For the first half of my final year project, I researched on a new concept for a mobile food logging app. My process started from user research and ideation, and ended with the creation of athat was tested with a qualitative user study.
Nibble: Food Logging Mobile App
A user research and UX design project for my final year dissertation.
Death and disability from nutrition-related diseases is a very real problem we face. At some point in our lives, most of us have struggled with our diet.
We want to maintain a balanced diet, but there are many things we don’t know - what’s in our food? How much should we eat? How can we improve?
I designed Nibble, a food diary and diet companion that guides people to work towards their health goals.Key features of Nibble include:
Automatic Photo Logging
Research on users
To properly design Nibble, I first needed to understand the motivations and behaviors behind someone who would be using it. How will Nibble help them with their diet? What difficulties did they face? What do they need to know?
I read several papers on food logging and conducted an online survey to learn more about my potential users’ diet habits and previous experiences with food logging apps.
Defining user needs
So I decided that Nibble needed to address these issues.
Literature review on persuasive design
Next, I read up on various models on effective goal setting and persuasive design to help me conceptualize features. For example, Fogg’s Behavioural Model (FBM) gave me insights on how I could motivate and help the user to take active steps to improve their diet.
Research on health and diet
I read a Dietitian Manual to understand how professional dietitians help their patients and familiarized myself with the strategies they use to motivate them.
After downloading 23 Android and iOS food logging apps, I went through their onboarding and logging processes. I created a table of their features, taking note of their ratings and downloads. I highlighted parts of the apps that were done well and where they were lacking.
This involved translating all my existing research into functional features.
I brainstormed over 20 feature ideas, and listed pros & cons of each feature. Weighing them carefully, I picked the strongest features to implement.
Next, I sketched the layout, flow and interactions on pen and paper. I laid them out on a Google Drawing, which allowed me to gather feedback quickly through comments.
Once I finalised the wireframes, it was time to materialize them in a high fidelity prototype. You can try it at The Outcome. For this, I used Photoshop to create hi-fidelity mockups and animated them with Invision.
I wanted to determine how fast the logging process was in Nibble. So, I used Cogtool, a predictive performance modeling tool, to help me predict the time taken to go through the screens and complete the task.
Pilot User Study
Results and Data Analysis
I carried out a thematic analysis on the user responses, by coding each theme with a color. I sorted them according to 1) Findings 2) Usability Issues and 3) Thoughts and Feelings
FindingsOnce again, I was reminded of the importance of user testing, because of these interesting (and some surprising) findings.
These findings will help me shape my next iteration, and that's why it was critical to test with users.
Usability issuesI detailed usability issues and assigned a severity rating to each one (using Nielsen’s guidelines). I wrote down ways in which I could solve these issues.
Above is part of the Usability Assessment Report I did.
Thoughts and FeelingsAll participants felt
The first half of the project is finally finished! I feel that the biggest challenge was to complete the research, design and testing in 3 months, while taking other college courses concurrently. Preparing for project reports, presentations and ethical research reviews took up a third of this time.
I started with little knowledge on health, diet and persuasive design; it was a race against time right from the start.
Try out the hi-fidelity prototype! These are the Onboarding Process and Food Diary respectively.