborated on the design decisions and architectural strategies after each iteration of user testing.

8 weeks (Oct - Nov 2021)

 

Research

There are many well-designed applications to assist people in achieving their health goals. However, users often fail to continue using them. We used three methods to understand user needs and existing issues.

01

Survey

To understand how users perceive nutrition tracking and understand their goals surrounding it we conducted a survey to find patterns. We got 41 responses consisting of multiple choice and written answers.

To find patterns

02

Semi-Structured Interviews

We conducted 8 interviews to understand specific user challenges and reasons surrounding their food consumption.

To understand the reasons

03

Competitve Analysis

To compare and analyze effective solutions existing in the market, we looked into the primary features of 4 prevalent applications in the market from three major perspectives - motivation, support, and data input process. We then summarized the strengths and weaknesses of each product to get insights into what we can do.

Existing solutions and find scope for improvement

Affinity Mapping

After analyzing the information gathered, we have divided the pain points identified into 4 categories using affinity mapping

Time and Effort

Recipe Suggestions

Support

Awareness

Convenience over health - eat frozen food, order out, snack on junk

Skip meals or change meal plans due to busy schedule

Give up tracking diet as it is mundane and requires effort

Prefer Convenience in cooking

Looking for new and healthy recipes to achieve their goals. Hard to decide from so many choices

Repetitive dishes due to lack of awareness on alternatives

Difficulty estimating quantity 

Prefer different instruction formats based on experience level

Difficulty in keeping track of groceries - results in food wastage

Hard to read and understand nutrition facts

Unaware of healthiness of food in restaurants

Unsure if maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is worth the effort

Personas
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Ideation

Brainstorming

We conducted timer-induced brainstorming sessions to note down individual ideas on Figjam. We later went through each other ideas and discussed various solutions.

Personalize

Food management

Custom recipe suggestions

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Motivate

Reduce effort

Quantity estimation

User Stories/flows

1

Easily log my food consumption to track nutrition

2

Search recipes to cook based on my interests and requirements

3

Keep track of my groceries to avoid wastage

4

Get assistance in planning my diet

5

Find motivation and company to stick to my diet

 
Design & Evaluation

Low-fidelity wireframes

Mid-fidelity

prototype

Hi-fidelity prototype

Informaiton Architecture

Site map, key pages

Design and Usability test for major user flows

Modifications, gamification and Usability test

User testing
I

User testing
II

User testing III

Low-fidelity designs

Based on the features finalized from ideation and following the major user flows we sketched low-fidelity designs.

Home

1_1.jpg
Roots solution brainstorming (4).png

Access all sections

Track food consumption

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Log meals

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View nutrition information

Plan diet

plan page1
plan page2

recipe suggestions

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Roots solution brainstorming (8).png

search recipes

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recipe instructions

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Roots solution brainstorming (11).png

Add and track groceries

User feedback - Iteration I

Feedback was gathered using 5 guided user tests and generative questions to evaluate the information architecture and overall understanding of the application by the users.  Participants were provided with two simple tasks asked to perform as they think-aloud their understanding of each screen they visit.  The test ended by asking opinions on four different gamification ideas and follow-up questions. 

key insights

Expects to track through home page

"I'm confused between using track and quick track sections for logging food." 

 

"Daily progress feels repetitive being in both home and track page."

Reduce steps for tracking. Merge home and track pages

Difficulty in locating information

"It's difficult to locate the pantry icon on the plan page"

"I'm not sure which page redirects me to recipe search" 

 

Re-organize informationDivide Plan page into recipe and pantry pages

Focus of gamification to motivate

  • Visual representation indicating the individual or individuals interests/goals

  • Virtual or real-world reward system

  • The design should be simple

  • Having a community and keeping update

Site Map
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Medium-Fidelity Wireframes

Using the sitemap and user feedback medium-fidelity wireframes were designed for all the user flows. The following screens show modifications in the primary sections of the application.

HOME

+

1_1.jpg
Roots solution brainstorming (3).png

Combined home and track pages

Added details

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Daily consumption information - swipe the section for the game.

Provide choice to view the gamification

Redirect to different meal sections for tracking.

Merge track and home pages

PANTRY

plan page1

grocery tracking seperated as a new page

Added details

plan page2
My groceries (2).png

Check items available in your pantry. Add new purchases.

Pantry page

User testing - Iteration II

After designing medium-fidelity wireframes for all the user flows we conducted user test to evaluate the usability. The test consisted of four tasks focusing on the major user flows. Usertesting.com was used to conduct these un-moderated tests. We then studied the recordings along with verbal and written responses to identify critical incidents.

