KLEMIS KITCHEN

Klemis Kitchen serves as a food pantry for Georgia Tech students with financial concerns that limit their access to proper nourishment. The project provides an app that increases their efficiency and provides a better experience for its users.

Screenshots from the proposed application

ROLE

Design - Concept sketches, wireframing, storyboarding, design prototype.
Research - Semi-structured interviews, affinity mapping, competitive analysis, expert evaluation.

DURATION

14 weeks
Aug 2021
Dec 2021

TOOLS

Adobe XD
Figma
Notion
Qualtrics

TEAM

Boya Ren
Greg Parker
Srijan Jhanwar
Jessie Chiu

OVERVIEW

WHAT IS KLEMIS KITCHEN?

Klemis Kitchen serves as a food pantry for Georgia Tech students with dietary needs and financial concerns that limit their access to proper nourishment.

Klemis kitchen provide free surplus food from the dining halls, Panera Bread, Whole Foods as well as canned donations from other sources, however, due to the lack of online presence and complex enrollment procedure, the kitchen currently has 122 enrolled students out of a body of 39,771 students.

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS?

Our stakeholders and clients for this project are primarily Klemis Kitchen, but also the students who use or would like to use the kitchen services, from our initial round of semi structured interviews with Klemis kitchen’s admin and users, we narrowed down our scope to three current issues.

Enrollment

Lack of formal system and online presence renders the students in need helpless with enrolling for their service.

1

Availability

Current process of notifying students about new food deliveries through e-mails and flyer is failing.

2

Nutrition

Students from around the world have different dietary preferences and restrictions, this need is not addressed.

3

HOW DO WE SOLVE THEM?

Creating a scalable app that allows students to sign up for the Klemis Kitchen service and provides them with real time pantry inventory anytime at their fingertips. The app would also provides them with a warm and inviting user experience, recipes suggestions and a Klemis community board for communication with other users and Klemis Kitchen staff.

screenshot from proposed application
PROCESS

PROJECT JOURNEY

My team and I worked from foundational discovery to proof of concept prototype during the course of the semester. Along the way we conducted research in the form of user interviews, task analysis, empathy mapping and usability tests. While the rest of my team led the formative research, I led the concepts ideation, setting up a design system and prototyping the research-driven solutions.

Image showing the steps taken to complete the project
RESEARCH

HOW DID WE ESTABLISH DESIGN REQUIREMENTS?

We followed a user centered research process to guide our design requirement for the app. The research phase was divided in three parts. Formative research where we analyzed the current service provided, primary research where we interviewed service providers and current users of Klemis kitchen, and finally feedback gathering on conceptual diagrams to understand user expectations.

Key findings from mapping interview notes

We synthesized all the data gathered from our surveys and interviews and organized them based on their affinities, to find patterns and common themes. We used our top affinity map findings to inform design decisions and derive design implications from.

Affinity map from interview findings

Users find onboarding process unclear and fragmented.

Lack of online presence and awareness of service among students factors in the kitchen being inaccessible by most students in need.

Current users would like to give back to the kitchen.

Users expressed their desire of giving back to the kitchen and helping the service providers but not being able to do so because of busy schedules.

Need for nutrition labels, expiration information and stock availability.

Users expressed frustration because currently the kitchen does not provide expiration and allergen information for a lot of food items.

Users require better notification system for new donation deliveries.

Currently notifications are sent through e-mail in the form of a picture of the kitchen. This does not inform the users of what and how much arrived.
Chat bubbles showing few user comments

Key findings from existing system

Picture from klemis kitchen showing inventory
Inventory management
The kitchen currently has no way of managing inventory because of irregular donations and lack of manpower/ volunteers.
picture from klemis kitchen showing printed and laminated recipes
Printed recipes at kitchen
The kitchen provides printed recipes tied to a shelf which illustrates how to use the food available to prepare meals.
picture from klemis kitchen showing suggestion slips
Suggestion Slips
Suggestion slips box for the students to interact with kitchen administration and provide feedback and suggestions.

