Talk and Eat

Talk and Eat helps college students connect with other college students from their school to encourage connection and empathy through cooking and eating a home-cooked meal together. From this experience, people will change the way they learn about culture and how they spend quality time.


My Role: UX Designer

Process: understand the brief, choose problem space, design research, concept generation, storyboards, system design, branding, screen flow, prototypes, video production and editing

Time Taken: 2 weeks


understanding the objective

The objective was to craft an Out of Box Experience (OOBE) for a new service device that leads new users to useful actions that advance the experience/narrative, craft a consistent overall experience and be designed to facilitate behavior modification and result in specific emotions.

the challenges of meeting people

For new or shy students, it can be hard to make friends and for culture learning fanatics, learning a language to understand culture is time consuming. There is also an ignorance among different cultures which leads to a lack of empathy or understanding.

But...

Everyone likes food and food is one way to become exposed to a new culture. What if food could be used as a way to connect people of different backgrounds? What if food could be a facilitator for new interactions which led to culture learning and ultimately an awareness of empathy for others that increases overtime?

the need for connection

I conducted qualitative interviews with college students who enjoy spending time eating and learning different cultures to understand their relationship with food and how they relate it to their personal relationships and own culture.

I asked them questions about their experience with food, the kind of food and what it means to them. I also asked questions regarding about culture in conjunction with food and observed if any of them connected both of them together.

Key Insights and Opportunities:

  • Because of time, most people eat food for convenience and don’t usually cook regularly

How might we...create/facilitate quality time for college students who have no time?

  • There is a connection with food and the way it affects cognitive processes such as taste and smell which often translates into memories

How might we...make eating worth the time and effort to help create meaningful experiences?

  • When people are able to make the connection between food and its culture, it enhances the overall food experience

How might we...encourage empathy through food?

  • Food is one way to know how people live in a culture

How might we...amplify culture learning through food?

redefining quality time

Concept Sheets and Sketches:

Based on insights from my interviews, I generated ideas on potential product solutions to help facilitate the connection between food and people. I thought about similar yet different value propositions that would ultimately change the way I would want my users to perceive learning a new culture.

I aimed for my OOBE to integrate with a user’s existing food-related technology ecosystem (i.e. food delivery service) to help the user learn to build routines that reinforce healthy choices and an open mind to learning new cultures overtime.

creating a service

To have a better idea of how my users would go through the experience, I mapped out a system of actions that encompass the whole experience in a task flow. For the system diagram on the right, I used different colors to signify the different actions.

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understanding the user

Since I had a better understanding of the experience I wanted to create as well as my potential user, I created storyboards to help frame the context of when one would use the app and ultimately change their behavior.

developing a brand

I created a style tile to develop the basic brand for my app and product. I chose colors that conveyed the feeling of freshness as well as warmth and joy when eating food and meeting a new person for the first time.

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Screen Flows (Low Fi)

I created a set of screens that would be apart of the user's experience before, during and after the interaction with the contents of the product and 'food buddy'.

hi fi Screens

I have designed the final screens using the color palette and elements from my style tile.

Because I wanted to emphasis to be on the experience that takes place beyond the screen, I kept the design of the screens minimal with only the essential functions of choosing food, the person you want to learn a culture from as well as a way to track/record the quality time you spend with them.

User Flow

Key Screens

Onboarding

Onboarding is the beginning of a user's first interaction with your product and brand. I wanted to make sure users understand the value and benefit of my product as well be able to intuitively use the app without much hassle before downloading and when they use the app.

The onboarding process begins when user choose which school they are from and which culture they associate themselves with to begin their culture exchange experience.

Choose Cuisine

Let's say you want to learn how to cook a Chinese dish. Simply scroll through the wide range of cuisines from different cultures as well as use the search bar to search for specific cuisine or dishes. I made sure to focus on the image of the categories in order to make it easier for users to decide on what kind of cuisine they want to try as well as create an inviting atmosphere for each category utilizing icon and color

Select Dish

Once you select a cuisine to try out, you will be provided with a variety of different authentic dishes. You can either learn more about a cuisine or directly select one.

