FOOD SUSTAINABILITY: Case Study
Case Study: FOOD SUSTAINABILITY
The first week of Ironhack’s UX/UI Design course has come to an end. For our first task, we were given a wicked challenge that taught us about the design thinking framework and how to outline an issue and offer a solution overview. I collaborated with four team members on this project to demonstrate our design thinking approach in relation to food sustainability.
A Wicked problem is:
“Wicked problems are problems with many interdependent factors making them seem impossible to solve. Because the factors are often incomplete, in flux, and difficult to define, solving wicked problems requires a deep understanding of the stakeholders involved, and an innovative approach provided by design thinking.”
In the last decades, there has been a rise in consciousness on the importance of good nutrition and the responsibility that individuals have to provide themselves with good food. Organic food is not accessible to everyone, being restricted to those who can actually afford it.
Supermarket chains and other big companies benefit from the organic food market and conscious customers, but don’t actually solve the situation — they just make the gap and the impact bigger with unsustainable models. How Might We help communities access the seasonal produce of their region, fueling fair and honest relationships between producers and customers while ensuring food safety for all?
Design Thinking Approach:
“The design thinking ideology asserts that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem-solving can lead to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and competitive advantage. This hands-on, user-centric approach is defined by the design thinking process and comprises 6 distinct phases. The design-thinking framework follows an overall flow of 1) understand, 2) explore, and 3) materialize. Within these larger buckets fall the 6 phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and implement.” Nielsen Norman Group
We began our research by conducting a survey to learn more about people’s purchasing habits for fresh products. In less than 10 hours, we collected 123 surveys.
We began by interviewing five people who consider themselves to be the principal food shoppers in their families after conducting surveys. Their habits, knowledge of seasonal vegetables and local farmer’s markets, and aspirations linked with buying fresh products were also questioned.
Note: We performed our interviews over Zoom and by phone due to the existing COVID-19 restrictions.
After the Empathy phase, it was time to move to the next stage of Define, where we turn our collected data into some actionable information and keeping the famous mantra in mind “YOU ARE NOT THE USER”.
“An Affinity Diagram is a tool that gathers large amounts of language data (ideas, opinions, issues) and organizes them into groupings based on their natural relationships”.
We collected our data and placed them on the Miro board by using sticky notes. Then we grouped the similar responses together and gave them a label.
“An empathy map is a collaborative tool team can use to gain a deeper insight into their customers” — Accenture
We then designed an Empathy Map to delve further into our users’ minds.
Let’s say hello to Théo!
We created this character by combining the empathy map’s pains and gains into Wants & Needs, Motivations, and Frustrations.
Here’s a small intro about Théo:
“Théo is a motivated Junior Engineer working with Engie in Paris. He got a busy and dynamic schedule. He tries to find some time to protect the environment by eating sustainable food and being mindful of the waste and believes in recycling.”
After creating our primary persona we did some brainstorming and made a mid map diagram to visually organize information.
After combining both primary persona and mind map we created our user journey map. We created a scenario and divided that scenario into 5 stages (all explained below).
Scenario: Theo plans to invite a friend and cook a great meal for this special moment. As mentioned above, it is crucial for him to have good quality products, he plans to cook a special menu with a recipe he learnt from his grandma with those products. He is planning to do some shopping after work to buy all the specific products he needs. He doesn’t know yet where to go because he’s used to buying groceries during the weekend.
Stage 1: Planning: After work, Théo plans to go food shopping. He knows what he wants to eat but doesn’t know where to find the product.
Stage 2: Going to the supermarket: He has to choose between several markets/supermarkets. He wants to go near his house and not doing several kilometres to shop.
Stage 3: Search: He reaches the shop and starts looking for the product he wants to eat. He wonders if there is a specific area dedicated to sustainable, local, seasonal products. A specific area is not available.
Stage 4: Compare: He finds the vegetables. He has to choose between several products. Some are local but not bio, some are bio but not local, etc. He compares the prices. He compares the quality. He’s lost because of all the lack of information.
Stage 5: Purchasing: He finds two identical zucchinis but can’t decide between the two because there is no information available about the product. He chooses the cheapest one and goes to the cash register.
Citizen needs to access nearby food with clear and credible information provided in their packaging because they want to be reassured that they are correctly purchasing healthy local organic and sustainable food while conserving the environment.
We believe that offering access to credible information provided in their packaging for citizens who want to eat and shop for more sustainable products will achieve reassurance of buying healthy and sustainable food while taking care of the environment. We will know we are right when we see an increase in sales of sustainable products.
How Might We
- How might we help citizens find the nearest market that will provide them with sustainable products in order to save time?
- How might we provide citizens with the most credible, transparent/clear information about the product sustainability so he can choose the product he’s looking for?
- How might we give citizens the opportunity to compare multiple sustainable products to buy the best product?
We brainstormed again to come up with 3 features for our mobile app based on our three HMW.
- Getting product info
- Providing help to make decision
- Getting market location info
Rapid Paper Prototyping:
“Rapid prototyping does what it says on the tin. It involves building prototypes quickly for the purpose of testing various design features, functionality, output and performance of a product before going into full development.” — Waat
Hand sketch User flow
Final Low-fi Sketch
Finally after rapid paper prototyping and working on our low fi we started working on our Mid-fi prototype
Here is the final working mid-fi prototype on Figma.
Now it’s the final step which is testing our mid-fidelity prototype. In order to test we decided to conduct some usability tests. We had 5 testers and we got different types of feedbacks which you can see in the below image.
Design Thinking is a fantastic process, but it takes a lot of effort to be able to fully utilize it. It’s critical to know exactly what you want to get out of the Empathize phase. And in the whole process, I got to know my classmates better and worked on a final solution and presentation with my fantastic teammates. Overall, this was an excellent project for exposing me to the area of UX/UI, and I look forward to the projects ahead.
And most importantly thanks to the fantastic team of Lucie Dewaleyne, Ümmü Han, Eléonore A., AndreaA for being so supportive and working hard on the project. It’s one of the best teams I have worked with till now.
Thanks for reading