Designing a web application for vegan nutrition and eating, providing numerous recipes and nutritional information, focusing on a plant-based diet. Premium users can contact a qualified expert via video call for first hand advice.
Skills: UI/UX Design
The interest in vegan diet has never been higher. Health benefits such as lower blood sugar level, and a significantly diminished risk of heart disease have been documented in studies over recent years. Abandonment of meat and dairy products consumption reduces carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, too.
Nutrition: The level of misinformation and confusion is high. Vegan eating is often considered unhealthy, lacking to provide the body sufficiently with proteins and vitamin B12 for example.
Cooking: Finding a recipe with Google e.g. delivers an overwhelming number of results and makes it difficult, especially for inexperienced cooks or new vegans to recognise a good recipe. It's time consuming with an unreliable outcome. If the meal turns out to be a disappointment due to a poor recipe, it will discourage the cook.
Now is the perfect opportunity to establish an application with vegan recipes, nutritional information, and qualified experts ready to guide everyone interested in a plant-based diet. By answering a few questions during onboarding the app is customised to fit both beginners and experienced vegans needs, providing a wide range of information and cooking inspiration.
UX Design student at Career Foundry. I covered all aspects of the project: User Research, Interview, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, and UI Design.
This case study coversall fields of UX following the Design Thinking Process. Here are shortcuts that allow you to jump directly to a subject.
The app features information about vegan nutrition and vegan cooking. Premium members can also contact a qualified expert via video call for first hand advice.
There are countless apps focusing on nutrition and cooking. Competitors are: “Kitchen Stories”, “Deliciously Ella” (vegan recipes and meal planning for 1,49 € mthly) and “Dr. Gregers Daily Dozen” (nutrition and diet plan) and “Peta veganstart” (for beginners). None of them offer the combination of contacting vegan experts, recipes, and information on vegan nutrition.
The main target group enjoys using smartphones and is open towards video calls. The income is above average, he/she/they is well-educated, focused on leading a healthy life and lives in a metropolitan area.
The audience can be divided roughly into two groups:
1. Curious about vegan nutrition and looking for more information and advice on how to start a transition.
2. Already following a plant-based diet and looking for new ideas, inspiration and profound expertise.
The application won’t stand out because the competition in this field (cooking) is high. The user isn’t willing to pay for the premium membership in order to video call an expert - a key feature and differentiator of the app.
Vegan nutrition is a global trend. In Germany for example the number of vegans in 2016 was at 0.8 million and climbed to 1.13 million in 2020.
The users need a way to ask anything about vegan nutrition without endless searching because they want qualified answers from experts and cooking inspiration.
We will know this to be true when we see a high number of downloads and many users asking our experts for advice.
The first and most obvious analysis was dedicated to a cooking application. Secondly, an educational application focused on veganism. Followed by one with a strong filter function and lastly an application with video call function.
Kitchen Stories Kitchen Stories is an attractive app for experienced hobby cooks and greenhorns alike. The filters give you the possibility to adjust the recipes to your liking and in case you need inspiration, it’s also taken care of.
Peta Veganstart focuses on leading a vegan life and giving information to newbies. The app has a lot of guidance and delivers information in small daily portions, making it easy to navigate and let the information sink in over the day.
Airbnb has put so much thought into giving precise search results. The users and their demands for accomodation are very broad and Airbnb masters narrowing it down.
Video Call an Expert:
OBI , a DIY based in Germany offers video calls with experts. By testing it myself I was able to collect valuable information, especially concerning the flow of making the appointment for a video call.
Conducting an online survey helps to find out if the idea is welcomed by the target audience. By posing general questions we get a first glimpse of the needs and goals.
The results are very reassuring: Not only does the vast majority already have cooking applications (81%), they are also open to vegan nutrition (71%).
Google Survey Results
Use a food app at
least once a week
would try vegan
Cook 30 min
or more daily
Based on the results from the first survey we go into detail by interviewing four candidates with different life styles and cooking habits – from omnivore with interest in healthly eating to longtime vegan. The interviews were held via video conference.
1. ezee Vegan Expert s
There is so much information about vegan eating and especially people new to this field are insecure. Anyone can claim to be an expert. Experts with a cooking or nutritionist background are a must. And, for video calls we need to build up trust and prove that our expert is trustworthy.
Feature Idea: By showing easy recipes, giving advice and with special cooking sessions the application can prove its professionalism and build up trust. It reduces the barrier of contacting a stranger.
2. Behaviour Phone & Apps
The interviewees have concerns video calling an expert. This is mainly due to lack of trust and insecurity of video calling a stranger.
Communicating through WhatsApp is more popular than Video Calls. The advantages are that good reception isn’t as crucial, you can leave Voice Messages and text while you're on the go.
