ChopChop

A smart recipe app that won’t make your hands dirty.

My Role

Design from start to finish as a sole product designer at an imaginary startup, ChopChop.

Duration

1/4/2022-1/8/2022 (5 Days)

Method

Design Sprint (A rapid five-day process developed by Google Ventures for efficient and more effective problem-solving to create the MVP)

Design Sprint Overview

Day 1: User interview, Persona

Day 2: Competitive analysis, Ideation, Sketching

Day 3: User flow

Day 4: Low-fidelity prototype, Usability test

Last day: High-fidelity prototype

"We’ve received some negative reviews from our users. You can do anything you want as long as the recipes are written as text with steps ordered from start to finish."

Problem & Design Constraint

Day 1.
Understanding problems & Mapping
User Interview
Persona: Put your shoes in Nicholas

“I’m not sure if I am on the right track and what my food is supposed to look like at each step. It’s better to know my mistakes sooner than later.”

“I don’t want surprises. When I make a few small mistakes, the final product turns out to be very different. I can’t undo what I did.“

“I hate cleaning unnecessary pots and pans. Washing hands in between is also annoying”

“I waste time on starting something else and I have to reheat sometimes too. The timing doesn’t make sense.“

“I have to google it while I am cooking because I don’t know what ‘minced garlic’ look like”

Nick cooks about three nights a week - usually for himself, but sometimes for him and his girlfriend. Most of the time, he enjoys cooking and trying new recipes. He thinks following a recipe is the best way to learn basic cooking techniques. He likes tweaking or improving specific recipes, but he doesn’t feel comfortable improvising until he has cooked it “by the book” once.

Frustrations

  • Nick isn’t always clear on “What’s next” and how he can prep a few steps ahead, which often leads to mistakes or wasted time.

  • Sometimes he is unsure that he’s on the right track halfway through preparing the meal.

  • If a dish doesn’t come out as expected, he doesn’t know where it went wrong, feels disappointed in the meal, and doesn’t really learn anything for the next time.

  • He gets stressed out trying to refer back to his phone every time a new technique or step is introduced.

Recap. Day 1

Users keep needing to use a phone for searches due to unclear recipes and inefficient time management.

Something needs to be changed without rewriting all the recipes in ChopChop.

Yumly

  • Good: Check-marking on ingredients for future reference because it is convenient for grocery shopping.

  • So-so: There is no other feature. The smart thermometer is an advanced technology, but it is available through shipping, and also the video instruction is no different from watching a YouTube video.

Food Network

  • Good: Offers timer and substitution ingredients as a premium feature ($20/year).

  • So-so: Cooking instructions are in generic form, and the text is too long to read.

Tasty

  • Good: Offers step by step instruction with videos. Swiping moves to the next instruction, and the tap moves back to the previous screen.

  • So-so: Video is not available for every recipe, and some of the steps are missing.

SuperCook

  • Good: It shows me the recipes based on what I currently have by filtering. Setting serving sizes automatically is convenient, so the users don't have to use a calculator for each ingredient.

  • So-so: Cooking instructions are still not clear, and there is no visual information

Day 2.
Competitive Analysis for TOP 5 Recipe Apps in AppStore (2021)

Every app has its own benefit, but none of them can solve the problem ChopChop has. The video instruction is great but it requires tapping the next buttons, and ChopChop wants to keep its recipes in text.

Insight

Possible Solutions
  • Provide a feature that users don’t need to keep touching the screen while they are cooking

  • Encouraging users to try out new recipes and make sure users know they are/aren’t doing what they are supposed to do

  • Minimizing time spent and utensils/tools to be washed later and provide precise preparations and a system where users can quickly find out if they made a mistake to assure users if they are following the recipes correctly

Showing next step while waiting for efficiency
Automatic timer alerts for the next step
Click Ingredients to start cooking
Day 2.
Sketches

Solutions from the sketches solve all the problems except for "how do I know if I did it right." Also, I need to talk to engineers to confirm if they can automatically organize recipes the way I designed to minimize the waste of time users doing nothing.

Recap. Day 2

User Flow

Solutions

1. Provide clear cooking instructions by using visuals to avoid situations like finding mistakes that are too late to fix. Or needing to use a search engine to see pictures or videos because the instruction isn’t explicit enough.

  • Additional pictures at every step of the recipes

  • Automatic timer - Users can wash dishes while waiting for food in the oven, which takes 30 minutes to roast. And when users start the next instruction, it automatically turns into a timer, so they don’t have to set up the timer for each task.

2. Use voice to click the next button, so users don’t have to touch the screen while they are cooking

  • A timer that shows steps and real-time left

  • Voice prompt to tap buttons

Day 3.

Decision Making

What's changed since a couple days ago?

I'll add a few more screens on a low-fidelity prototype to solve the problems of ChopChop.

  • Pictures to provide clear step-by-step instructions

  • "While waiting" feature so users can work on other steps instead of waiting to do nothing

  • The last screen shows what the food would look like when it is done

Wireframes

Day 4.

Prototyping

Test Results

All five users were able to finish every task. The heat map suggested that some users might be confused with the timer and the buttons in recipe mode because they look similar. And the size of the additional photos was too small, and users expected to enlarge it when they tapped the screen.

Day 5.

Usability Test and After

Usability Test

Tools: Maze, Google Forms, Google Docs, Calendly

A total of five usability tests by Wizard of Oz were conducted to confirm if this prototype solved problems.

"Imagine you're making the spaghetti for dinner today. You have four ingredients in your fridge right now. Ground beef, tomato sauce, onions, and pasta noodles. Open the app and start cooking the Meatball Spaghetti."

I wanted to validate

  • Can users finish cooking without touching their phones?

  • Do users waste time doing nothing while following recipes?

  • Is this prototype easy to navigate and use?

Challenges

I missed the opportunities to brainstorm ideas with others since this is a solo project. There is no perfect solution, but two heads are better than one. Especially during the usability test, I wish I could’ve validated two more things.

" If the food they cooked looked like what they expected to come out "

" If they can use the voice prompt feature "

What I needed were a proper budget and technical ability. The landscape mode worked manually, and the voice prompt didn’t work during the test. But I heard the users and modified designs a bit. Check out the final screens below.

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Cooking with ChopChop
Final Screens
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