The project in a nutshell
Soboro is the result of a project from a UX Bootcamp that lasted 2 months where I worked as a product designer on a team of five.
Inside the double diamond methodology, it was designed an app that aims to help young people to save money and eat healthier while avoiding wasting food inside their homes.
The business model would include outside investment until the desired user base number and further, it would also include merchandising and subscription programs.
UX/UI - Product design
As it was a group project, I worked as a Product designer together with a Customer Experience Analyst, a Product Owner, a User Interface designer and a UX designer.
My main tasks were Desk and User Research, Ideation, Wireframing, Personas, Testing, Onboarding, Illustration, and Visual concept.
The design process was guided using the double diamond methodology, during every stage we had contact with different tools and materials emerging ourselves into practice and hands-on learning.
We were given an initial challenge to choose a problem to address inside the food waste scenario in São Paulo.
During our discovery after analyzing all documentation that we received and deepening our desk research to collect more quantitative data, we took aspects such as our schedule, access to users and impact into account and opened up three main realistic scenarios: street markets, restaurants and homes.
According to our first hypotheses, street markets were a good starting point, as they were open to the public, frequent around the city during the weeks, and would have a greater impact due the amount of waste they could generate. We started focusing on the sellers, assuming they would like to help the community by reporting on spare products in their stalls and earning an extra amount for those products that they would not be able to sell.
How to reduce food waste in São Paulo's street markets?
After the first round of field research, where we used a qualitative questionnaire to understand their behavior and motivation, we filled out our empathy map. It got clear that they had a very pragmatic profile and would feel extremely overwhelmed to change the way they worked within their hurried routine. They also told us that they used to take spare products to their families and donate as much as possible, considering the matter was resolved.
On the other hand, we observed that the market had a parallel side behind the vendors' stalls, a huddle of cluttered boxes with piles of damaged leaves, vegetables, and fruits where retirees and homeless people were looking for anything still suitable for consumption.
This sparkled on us a second approach, so we formulated a hypothesis that with volunteer work and better logistics, that food could be better managed and handled to those in need in a more hygienic way. We ran a quick quantitative questionnaire and ended up devaluing this hypothesis as we found no community users interested to cooperate in that situation.
We had a limited time until the deadline, and with our past hypothesis weakened we had to take a quick step back to dive into our initial research. Analyzing the three first scenarios, we got to the conclusion that as restaurants had serious sanitary restrictions and a lot of bureaucracy to deal with we would now address the last one, food waste inside homes.
How to reduce food waste in São Paulo's homes?
We wanted to discover what type of household would waste more, what were the grocery and cooking habits and in what context food would go to waste. We assumed that big households would waste more and people did not know how to use the whole food discarding peels and stalks.
With a quantitative online questionnaire, we had a better glance at our user's profile. The results have shown us they were in their mid 20´s, lived alone, cooked during the weekends searching for online recipes, and used to forget about the food in the refrigerator until it got spoilt.
Then, proceeding to validate this data, we applied a round of interviews with 5 users and had a deeper knowledge about their behaviour concerning cooking skills, daily routines and buying habits.
Felipe is 28 years old, single, lives alone and works as a UX lead designer.
He doesn't have much time during the week as he works until late, so he ends up with spoiled food in his refrigerator because he forgets about it and cooks only on weekends.
He enjoys watching MasterChef and is inspired by the recipes, but since he doesn't have many cooking techniques, he finds it easier to look for simpler recipes online.
Based on data from our research, now we could continue heading for a solution. At this stage, we analysed with a value proposition canvas what key features and features our solution would demand considering our user's main pain points.
Not knowing if food is proper for consumption
Cooks excess food for not knowing the right amount for one person
Forgets about the food inside the fridge
Does not know what to do with spare food or how to store it properly
Instructions about food stage
Instructions about food amount and consumption per person
Remembering the food before its expiration date
Recipes with existing food and storage tips
Progress bar indicating the stage of the food
Page with recipes and indication of consumption and quantities
Expiring alerts about the fridge food
Wireframing & testing
We explored ideas of different ways to apply the features in order to get a better glance how we would write our user stories and divide the tasks between the team with a Kanban. We kept working on creative workshops using tools like crazy 8s, wireframes and value proposition canvas.
After voting, we built a low-fidelity prototype to validate with users what added more value to them and our proposal. It consisted of navigation through 3 features in paper screens and a handmade interaction.
We collected the feedback and designed a mid and high fidelity as we kept testing to refine usability and flow while also researching and deciding what business model we would apply.
High fidelity prototype
Always taking into account good practices within UI and also working from users feedbacks collected previously during the tests, we aligned the navigation flow starting it focusing on behavior to provide a personalized experience during onboarding and established a friendly visual concept using modern colors and illustration with a refrigerator penguin as our mascot.
We designed the whole user flow, composed of login and registration, onboarding, add pantry items, and the screens for our main features.
Onboarding : understanding users cooking skills and eating habits
In order to provide better recipe suggestions and understand the best time to send notifications, we have created a quick onboarding in 4 steps.
In the first part, Soboro understands the culinary skills of the users to manage the degree of difficulty that the recipes can reach. Second, it asks what kind of food was interesting to them, where they could choose multiple options like vegan, omnivorous, fitness, etc.
The third and fourth helped to understand the time, preparation and frequency of meals.
On the matter to know what recipes suggest and send notifications about expiration dates, Soboro needs data. In these screens, the user can add items quickly with automatic filling, choose the type of food, expiration dates, conservation status and conservation mode.
Food status - A screen has been added showing the visual progress of the food, helping the user to know if it is ready for consumption.
At this point, we had to discuss how Soboro would use colors, as orange is usually an alert color for UI. After some research, we decided Soboro orange would always represent good things inside our interface, like a yummy ripe fruit.
Recipes, tips, and quantities - based on onboarding and pantry data, Soboro would suggest different recipes for the user while showing what ingredients were missing and giving a glance of quantities and best storage practices.
Expiration date notifications - Finally, users can choose to receive notifications about new recipes and expiration dates.
As a secondary feature, inside our business model, we also previewed a subscription program for exclusive renowned chefs recipes and personalize food boxes.
Final thoughts and conclusion
Soboro understands the needs and behaviors of users concerning food consumption and cooking, assisting them in managing their purchases offering a follow-up of the expiration date and recipe ideas, promoting awareness, economy, and preventing food from being wasted.
It was challenging to reroute in the middle of the way with less time to do the exercises, but this taught us how things might happen in real life and how we could deal with it developing soft skills like time management, emotional balance, and analytical decision making.
With more time we would have tested more after the whole flow was ready and would study more about motivation, as the app will only perform as well as planned if people input information.
A nice idea to reduce the friction could be the aid of artificial intelligence that fills the online pantry from a photo taken from items and the users put details only of the ones that they feel need.
It was a good project to learn about UX tools and the double diamond methodology application, it certainly has the potential to be improved and become a solution in real life.