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A smart way to reduce food waste

Project Overview

Wisely is a mobile application that helps users reduce food waste. Wisely provides useful tips on food storage, and helps users keep track of their fruits & vegetables.

My Role

I conducted user research, led user interviews and ideation sessions, gathered insights, created journey maps and user flow diagrams, and created wireframes. I ran multiple iterations based on user testing and designed high fidelity prototypes.

Challenge

How might we help people live a more sustainable life by reducing food waste on the consumer level?

I devised a design process to help me achieve my objectives. I divided the process into three main phases: Research, Plan & Frame [Analysis], and Create and Iterate. Each phase is further divided into activities that help me reach my final design solution.

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01 - Discover

Understanding the problem

North America has the highest number of per capita food losses and waste. Household waste is responsible for the significant portion of all food waste in comparison to other regions. ReFED estimates

US households waste 76 billion pounds of food per year.

In the US, an average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year (21 percent of the food they buy), costing them $1,800 per year.

41%

wasted

Fruits & Vegetables

31%

wasted

Fish &

Sea Food

30%

wasted

Grain &

Cereal

20%

wasted

Meat &

Dairy

Food waste breakdown at consumer level per year in the US

Food waste means wasting water which directly impacts climate!

1 wasted

Apple

250 litres

of water

01 - Discover

User Interviews

Goals

Discover the main reasons behind food waste

Find out if people understand the significance of this issue and want to solve it

Investigate methods people use to avoid food waste currently

Determine if people are looking for more effective solutions

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Participants

5 participants

Face to face interviews

10-15 questions

2 Students, 3 Working Professionals

1 lives with family, 4 live in shared apartments

Insights

About two-thirds of food waste at home is due to improper storage, and thus, food goes bad before it's used.

People buy more food than they need. They refrigerate most of it and then forget about it.

 

Participants said that they feel bad when they have to throw away food. They are motivated to prevent waste, but their fast-paced lives don't allow them to actually find solutions.

 

Participants did not know which items to freeze, refrigerate, or store at room temperature to keep fresh for the longest.

Participants showed interest in reducing trash through recycling and compost, but don't seem to realize that compost is just another form of waste.

01 - Discover

Market Research

To find out what's currently available, we looked into the most popular food waste solutions. I found four major mobile applications: No Waste, FoodCloud, Olio, and Giki. These applications use innovative ideas to reduce food waste on both consumer and commercial levels, such as at grocery stores and restaurants.

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No Waste helps users reduce food waste by reminding them when food will expire by simply scanning barcode & receipt.

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FoodCloud is a social enterprise that connects businesses with surplus food to charities in their local communities that need it via a software platform.

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Olio helps to connect neighbors and local retailers so surplus food can be shared and not disposed of. 

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Giki enables users to track how healthy, sustainable and ethical the companies you buy from and the products you purchase are.

01 - Discover

Empathy Map

After learning the problems users are facing, we created an empathy map to understand who we are designing for, and what will drive their behaviors.

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02- Plan & Frame

Journey Map

In Journey Map we identified possible stages where we can help our users and what are different opportunities. 

02- Plan & Frame

Ideation

We conducted different ideation sessions of brainstorming & sketching.  It helped bridges the gap between understanding and defining the problem. Insights from our user interviews showed that the reason for food spoilage at the home occurs due to improper storage, partially used ingredients and misjudged food needs. We decided to design an application that can help people in Storage and Consumption.

02- Plan & Frame

User Flow
1 Registration 1.2 Login 2 Storage Tips 3 ConsumptionTracker 0 Onboarding 3.3 Track items 2.4 View Tips 2.4.1 Save Tips 2.4.2 Share Tips 2.2 SearchTips 2.3 Add New Tips 2.1 Scan GroceryReceipt 3.2 Scan GroceryReceipt 3.1 Add Items Manually
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03- Create & Iterate

Wireframes

03- Create & Iterate

User Testing

Participants: 3

Age: 20 -30

Session Duration: 30-40 minutes

Number of Tasks: 5

Follow up Question: 10

Findings & Insights

Adding items to the consumption tracker is confusing. All the participants had difficulty in understanding the steps. Inputs for the tracker can be made more intuitive and easy.

An ability to add your own tips and share it with the community can have an added value for the users.

03- Create & Iterate

UI Design Elements
FF5F2E #1D2126 #D0D0D0 #EAEAEA #FAF9F7
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Icons from

Google Material Design

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Images from

Pexels

04- Digital Prototype

Hi-Fidelity Design
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Easily find

Food Storage Tips

Track your fruits & veggies 

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Make Pledges and keep a track of your impact

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Next Steps

I continue to work on the project. I am taking the following steps to further improve the project:

  • Usability testing with a diverse set of users

  • Improve input methods for consumption tracker

  • Make storage tips more interactive & useful for everyone