ESTABLISHING REQUIREMENTS

We used the data from the semi-structured interview with the users and the service providers to establish functional and non-functional design requirements that would guide our concept ideation process. These would also help us evaluate our design when conducting usability testing sessions.

Functional requirements

Non functional requirements

Transparent onboarding

Users have to collect scattered information through an inefficient back-and-forth emails to complete the registration process. The solution should offer users a transparent onboarding experience to get access to the kitchen and centralize all information about the service.

1

Capacity

As mentioned by both service providers that we interviewed, currently the food supply is more than needed in terms of quantities. However, due to the limitation of space and man power, Klemis Kitchen is not able to accommodate more users than what it currently serves.

4

Stock availability

Currently, e-mails are the only way for Klemis Kitchen to send food availability notifications to users which is neither in time nor adequate. With our solution, users should be able to check the latest availability of food on their mobile device and get notified when new food is available.

2

Humanity

We discovered that users tend to feel bad about getting food without giving back to Klemis Kitchen. Thus from the humanity perspective, our solution should be capable of providing an environment where users feel comfortable utilizing Klemis Kitchen’s services.

5

Nutrition and expiration

Users want to know the nutritional information to determine if it meets their dietary restrictions and food expiration information. The solution should provide exactly that - so the user can make an informed decision about how to use the provided service.

3

Usability

Research shows that the visibility of information in the current system where pictures of the kitchen are sent out to users for stock information is not satisfactory. The desired solution will keep users informed of the availability of food with a minimum cognitive load.

6
IDEATION

BRAINSTORMING IDEAS

My favorite part of the process, we brainstormed eight crazy ideas and specified how those ideas are addressing our design requirements outlined through research findings. We then got together and used a whiteboard to communicate and build upon each other ideas to get them to be their best versions. Once we had our crazy eight figured out, we voted as a group on the top three ideas, drew storyboards, design sketches and started wire-framing.

Gif showing me and my team working together on conceptual ideas
Image of my team working on design system

Crazy Eights

These were eight conceptual ideas, some crazy and some not so crazy that would help address the function and non-functional requirements we derived from research. The goal of this exercise was to find out what ideas would make the experience better and satisfy the most number of requirements.

Sketched design concept 1
Group track
Crowdsourcing pantry stock inventory with the users updating all items on the app while picking up food.
Sketched design concept 2
Fresh-o-meter
Display freshness of all food items in the pantry and allow users to customize how they’d like to use this information.
Sketched design concept 3
Cooking 101
Only take what you need - Cooking 101 provides the users with recipes and ingredients required for those recipes.
Sketched design concept 4
Klemis samaritan
Gamififying volunteering. Volunteers are rewarded with points which they can in turn use for kitchen benefits
Sketched design concept 5
Kozy Korner
Provide positive reinforcement in both physical and digital spaces for the user’s mental and physical well being.
Sketched design concept 6
A.I.M.
Using computer vision, sensors and cameras top keep track and provide real time info of all stock inventory in the kitchen.
Sketched design concept 7
Take your pick
Allow users to favorite items on an app, even reserve the grab n go meals that they’re interested in.
Sketched design concept 8
Klemis near me
Allow students to easily look for food in various Klemis Kitchen locations across Georgia Tech campus.

Selected ideas and storyboards

We sketches storyboards for the two concepts that satisfied the most number of design requirements, and were exciting features for the Klemis Kitchen app. This helped us understand how the story will flow and further detailing out possible user flows.

Storyboard 1 - Group Track
Group track allows a user to keep track of the kitchen’s stock inventory. Users can browse through the pantry and item availability, and they can also update the quantity for other other kitchen users while they’re picking up food for themselves. This provides them with an opportunity to ‘give back’ to the kitchen and solves inventory management issues.
Storyboard 1 of 2
Storyboard 2 - Fresh-o-meter
Fresh-o-meter is an app that primarily focuses on one of the core functional requirements i.e. displaying expiration and nutritional information of all food items. This was one of the core issues for the users of Klemis Kitchen where they have difficulty understanding if something is good for the taking or not, or how long has it been on the shelves in the kitchen.
story board 2 of 2
DESIGN

VISUAL STYLE GUIDE

For the visual design system, we landed on a few keywords for the kind of user experience we’re trying to achieve. Fresh, warm, inviting, playful. We drew inspiration from colors in fresh fruits and vegetables and decided on clean and simple typeface and iconography for the screens.

