Concept | iOS App


A lesson in pivots; we initially started this project with one pain point in mind, only to change the course of the project as we learned more about challenges within the food service industry.

View Prototype


Competitive Research
Feature Analysis
Screener Surveys
User Interviews
Affinity Mapping
Archetype Development
Usability Testing




UX Designers (3)

My Role

UX Researcher
UX Designer


December 2020
3-week sprint

The Challenge
This project started with a proposal: what opportunity do we see within a problem space we're not informed and passionate about? We'd need to get approval from our internal stakeholders prior to kicking off our research and seek further stakeholder approval to get green-lit at the end of the sprint.


Our initial proposal focused on food service businesses. We assumed that because these businesses have perishable goods, they were hit hard by the supply chain issues brought on by COVID-19. Our assumption was that food service businesses would be open to selling or trading excess ingredients if it meant they could conserve or recover resources.

We learned more about the kind of competitors and comparators we'd run into while building this solution out. Given how many different options could suit this need, we were confident that we had a great idea to kick off research.

Leveraging our group's ties to food service, we were able to secure 11 user interviews. By the third user interview, it became apparent that our initial idea wasn't going to work. Each owner/chef we spoke to made it clear that due to liability and logistical concerns, they wouldn't consider using a service to resell ingredients.

Thankfully, we learned more about the challenges our user was facing over the next 8 interviews. After condensing our findings, we crafted the following problem statement:


Having identified our user's problem, it was clear that we had two key processes to consider as we moved into design:

With these elements in mind, we developed a persona to better empathize with our prospective user. Meet Kevin!


Before we got too deep into design, we had to determine what features to prioritize for our MVP and Kevin. We settled on the MoSCoW map you see below.

Like we identified during our user research, our MoSCoW map focused on the inventory and order processes. We quickly learned, however, that this also meant any future features should not be a part of the MVP build.

Our mid-fidelity usability testing showed that we had brought too many features into the prototype and confused our users. While all testers succeeded in completing the task of ordering ingredients, several issues cropped up during the inventory task:


Taking what we learned from our tests, as well as feedback from stakeholders, we made significant changes to the navigation throughout the app, especially for our key tasks.

Usability tests on the hi-fi prototype proved how important seeing the onboarding was for users to understand how the app works. All users were able to sucessfully complete their tasks, with any challenges being more about preference and expected behavior.

We presented our findings to our stakeholders alongside our hi-fi prototype and research into possible business models for the app. While the presentation itself could be improved (we learned afterward that our initial hook was more confusing than it was engaging), the work we had done got us greenlit for another sprint.

Takeaways & Next Steps

This project really illustrated how comfortable UX designers need to be with learning about industries and processes they have little to no knowledge of. We were able to learn so much in a relatively short period of time and it showed in our design.

I personally learned a lot about scaling back designs to ensure they're hyper-focused on solving the user's main challenges while still keeping business goals & needs in mind. I was able to apply this lesson shortly afterward on another native app design; feel free to check out that case study.

When it comes to our app, here's what we'd look to iterate on next:

While our persona Kevin may not be real, the challenges he's facing are. If we've learned anything from this project, it's that challenges exist for users in every role and industry. It's up to us as designers to ensure we're learning what is at the heart of those problems and develop solutions with the user in mind.

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