Student Project, 2013
Created for: Iowa State University
Discovery Phase, Product Refinement Phase
Paper/Pencil, Illustrator, PhotoShop, Numbers, Keynote, Justinmind Prototyper, Axure
Food Budget is an application that allows the user to make and/or track an eating plan for the week, month, etc. The underlying concept functions similarly to a financial budget, where, in place of monetary spending, Food Budget allows you to budget for high-calorie food items like ice cream, buffalo wings, or potato chips and still stay within your weekly food budget. There will be room for gamification of healthy eating - users can be awarded ‘cal points’ to be spent on a fun snack - or - a ‘reward zone’ where the user can set up what their reward might be (candy bar, pizza, etc).
Users of Food Budget are looking for a way to learn, assist or reinforce healthy eating habits. They are probably aware that they are either not healthy eaters, could eat healthier, or want to make a lifestyle change, such as losing weight. Food Budget will need to educate its users on what constitutes healthy eating in the sense that it fits into the calorie counting format that Food Budget will provide. It is the intent of Food Budget to provide its users with education about portioning and caloric budgeting (e.g. if you plan to have an unhealthy meal on the weekend, spend your week eating healthier options).
The goals of this project are to create interest in and awareness of healthier eating. Overeating and obesity are a problem, now not only in the United States but globally. Nutrition awareness and promotion of healthy lifestyles are vague and compounded with good marketing for bad products. Many people are unaware of their poor eating habits and/or unaware of the unhealthy aspects of products labeled ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or otherwise appear to be healthy.
The process began by finding a subject matter expert and creating a survey to help to define the users. After review, the details of the survey lead to the creation of the personas (for detail please see Process Document).
Using our Word of Mouth script, I recruited volunteers that represented my persona base, and proceeded to test them.
Each of the user tests were recorded, capturing the user’s hands interacting with the application and audio of them responding to the task list and talking through the system.
Users were read the Introduction Script, asked to sign the Informed Consent Document, and filled out the Pre-Survey. The recording was started, then the users were asked to perform the tasks laid out in the Task List while speaking aloud their thoughts while proceeding through the tasks.
Upon completion of the task list, the recording was stopped and users with asked to fill out the Post-Survey and then asked a series of open-ended Interview Questions. After all the questions were answered, the user test was concluded.
Future Feature Recommendations
Future versions of Caloric Budget would need to include a notification system to send alerts to the user when the application is not in use. These alerts should be optional and tailored to the user's need, such as offering text, email, and device-based notifications. These alerts would be to remind users to input food at certain points in the day (e.g. breakfast, lunch, coffee break, snack, dinner, etc.) to drive the use and functionality of the application. Users could select to add, modify or remove these alerts. Additional alerts would be goal-based notifications, such as daily caloric updates, proximity to weekly goal/intake, last week intake review with an overview of problem day/times to enable recognition of potential over-intake in the future, ‘cheat’ overview, etc.
One feature that Caloric Budget should include in the future is the ability to share results with others. Being able to connect current social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and present information from the application, or the ability to email caloric details to contacts, could be a successful feature for r the user who needs outward input/motivation, as well as a good way to develop an interest in the application and discover new users.
Another feature that would be interesting to include in future versions of Caloric Budget would be to connect the application to a web-based charting feature. Users can log in using their Caloric Budget username and password and view their intake form when they began using the application. With the data stored on a server, all sorts of charts and data can be delivered to the user. This data could be used to help to make visible patterns in the user’s caloric intake and help to predict ways that users can improve their caloric intake habits. This data could also be valuable for users to share with their health providers when seeking healthcare.
Lastly, in the newest revision, users will be able to click the days in the Week Overview area to view that corresponding Daily Overview.