The Nutritive is a breakfast meal delivery solution and provides users with the ability to place their orders using mobile application. It’s a project that we (our team: Ibtasam, Chen and me) chose, operated and prototyped as the curriculum coursework for the Design Thinking Studio. As the outcome of this interactive and practical study process, I will describe how we got there and what I contributed as a team member and evaluate my performance and future improvements. I will demonstrate the following phrases in order of time.
Summary of Four Phrases
How we get started & my positioning role
Get to know each other over a cup of coffee. At the beginning of the Design Thinking Studio, we needed to choose what we want to pursue as the course project. We were given three topics to choose from which are Transportation, Nutrition, and Disaster. Upon knowing issues and who the teammates were, we spent a few hours sharing previous experience and listening to others over a cup of coffee in the meeting room.
So, we knew that Ibtasam was an entrepreneur who founded serval companies in Data Transfer Service and Game Development industry, Chen was a graduate student experienced in Computer Vision like me who participated in serval complicated projects. As for me, I had experience in applying Computer Vision to behavior understanding, and I had one-year business experience in ICT industry as an account manager in HUAWEI. And we assigned roles according to BXT spirit to optimize every teammates’ strength. I oversaw User Experience aspect, Chen oversaw Technology aspect, and Ibtasam took care of the business aspect.
Why nutrition? & Our Motivation
Brainstorm without the restriction of a topic, and we choose the best idea by comparing. There were three ideas we had for each of the issues. The approach we had about transportation was how to provide the passengers in Seattle area with more accurate bus & link time forecasting. The idea we had about the disaster was how to enhance the connectivity after catastrophe hit. Considering the accessibility to conduct user research and better impact the project could be, we chose the idea which was how can we decrease breakfast skipping among young adults and working professionals in the US.
It’s important. Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day . Research has shown that skipping breakfast can increase the risk of heart disease by 20% , contribute to weight gain by 55%.
Easier to conduct User Research. By observing and interviewing breakfast skippers around us, we can iterate and improve our solution rapidly. Whereas researching disaster and transportation problem require talking experts and simulating tasks scenarios to get user experience feedback.
More substantial number of the potential user. Compared to the other two questions, the breakfast question has larger potential users which could be about 31 Million, equivalent to 10% of the US population. In contrast, the other two problems are for people who live in Seattle area.
How can we decrease breakfast skipping among young adults and working professionals in the US?
Investigation A is our secondary research part. This part is aimed to identify what are the research results to date concerning breakfast skipping including the demographic feature of the user and probable reason behind the phenomenon. It guided us how we conduct the research B.
My job is to collect existing research results and generate next phrase User Research Questions. I proposed questions which were explored further by our team. In the following phrase, we made a questionnaire for interviewees based on these matters.
Research has shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and 10% Americans skip breakfast every day and the main reason for the skipping is a shortage of time. In another study, it shows that Eggs are the second highest breakfast consumption item and provide higher nutrition intake.
Question List: Why adults skip breakfast? Why is time an issue? What is the sleeping pattern of breakfast skipping adult? Is breakfast skipping a habit among adults? Do breakfast habits in formative years play a role in skipping breakfast?
Here’s the list of research source we used:
- Giovannini M, “Do we all eat breakfast and is it important?”.
- Leah E. Cahill, “Prospective Study of Breakfast Eating and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Male US Health Professionals.”
- Rania A Mekary, “Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in older women: breakfast consumption and eating frequency”.
- Jonas J Thompson-McCormick, “Breakfast skipping as a risk correlates of overweight and obesity in school-going ethnic Fijian adolescent girls.”
- Brown AW, “Belief beyond the evidence: using the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity to show two practices that distort scientific evidence.”
- Zhen Huang Tang, “The effects of breakfast on short-term cognitive function among Chinese white-collar workers: protocol for a three-phase crossover study.”
- Cho S, “The effect of breakfast type on total daily energy intake and body mass index: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).”
- Greenwood JL, Stanford JB. “Preventing or improving obesity by addressing specific eating patterns.”
