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Food Tracking for Wearables

UX Research

My Role

UX Research - Designed Survey, Performed Competitor analysis, Conducted Semi-Structured Interviews, Conducted Affinity Mapping, Designed User Personas UI Design - StoryBoard Design, Final iteration of high-fidelity prototype

Duration

4 months - Aug ‘19 to Nov ’19

Team Size

4 students

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Problem Space

Food tracking is a tedious and time consuming process. How might we redesign the food tracking experience for health conscious users that helps them understand their bodies beyond metrics and numbers?

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Research
Designing Survey

We started with the hypothesis that people who regularly log meals find the process time consuming and tedious which perhaps leads to them discontinuing the use of the application after a period of time. To help us validate our hypothesis, we needed to conduct research to determine if users felt the same way about it. In order to do this, we designed a survey.

Competitor Analysis

Through the survey we identified the top apps used for food tracking. I installed these apps to understand their approach to food tracking and the experience that they provide. I also wanted to know if there was anything inherent in these apps that was causing the users to become obsessive about calorie count instead of focusing on developing an overall healthy eating habit. After using these apps only for a few days, I was able to identify the reasons could potentially be leading to calorie-obsession among health concious users.

Problem 01: Calorie counter

We identified that even though these apps were different in many apsects, their method to display the calorie goal was mostly the same - in the form of an equation. Keeping a continuous watch on these numbers throughout the day is where we believe the issue emerges from. Lifesum used a different approach in terms of presenting this information, however, it still relied on calorie count. Our goal was to represent this information visually where the focus is shifted from the calorie count to overall goals, similar to the way Google fit does it with their fitness tracker.

Problem 02: Up-front Calorie Display

Another issue we identified is that since the data on these platform is crowd-sourced, the accuracy drops drastically. For instance, we tried logging ‘scrambled eggs’ and the calorie count of the suggestions ranged from as low as 47 to as high as 365. Since the calorific values are displayed upfront, the user might be more inclined to select food-item with lesser/ more calories than what they actually ate (depending on their goal to reduce/ gain weight) thus yielding erronous results over a period of time. Analyzing the issue further closely, we realized that logging is a two step process. In the existing solutions, after the search results show up, the user first looks at the calories of search items and then logs one of the search items. Our goal is to reverse the order of steps, where the user first logs the meal and then the nutrition information is displayed.

Interviewing Users

Through interviews, we wanted to understand the experience of users who have been using tracking apps or have used them in the past. We conducted 9 interviews with participants from ages ranging from 20 to 30, from which 7 participants were female and 2 were male. Each interview was 20 to 30 minutes long and was semi-structured in nature. A list of sample questions has ben included below.

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Analysis of Research Findings
Affinity Mapping

Analysing our research findings through semi-structured interviews, we conducted an affinity mapping session that allowed us to identify the motivation and pain-points of users who log their meals.

Personas

Translating our findings from the affinity mapping to our target users, we designed personas whose goals, frustrations and other traits were representative of the user group that we the conducted research with.

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Design

Moving to the design stage, we wanted to focus on not only on making the process of meal logging quick and easy but also introducing novelty to the experience that is fun and engaging and can motivate the users to continue logging meals over a longer period of time. This is why we chose the apple watch as the platform for our design. Health and fitness monitoring apps have become an important aspect of Apple watch. Taking this a step ahead, through our design we decided that we wanted to introduce food tracking for wearables.

Story Board

In order to visualize this concept, I drew a six panel storyboard which depicts a user using the food tracking app on his smart watch to log his meal

Wireframes

Once we finalized the story we want to tell, we got into designing the app itself. We started by designing the wireframes.These were great for communicating the higher level aspects of our design and getting early feedback.

High Fidelity Prototype

Based on the feedback that we recieved from testing the wireframes, I designed the final iteration for the food tracking watch app.

Try logging in 2 slices of pepperoni pizza by interacting with the prototype below!

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Take Away

Working on this project, I learned a lot of things. There were a lot of challenges on the way, designing for smart watch with very limited screen area being one of the most challenging part. I believe we tried our best in coming with the solution to tackle this problem. This smart-watch app is by no means a substitute to existing mobile counterparts. In fact, it is suppose to complement the existing mobile app solutions. I believe that our design, that brings food-tracking from a user's pocket to their wrist, advances the use of technology in healthcare industry.

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