Task objective​s

Logging a meal to track nutrition
Search for recipes with specific goals
Check pantry items for freshness
Add new purchases to the pantry

Feedback

"Minimalist Layout - most nutrition apps are packed with information and functions which makes the app clunky to use but this app streamlines all that information so that it is more digestible"

"Pantry was a little confusing. Roundabout way to add things to the pantry - I should just be able to search that up within that section rather than having to click on the basket icon again"

Hi-fidelity Wireframes

Based on critical insights from user testing, design changes were made while designing the high-fidelity wireframes.

Key modifications

Home_stats_tab (9).png

Issue: Content of notification overshadowed by explore recipes button

Solution: Change the layout to clickable notification to highlight its content

Home_stats_tab (8).png
My groceries (2).png
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Issue: users expect to add a new purchase to pantry using search bar in main pantry page instead of clicking the add icon

Solution: Integrated add purchase options into main pantry page

My groceries (3).png
My groceries (1).png
Add pantry item manual.png

Issue: quantity addition is small to access conviniently

Solution: Enlarge quantity changing and provide confirmation

pantry click on.png
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Final designs

Final high fidelity wireframes with explanation for some key features

ONBOARDING

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Customize your recommendations based on your goals and dietary specifications. 

Personalization

AI-based keyword detection to better understand goals and diet.

Being inclusive of various diet goals

Onboarding Steps (1).png
Onboarding Steps.png

Examples for each option to help choosing the right one

Reduce ambiguity

Measure fist volume to give a custom estimate of food quantity.

Help in quantity estimation

Onboarding Steps (4).png

HOME

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Custom notifications direct to next ideal action

Assist

swipe

Keep user updated on their progress

Feedback

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Log meals through the day

quick access

Help user stay on track

  • Visual status of your daily performance

  • Find friend's status for the day 

  • Earn rewards by tracking and maintaining diet goals

Motivate

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Breakfast details.png
Add food.png

Multi format input for easy logging of food

Reduce effort

Approximate quantity in fist volumes

Help in quantity estimation

Item information.png

RECIPES

recipe (2).png

Filters for more custom recipe search

Assist finding recipes

Limited AI suggestions based on goals, feedback, and consumption data

Help in decision making

Explore recipes based on category (selected from goals or diet restrictions)

Expand diet range

Find healthy restaurant alternatives

Support

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Dine-out.png
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Recipe instructions provided in short,long videos along with written format

Accomodate different experience levels of cooking

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Indicates availability of required ingredients in pantry

Help decision making

Add recipe to home screen to cook at a later time

Support

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PANTRY

My groceries (3).png

Scan a receipt or connect to a grocery app to add your purchases automatically

Support

View Items present in pantry and their freshness

Food management

Search recipes based on item in the pantry. (or) Log a pantry item direclty

Support

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NOTIFICATIONS

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Lockscreen notifications assist users to plan cooking and meal times by syncing google calendar.

Assist planning

​​Suggest similar or complementary foods based on the user’s consumption.

Trigger adding variation to diet

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User testing - Iteration III

Third iteration of user testing was conducted using the same tasks as previous one for standardizing analysis. Additional questions were added to receive feedback on onboarding and game screens. 6 user tests were conducted using usertesting.com .

Feedback

"I like that it has the competitive element to check on friend's progress and you can gain achievements. I also liked the tool that lets you find recipes from items in your pantry as well as the ability to see how old items in your pantry are."

"The layouts were simple and easy to understand or figure out. I love the recipe function!! Being able to search recipes based on cooking duration, that align with your health goals, and what ingredients you'd use is amazing. It's unique to any nutritional trackers I have used as well."

"Not clear on the "Friends" feature. The map part kind of cluttered that screen for me."

Future scope

Re-organize game visual

Further iterations are required to simplify the visualization of the game part and reduce cluttering of information

 

Improvise Pantry

Many users found the pantry integration very useful. There is a lot of potential to add features around managing and tracking pantry items.

Inclusive filters

More research is required around specific dietary expectations of people to improve options provided for filters and goals.

 

Behavioural Study

Consuming food is a routine for any person. Behavioural understanding helps to better motivate and assist users to achieve their goals

 
Demo
Onboarding
Home & About
Search desired recipes
Manage food purchases
Track consumption
 
Reflections

Balancing functionalities and simplicity

Most design challenges faced during this project were about figuring out how to provide multiple functionality while avoiding cluttered UI. User testing sessions provided major insights on what parts were confusing and how they need to be changed. Hence we understood the need for multiple test iterations.

Moderated and un-moderated tests

Although un moderated tests are quick and provide access to diverse participants., since the prototype is not fully functional, users tend to go off track during the test without moderation

Interlinking through research, ideation and design phase

Since our application attempts to focus on diverse set of pain points, we loose track of the flow at times. Using UX methods such as journey mapping, would have allowed us to easily navigate through all the aspects of different screens.

Prioritize findings from user tests

People have diverse set of opinions. It is almost impossible to accommodate all of them in a design. Organizing all the data collected through research and testing phases with respect to their priority highly helps in making design decisions in such ambiguous cases.