- Haines PS, “Trends in breakfast consumption of US adults between 1965 and 1991”.
- Ruxton CH, “Breakfast: a review of associations with measures of dietary intake, physiology, and biochemistry.”
- Siega-Riz AM, “Differences in food patterns at breakfast by sociodemographic characteristics among a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States.”
- Greaney M, “College students’ barriers and enablers for healthful weight management: a qualitative study.”
- McDonald’s National Breakfast Day Study: Singapore Mums Do Lion’s Share of Work in Families’ Morning Routines
- POLL: What Americans Eat for Breakfast, ABCNews
- Christian Basi, Protein-Rich Breakfasts Prevent Unhealthy Snacking in the Evening, MU Researcher Finds
- Won O Song, “Nutritional Contribution of Eggs to American Diets”
The hardest part of this phrase for me is to get engaged with all kinds of research results. So, we walked into the sea of research information with the question “How can we decrease breakfast skipping among young adults and working professionals in the US?”. We wanted to find support for our hypothesis that breakfast skipping was significant, and we found it was true. And we assumed that the most common reason why people skip breakfast is short on time. So we found supporting evidence for this. We thought we should make a breakfast machine to cook an egg-based meal. So we found research results that eggs are the most common ingredients for breakfast. I feel that we were biased for the hypotheses we had because we can always see evidence for them.
We did a great job of setting the first atmosphere and holding the same mindset. We took our time and scheduled what we need to do to and shared the workload wisely. We all agreed that we need to emphasis on communication and listen to people. With respect and patience, we resolved all the branches we had during the research process.
First Team Meeting FAQ’s
If had a chance, I would conduct secondary research less pre-hold hypotheses to be more objective. I wanted to avoid the situation in which we only see what we choose to see.
How can we decrease breakfast skipping among teens and young adults with time shortage in the US by providing them healthy nutritious and timesaving breakfast options?
How can we decrease breakfast skipping among young adults and working professionals who are short on time?
In the investigation B phrase, we implemented the primary research. We are primarily interested in researching the deeper reasons behind the shortage of time and whether this time shortage could be overcome by lifestyle changes. We are also interested in learning other factors contributing to breakfast skipping. For instance, our team is also focusing its work on researching whether breakfast eating habits can be developed in the formative years of one’s life, thus leading to reduced breakfast skipping in later years.
What i did
My job is to generate survey questions regarding previous secondary research results and responsible for session three field study and produces insight/requirement based on survey results.
How often do you eat your breakfast?
Rationale: This is a filter question to identify those who skip breakfast and who don’t. This problem will also help us evaluate the intensity of breakfast skipping in combination with the below-mentioned questions.
On days, you eat breakfast, who is responsible for cooking it?
Rationale: This is a comparative question. The results of this query in combination with the first question will help us find the difference in approach to the people who eat breakfast every day to those who skip breakfast
What is your marital status?
Rationale: The rationale behind asking this question to filter down the affected people and their percentages.
What is your occupation?
Rationale: This is a second demographical filtering criterion. With a combination of the screening question above, us can find the most affected segment of the population.
What are your views about breakfast eating?
Rationale: By asking this question, we want to gather data on what most people think about breakfast. Are they aware of the risks and diseases associated with the breakfast skipping? We assume that people are unaware of the dangers associated with breakfast skipping
When did you frequently start skipping breakfast?
Rationale: We want to know if there is some pattern for breakfast skipping. Is there a particular life event after which people start skipping breakfast?
What is the most common reason for skipping breakfast (give a ranking from 1 to 8 – 1 being the most common and 8 being the least common reason)?
Rationale: We are trying to find the most important reasons for breakfast skipping.
What factors decide what do you eat for breakfast?
Rationale: This question along with the next two issues will help us design our requirements. We are interested in knowing what people think of different breakfast options and what do they need for breakfast. This basis of this question is also the observation study we performed in which some people relied on others for their breakfast, and some had to take time into consideration
How much do you typically spend per person on breakfast?
Rationale: This is a business question that will help us determine the amount of money people are willing to spend on breakfast.
