Kathleen Hsu
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QuickEats

I worked independently on this project to design a solution that would make it easier for college students to cook their own meals.

 
 
 
 

I worked independently on this project to design a solution that would make it easier for college students to cook their own meals. I gave myself a time constraint of two weeks, starting with user research and concluding with an interactive prototype.

 
 
 

The Problem

How might we make the process of finding recipes targeted towards time and cost-conscious college students more efficient?

College students struggle with eating nutritious food due to their busy schedules and tight budget. As the process of finding easy-to-make and healthy recipes is incredibly time-consuming, many college students often end up eating unhealthy food instead.

 
 
 

Secondary Research

I explored three popular recipe apps to identify existing features and opportunity areas.

 
 
 

Interviews

I conducted 8 interviews with Berkeley students to gain a better understanding of their current experience with cooking. 

Below is a synthesis of the main insights:

  • Cooks about half of their meals on average, but would like to cook more (lack of time and convenience are barriers)

  • Would spend at most 30 minutes to cook a meal

  • Ideally spend under $10 for a home-cooked meal

  • Wants to have more variety in the foods they make

  • Occasionally will search the internet for recipes, does not use a specific recipe site

  • Would prefer to use an app to discover new recipes

  • Values the following in order of preference: 1. Time/Convenience, 2. Cost, 3. Nutrition

Based on the interview findings, I aimed to design an app that would enable college students to easily find quick, budget-friendly, and nutritious recipes to make.

 
 
 

Final Design

Log in or sign up using your email address or phone.

Log in or sign up using your email address or phone.

Discover recipes by popularity/recommended for you, using the search bar, or selecting a category. Sort recipes by time, number of favorites, or price per serving.

Discover recipes by popularity/recommended for you, using the search bar, or selecting a category. Sort recipes by time, number of favorites, or price per serving.

Save recipes you like to your Favorites.

Save recipes you like to your Favorites.

Add ingredients from any recipe to your  Shoplist.

Add ingredients from any recipe to your Shoplist.

See the recipes that your friends favorited on the Community page.

See the recipes that your friends favorited on the Community page.

 
 

Reflections

Although this design problem had a straight-forward solution, it was still useful to conduct interviews with other college students to determine what features should be included in the recipe app. I learned to set aside my assumptions about the topic, as doing user research is critical for building empathy and gaining a deep understanding about the needs of the people you’re designing for.

Looking back, I should have evaluated potential features that would allow the app to serve a broader range of users and be more customizable. For instance, allowing users to search for recipes based on their dietary needs or with only ingredients they have on hand. Some users may also find it useful to make ingredient substitutions or add private notes about recipe modifications. I would also add features that would motivate people to engage more with the app, such as allowing users to publish their own recipes.

Moving forward, I would like to continue testing the usability of the app and iterating on the screens. Feel free to send me feedback or comments via email!