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Abstract Appetite

Reimagining the food tracking experience.

Overview

Problem

How might we simplify the existing food logging process to encourage healthier habits and increase long-term retention?

Solution

Abstract Appetite - a wearable app designed for the Apple Watch which implements the use of visual estimation to make food tracking quick and painless. 

My Contributions

I led the design and analysis of a survey, conducted observations and semi-structured interviews, created storyboards to illustrate our initial concepts, and used affinity mapping to analyze our initial findings. I also created the usability testing protocol and conducted 4 usability testing sessions with the initial prototype. Additionally, I helped create the personas and develop the design implications.

The Team

Jay Modh

Priyanka Mohindra​

Varun Nambiar

Talia Ayala-Feliciangeli

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My Role

UX Research Lead​

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Timeline

August 2019 - November 2019

Background

Nutrition tracking, which includes both counting calories as well as mindful eating, has seen a dramatic increase in the past few years. While apps like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are rising in popularity, various pain points observed within them lead to low long-term retention. With this project, we aim to redesign the nutrition tracking experience - pinpointing the parts of the experience currently discouraging users from returning, and creating a solution that encourages healthier habits and regular tracking.

Phase 1: Generative Research

We began by doing a competitive analysis of the most popular food tracking applications to familiarize ourselves with them before beginning our primary research. We created a survey to help us collect quantitative data and to identify common themes and pain points among users. We then conducted semi structured interviews to delve deeper into the issues uncovered by the survey. Lastly, we synthesized our findings through an affinity mapping session.  

 

Objectives: 

  • Why are our users motivated to track their nutrition?

  • What does the current tracking experience look like for users?

  • What are our user’s pain points?

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We wanted to explore the key features present in commonly used food tracking apps, in addition to learning about the user journey through each one and the potential pain points. 

 

We did this by analyzing the top 3 food tracking apps in the App Store:

  • MyFitnessPal

  • LoseIt!

  • LifeSum

 

We found that the current interface and functionality of such applications involve time-consuming and cumbersome steps, such as having to go through nine different clicks and a confusing catalog in order to log each food item. Additionally, the amount of items offered by the food library is overwhelming, potentially resulting in uncertainty about which to pick and inconsistent results.    

Competitive Analysis

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Objective

We want to know what the common pain points are and what features are important to those who currently track (or have tracked), in addition to understanding why some people choose not to track at all. 

 

Method Details

  • 14 questions

  • 81 responses

  • Distributed via social media

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Survey

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Justification 

Using a survey will allow us to quickly collect large amounts of data. Conducting a competitive analysis gave us an idea of what some common pain points may be, which helped shape the questions we asked our users.

 

Sample Questions

  • How long have you been logging your meals?

  • How consistently have you been logging your meals?

  • How would you describe your experience with the tracking process?

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Objective

To understand the pain points uncovered by our initial research so we could narrow down our scope and problem statement.

 

Method Details

  • 9 participants 

  • 3 in-person interviews, 6 phone interviews

  • 1 moderator per interview

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Interviews

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Justification 

Conducting semi-structured interviews will provide the ability to openly prod users about their experience with food tracking applications, resulting in the rich information necessary to guide our design.

 

Sample Questions

  • Why did you choose to track your meals?

  • Could you tell me about your experience using a food tracking app?

  • What made you continue (or stop) tracking?

This project is under construction - come back soon for an update!