What would make you NOT skip breakfast?
Rationale: This is the question that will also help us designing the requirements and coming up with a potential solution for this problem.
During the observation, I kept what I observed in detail and managed to answer the following three questions.
- Breakfast eating pattern among working professionals.
- How working professionals manage their morning chores?
- Preplanning and arrangement of breakfast, if any.
By publishing a survey on the Survey Monkey, we learned that the most likely breakfast skippers are around the age of 18 to 34 regardless of working professionals or students. Many of these people skip breakfast because they don’t want to eat the same breakfast every day which surprised us a lot. We previously held that people eat eggs breakfast most, but that population doesn’t account for even ¼ of the total survey participants. What’s more, the other main reason stated by participants are they don’t get easy access to food ingredients.
Survey Result Example
These primary study results changed our design question and challenged our breakfast machine solution. The breakfast machine solution does not provide the user with easier access to food ingredients, and it only has few cooking options. So, we brainstormed new solutions in the Ideation Phrase.
Affinity analysis & Survey Document & Field Study Note & Core User Portrait
Finally, by gathering insights produced in secondary research, field study and survey, we came up with the following five constraints for future ideation.
- We are assuming that breakfast skipping can be reduced by providing people with easily accessible breakfast ingredients and meal options.
- We are assuming that solution will also be used by people who are younger or older than 18-34 years.
- We are assuming that majority of our users will have either a smartphone device or a laptop with the internet.
- We are assuming that individual habits can be changed through incremental behavior change.
- We are assuming that breakfast skipping can be reduced by educating people about its importance.
The hardest thing for me and my teammates is that we found that our observation stayed on the surface. We failed to dig deeper to see the real need for the observed subjects. Our task is simple to state, to find the reason behind the breakfast skipping which is, in my opinion, consisted of two. The incentive and the hurdles for a person to eat breakfast. However, to know the motivation and the barriers, we had to think of more reasonable inference based on observation and facts.
The most natural thing for me was that the observation was conducted with people near me. So, it was straightforward for me to get access to observation position. And it’s much easier to answer the questions accurately based on the close look.
In retrospect, I wish I did more reasonable conclusions out of the observation and to push those findings deeper to understand why people skip breakfast. For instance, I would assume reasonable emotional need like getting a sense of ritual feeling of the start of a day which serves a vital role for eating breakfast and test them via asking questions or doing an experiment. And, I wish I still make sure I have easy access to observed participants.
Design Question (final)
How can we decrease breakfast skipping among young adults who age between 18 to 34 years?
The purpose of ideation is to generate our initial solution to the refined design question “How can we decrease breakfast skipping among young adults who age between 18 to 34 years?”. To test if our solution works, we figured out the typical application scenarios for our solution and produced these storyboards each related to 2 to 3 core tasks. The solution was prototyped in the prototype & evaluation phrase.
what i did
Based on the five requirements produced in the Investigation B phrase, we brainstormed our solution as a breakfast meal delivery solution which provides users with the ability to place their orders using mobile application.
My job is to visualize how our solution delivers the value to core users.
Scenario 1. Ibi slept at 2 AM in the night as he was working on a class presentation. He was supposed to deliver the presentation at 8:30 AM the next morning. At 7 AM, his alarm started to ring. Ibi woke up, peeked at the wall clock and realized he still had more than an hour for the class to get started. He snoozed the alarm and slept again hoping to wake up after 15 minutes. He suddenly woke up again after 30 minutes and quickly realized he was late for school. He immediately jumped out of bed and went straight to the shower room. He promptly took a shower and changed the clothes. Already being late for school, He opened the refrigerator to see if he could find something ready to eat. To his disappointment, he did not find anything. He closed the fridge and left for his school without eating breakfast wishing there was something present in the refrigerator.
