Design 381, Case Studies - Interaction Design
Professor: Tad Hirsch
Team: Abe Poultridge & Chaeji Kim
Duration: 10 weeks
Dietary restrictions - whether they’re cultural norms, ethical choices, or health related - can be a source of anxiety and embarrassment for individuals, and prevent them from enjoying shared meal experiences. One of our participants shared with us that “going to a dinner party where I can’t eat anything is my worst nightmare, because I’m too embarrassed to explain why I can’t eat anything, especially when they’ve already put the time into making everything”
An event planning application that gathers information about guests' dietary restrictions and uses it to generate menu suggestions for the host. InBite facilitates easy menu planning and helps to create a safe and comfortable group eating environment.
We looked at online and physical means of planning, preparing, and procuring all of the necessary components to make a meal for special diets, and decided to place our product somewhere along the axis between planning and preparation.
To begin prototyping, we hosted a dinner party and observed the process from start to finish. We discovered that our users preferred to use their phones to invite friends, didn’t seem to care about knowing the menu ahead of time, and loved trying new dishes, as long as they fell within their dietary restrictions. We created a Google sheets document for our guests to fill out with their dietary restrictions, but they felt it was too much work to get on the computer and fill it out.
We then created a low fidelity prototype for user testing, and simulated the app’s invitation and information retrieval process. I walked around the classroom and delivered slips of paper to the guests selected by our tester, gathered their dietary restrictions, and brought them back to the host. Rather than attaching the dietary restrictions to a specific guest, I simply reported all cultural, ethical, and health related restrictions to the host in a single list.
Our users liked the idea of a suggested recipe page that would be generated based off their own, and their guests’ dietary restrictions, but wanted a screen to come back to periodically, and see all relevant event information in one place. We then moved forward by making some high level screens in illustrator, printed them off, and presented them to our users for more testing.
From these three prototypes, we learned that our users’ biggest concerns lied in whether or not they could eat the dishes provided for them. Both the host and guests wanted to try new dishes, and the host wanted an easy way to discover new recipes, without having to search through several pages to find one that fits everyones needs.
After realizing some of the steps in our event creation process were missing or confusing, we went back to wire-framing and sketched some screens to get a flow and layout that made sense for the user.