Feature Idea: Let the user choose a communication channel by adding an additional chat function. Providing a “Call back” function could make the video call more appealing.
3. The Interviewees
They show great interest in vegan eating and are willing to try it or already cook vegan. They often use Google when they look for a new recipe which can be very frustrating.
Their aim is to be proud of the meal they created, to have reassurance the time and effort they invested was worth it. The motivation level is high, with “cooking laziness” popping up every now and then.
Feature Idea: Meal suggestions for a daily dose of inspiration. Additional online cooking sessions offer full guidance and include interaction. A friendly daily nudge to treat yourself with a home-cooked vegan meal could also be useful.
“I’m ready to try everything new if it’s presented to me.”
To create user persona I took following information into account:
1. Statistics from Statista and ProVeg Organistation
2. Google Survey for basic information i.e. age, household size and cooking habits .
3. Interviews for detailed insights, such as needs & goals, and fears.
The results were used to form three personas. They helped me develop the app throughout the process and ensure I kept focused.
Lena, The Conscious Foodie
Lena is our main persona. Age, lifestyle, goals and needs completely fit to the apps aspect of vegan cooking. It is uncertain though that she will become a paying premium member.
Kati, The Creative Mom
This persona focuses on the experts and video call function. She has the willingness and ability to spend money for the experts support.
Kai, The Healthy Senior
This persona is health-conscious and focuses on the nutritional aspect. He also is willing and able to spend money for the experts support.
To understand how customers find and interact with the service I created User Journeys. Looking at them I think about solutions to reach their most important goals.
1. Lena, The Conscious Foodie
Pain Point: The recipe will turn out as a fail Solution/Feature: Rating system
2. Kati, The Creative Mom
Pain Point: Her family won't like the meal
Solution/Feature: Rating system, Experts
3. Kai, The Healthy Senior
Pain Point: He feels intimidated by the huge variety at the supermarket
Solution/Feature: Expert Video Call
The next step after research is to create, test, observe and generate over and over again to improve the application.
For me sketching is the best form of brainstorming. By visualising the application and creating mind maps I can spot weaknesses and connect loose ends.
1. Search Recipe and Save to Notebook
Presumably this is the most common action on the the app. It is essential that the user can search with ease and save a recipe for later.
2. Register, Save Recipe, Create Shopping List
3. Become Premium Member, and Arrange Appointment for Video Call
From an economical point of view the signing up for Premium membership is tremendously important. The app relies on paying members to keep the service running.
After research, interviewing, creating user personas and stories the app is roughly visualised.
I focus on three tasks - the core of the application:
1. Search and save a recipe
2. View the details of a recipe
3. Make appointment and video call.
I conducted a moderated remote testing with 6 participants and the average duration was at 30 minutes. Each participant was asked to accomplish 3 tasks.
All were successfully and the overall
feedback was very positive.
And, some issues were uncovered, too.
The usability test revealed one main issue, namely that the users didn't know how to upgrade to the premium function. All six participants fail to find it at the first try.
All participants want to freely choose their expert and disagree with the suggested path of first writing an email in order to make an appointment.
Overall the participants appreciate the idea of the app, its clarity and tone of voice.
Behaviour and Attitude
The users welcomed the onboarding questions and rely on answering them to customise and improve the experience.
Some participants hestiate when it comes to paying for the service and suggest a free trial week.
Rainbow sheets are ideal to order the feedback and prioritise my next steps. I can classify issues and pain points and think about solutions.
At some stage I admit that I lost my objective view on the design and hesitated to make adjustments.
With Usability Hub at hand I can make layout decisions quickly and with the feeback from a big audience.
This is an example of how the users preference led to a change in design, going from a green bacground to light grey.
The mission of ezee Vegan is to simplify vegan eating and nutrition to beginners. Moreover experienced vegans find more ambitious recipes and detailed information. And the experts are there to help every user. Zhe emphasis of the app is that it is easy and effortless.
The look and feel reflects this impression by using a handdrawn mascot, positive tone of voice. The design choices were among the obvious i.e. choosing green, the colour for healthy, plant-based nutrition, combined with a set of modern sans serif fonts and authentic, state-of-the-art photography.
Colours, Fonts and Appeal
Mascot and Illustration-Style
Throughout the process revisited the brief periodically along the way to check that I am staying on track. The initial sitemap was adjusted along the way too.
Sticking to the motto „Fail often and early!“ has proven to be worthwile.
Creating various low fidelity prototypes gave me a solid foundation before moving on to mid and high fidelity prototypes. I enjoyed working through every step, but especially building the construction of the application made my heart jump.