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Nutrition

If you want to know more about a dish, a screen with the origin of food as well as the nutrition facts will appear. The nutrition is broken into different parts to give the user more information on the kind of food they want to eat as well as nutritional value before deciding on cooking it. It gives you more information about the food itself as well as where it comes from.

Choose your food partner

Once the you decide on what kind of food they want to cook, you get to choose someone of that culture to cook/eat food with. This person will be of walking distance to the user so that it will be convenient for both of you to meet up.


By eating with a stranger from a different culture than you, both parties can have an immersive experience of learning a new culture through engaging in cooking/eating a meal in the comfort of one's home

 

Confirm Order

Once you confirm the order of the food (ingredients to cook), it will be automatically tracked via phone as well as tracking number on box (location tech). The box of food will then be sent to your food partners home or can be sent to you, and then the person will receive a notification to come over to your house.

Record cooking Experience

I wanted to be able to have the app keep track of the experience by recording the time and/or mood one might have when cooking.

The experience is focused on the connection between cooking and eating so it shouldn't be hindered by technology but instead using the technology to track behaviors of cooking in the background.

Take a picture

After the cooking experience is over, I wanted to be able to provide a space for users to track their culture learning progress as well as reflect what they learned through taking pictures and keeping a picture diary. It would be helpful for users to look back and remember each experience they had learning about a new culture as well as the bonding time they may have had with someone. From there, users can be aware of the different behaviors they have learned to build up, whether it is building empathy or developing a more open mindset to different cultures

 


Picture journal/diary

The diary functions as more than just a diary but an area of organizing thought and self expression. Users can tag pictures, organize moments and instead of only being able to write, they can draw how they feel, add stickers and attach that to the pictures they take to emulate the way one collects polarloids as objects that present value and small moments we share. Cooking is a way to bond and learn a culture so why not try to turn it into an artifact that people can reminisce and look back to?

delivering value

A basic prototype of the box and the contents which come with it. The food is not included as it varies. I chose the box to be white in order to not give too much information of the service as I want all the value to be directed to the interaction with the person and the cooking + eating experience.

Next Steps

For the service, I would want to create a higher fidelity of the box and contents that go inside of it (ex: conversation starter cards that are attached to the food items) for users to start interacting with one another before cooking and eating together. I would also want to show more of the un-boxing experience between the people as that is an important part of a first time user's experience of interacting with a product. In regards to creating an experience, it would be interesting to think about where does the journey for the two users begin? Does it start when they navigate through the app interface to order ingredients or does it actually begin when they start cooking together? I would want to think about the significance of each part of the experience and how my users would interact during every step and what are their thoughts on the overall experience.

For the project, I would want to look at examples of content in different food box services and see what are they are doing well, so I could implement those things to improve my service and convey the overall value for my users. For the video itself, I want to show more of what the service is about rather than describing it. I would want to also think about establishing shots and wide shots to show the space in which the people in as well as to have more breathing room (some of the shots look claustrophobic and are too tight). There is a good opportunity to utilize film to convey the feeling of the service whether it is giving perspective or changing it so it looks like the camera represents us experiencing the world in the video.

Going back to the design process, I would want to set up different scenarios or use cases of how different people might use the service and the goal they are trying to achieve my using it. I would also want to think about the question “How to make something happen?" moving forward to understand how and why people would discover and want to use my service or any product in general. In regards to my idea and that it allows users to learn from different cultures through food, it would be interesting to narrow it down and hone in on just one culture (talk about differences of regions).
 

Learnings

After this project, I learned how to be able to better understand users through empathy and creating a product that facilitates behavior change and presents value to the user (Motivation + Ability + Trigger= Behavior).  I also learned to how evoke new thoughts (eye openers) to introduce new value behind existing concepts and technology and bridging the two together. I was able to connect physical and digital experiences to emphasize interpersonal connections in a real life setting which encourages culture learning in the comfort of one's home as well as interactions with someone of a different culture to generate awareness of diversity and connection with people of different backgrounds.

As a designer it is important to be aware of your strengths and weakenesses so you can expand your skill-set so by working in various mediums utilizing the design process and video, I have gained better understanding where my strengths and weaknesses lie.