Scenarios 2. Cheng had a long busy day at the office because of extra work. His last meeting finished at 7 PM, and he finally decided to head home. It took him about one hour to reach home because of the traffic. Tired, hungry and sleepy, he opened the refrigerator, took out the last box of sandwich and microwaved it. He turned on the television and started watching the football game to relax himself a bit. After finishing the dinner, he decided to go to sleep. On his way to bed, he checked the refrigerator and found there is nothing to eat for breakfast the next morning. Being already tired and sleepy, he had no energy to go to a grocery store at this time in the night and wished if someone could deliver the breakfast ingredients. He finally went to bed knowing he will have to go to work without breakfast.
Scenario 3. It was the last working day of the quarter, and Jay just woke up fresh. He took a shower and put on some beautiful new clothes. To celebrate the day, he thought of eating something special for breakfast. He went to his kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Jay started going through different items present in the fridge but did not find anything to his mood. He eventually gave up his search and decided to skip the breakfast and make an early lunch at some restaurant.
Brainstorming & Having fun
The hardest part for me was how to organize what to draw in each of the value delivering process. When we brainstormed what those three scenarios were, we came up with three central ideas. We provided the user with multiple breakfast choices, we offered the user easy access to food, and we enable the user cooks his breakfast in 5 minutes. The ideas were so abstract that I didn’t even know where to start.
Surprisingly, I found myself good at Sketching. So, the most comfortable part for me is to sketch. For me, I ask myself questions like what are the elements to be included in this frame. What is the idea of this structure and why is it connected to the previous frame.
During the sketching process, I learned that it’s critical to stand in the user’s shoes to look at our solution. And It’s crucial for a design person to transfer mindset quickly between each phrase. I feel that the reason why it’s difficult for me to organize what to draw in each frame is that I lack empathy to the people who use the solution. Maybe, in this ideation phrase, I need to transfer my mindset from Investigation A & B phrases, when we think more logically and dig insights based on data, to a more intuitive one. I will raise my awareness to transfer my mindset faster in the future design project.
Nutriment is a breakfast meal delivery solution and provides users with the ability to place their orders using mobile application. The team conducted this usability research to study users’ experience with nutritive mobile application and their delivered meal box.
what i did
In this phase, I rephrased the scenarios to be more suitable for usability research and related core tasks for each scene. Then we brainstormed the Nutriment App user interface, and I sketched them. To run the usability test, we reviewed our storyboards. We found that the storyboards could be concluded as Nutritive mobile application part and delivered meal box part. So, we synthesized the three storyboards into two usability test instructions.
As for the App interface, we listed the core tasks to accomplish. We designed and sketched the necessary app workflow so that the primary requirements were met.
- User needs access to ingredients
- User needs ingredients to be delivered to their homes
- User often wants to eat something different than usual daily breakfast
- User should be able to search different breakfast options
- User should be able to filter out the breakfast options
- User can buy breakfast ingredients
Interface Prototype Sketch
Our prototype: https://balsamiq.cloud/sz5j2/pttb8 (Press the play button on the top right side of the webpage to run the prototype)
We recruited our friends and colleagues to conduct this research, and a total number of 3 participants participated in the study. All participants were aged between 18-34 years and had smartphone devices.
Usability Test & Feedback Note
All three participants were given a brief introduction of the application and were requested to complete the tasks mentioned above using the low fidelity prototype presented to them. They were also requested to share their thoughts as they were trying to accomplish these tasks.
We faced multiple challenges while running the evaluation exercise. One of the critical problems we encountered was that participants tended to move away from the provided instruction set and wanted to try something on their own. Another challenge team faced was that though the participants were requested to think aloud, they often forget this in the middle of the exercise and become silent. The team had to keep reminding them to share their thought processes.
- Keep a good documentation is very crucial for product development
- Keep a positive attitude toward people and working
- Explain your worry and difficulty to your teammates without hesitation
- The awareness of mindset, keep a good mindset for each phrase, transfer mindset smoothly
- Team management
- Primary Research
- Secondary Research
- Prototyping & Evaluation
- Affinity Analysis
- Insight/Requirements gathering
- Quantitative Analysis
- Giovannini M, “Do we all eat breakfast and is it important?”.
- Leah E. Cahill, “Prospective Study of Breakfast Eating and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Male US Health Professionals.”