Image illustrating visual design language

USER STORY MAP

Based on our research findings, we sketched out a use case scenario to gain better perspective of user flow and present our findings and solutions to the service providers and users. This would generate conversations and provide feedback for proposed ideas.

image showing a user's story map.

HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPE

We used all the information and feedback we gathered from multiple design concepts and wireframes feedback sessions with service providers and users, integrated that with our design system and started developing high-fidelity prototype to start designing interactions.

Crowdsourcing inventory

Apart from displaying real time pantry inventory information, the app goes one step further where users who are physically present in the kitchen can update the quantity of any of the food items and inform others if anything is running out. This provides them with an opportunity to ‘give back’ to the kitchen and solves inventory management issues.

Gif showing klemis kitchen inventory tab interactions
Gif showing klemis kitchen recipes tab interactions

Recipes and ingredients

Users could go to the recipe section to better decide what would they want to pickup from the kitchen and how much quantity. This promotes healthy eating habits, and provides the students better alternatives than choosing packaged unhealthy food that’s about to expire.

Klemis community

The community tab provides users with a communal space to talk to other students using the pantry, share their experience and get questions answered. Along with the pantry tab, users have access to both notifications and food availability in one place, increasing the efficiency of user experience to the maximum.

Gif showing klemis kitchen community tab interactions
EVALUATION

USER TESTING

We conducted user testing of the proposed design solution with two users and two product designers so that our focus is concentrated on improving features that the users will actually use most, and getting heuristic evaluation from designers to make sure there are no usability issues.

Task based testing

We conducted task based testing for the four most important tasks that satisfied outlined design requirements. The participants were asked to think aloud when performing these tasks to express their joy or frustrations about any of the features the prototype presented them with.

Task analysis icon
Task based usability test
Session time icon
1 hr/ session
user icon
4 participants
figma prototype icon
Figma prototype
Screenshot of zoom call for usability testing
Usability testing using screen and audio share.
Screenshot of zoom call for usability testing
Task analysis with MS-HCI students.

Task 1: Enrolling

What users liked
Really like the splash screen with illustrations describing what the service is about and how they’re helping the campus be more sustainable.
What users did not like
Does not know why does the kitchen require some of the personal information such as buzzcard or college majors, would like further explanation.

Task 2: Setting diet preferences

What users liked
Participants liked that setting diet preferences was a step during enrolling and that one could check or uncheck allergens when browsing inventory.
What users did not like
Would like to see better allergen information on the home page next to all items to take it further to the next step.

Task 3: Adding food to grocery list

What users liked
Easy to use feature, participants liked the multiple entry points to the grocery list i.e. being able to add it both through the pantry tab and recipes tab.
What users did not like
Would not like to add it again and again every time they have to visit the kitchen. Would like the option of favoriting grocery run lists.

Task 4: Enquiring about food freshness

What users liked
Participants thought the user flow to do this was natural, and usable. Integrating admin issues with community chat ensures info is decentralized.
What users did not like
Would have liked to see a way to send a private message to the service providers in case they need to talk about anything confidentially.
CONCLUSION

REFLECTION AND NEXT STEPS

It’s important to include the user in the development process. Even the most well thought out designs are assumptions until they are tested by real users.

This project helped me understand how to bridge stakeholder’s requirements and expectations with user requirements through thorough research and attention to details. Big ideas often lie in the smaller remarks by the users.

Due to time constraints we could only design a minimal viable product. With more time, I would’ve liked to work further on reducing the number of steps required to achieve an action, integrating micro interactions and adding another way where non-users of the kitchen could also help out with operations using the app.