This prototype app was created while completing my UX Design certificate at BrainStation.
How might we make it easier for people to meal plan and find recipes catered to their preferences that can save them time and money?
1. Meal planning is frustrating weekly.
2. Users feel uninspired to think of meals to make.
Discovery + Opportunity
After conducting 5 user interviews, I discovered that 4/5 potential users are frustrated with others' "extreme food preferences." In addition, many of the interviews revealed that people dislike thinking about what to cook daily.
Possible Solutions
1. Help users to select a variety of food preferences, allergies and add custom preferences during the onboarding process - meal plans catered to their needs.
2. Social support with "Friends Feed" - users can get meal ideas from friends. 
From ideation to implementation, and the steps in between that matter for the user, I was able to learn more about UI/UX.
Concerning the users' needs, after creating a prototype and testing, there was a lot of positive feedback and satisfaction with the app features in relation to their pain points.
Lastly, learning to embrace change and growth, validating those changes, and the result has made me a better designer.
My Role
• Research
• Empathy Interviews
• User Flows
• 2 Key Task Flows
• Sketching
• Lo-Fi + Hi-Fi Wireframing
• Prototyping
• UI Design
• 5 weeks

• Figma
Please see below for more details on the process. 
Meal Planning Frustrations
1. How can we provide users with a better way to get preferred food preferences?
2. How can we make it easier for users with busy schedules?
"Hate thinking about what to cook every week"
- quote from user interview
Value Proposition​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Make a meal plan users will enjoy - automated for them.
• Target both users who cook and ones that don’t all the time.
• Really hone in on preferences - take out the guesswork
• “Friends Feed” - Copy Friends' meal ideas when they feel uninspired
User Research
• 5 people; Age range 20-40.
• Both people that cook and don't cook (but would like to).
Building a meal planning app, “I believe all/most users will want an easier approach to planning meals every week” 
Sample Interview Questions
1. Tell me about your typical meal planning/cooking experience? Any frustrations/what could be better?
2. Do you currently use any apps for recipes/meal planning? What do you like/dislike about those apps?
3. How long do you spend meal prepping/cooking every week?
Key Takeaway
I asked a range of questions, but one answer I received unprompted stuck out to me.
4/5 Potential Users are frustrated dealing with others' "extreme food preferences"
User Interview Insights
One main frustration I noticed was that many people who cooked for a group had to deal with others' “extreme food preferences”
Another frustration that came up, mainly with single users was “hate thinking about what to cook.”
Overlapping common themes:
• Random planning - too busy.
• Save time, money, and be healthier.
• Frustrating planning for others' tastes.
• Dinner is the main meal of frustration.
The app will feature a “Friends Feed” where they can get inspired, “copy” others' meal plans, and make the process of meal planning fun.
Affinity Mapping
After receiving insights from user interviews, I created an affinity mapping in FigJam to organize and recognize common patterns. 

User Personas / Empathy Maps
After my five interviews, user research, and affinity mapping, I was able to create three personas for this product. 

"Meal Planning Mae" - Empathy Map based on user interviews

Persona #1  "Meal Planning Mae"
A mother who has to determine what meal will please everyone daily.​​​​​​
Very frustrating catering to "everyone's extreme food preferences"
Pain Points
• Hates thinking about what to cook for everyone.
• Making food people don't like.
• Time management with family and cooking is difficult.
• Complaints from family but no feedback.
Potential Solution
• Ability to pick the family's food preferences and develop a meal plan based on that.
Meal Planning Mae User Persona
Persona #2 "Erica Entrée"
A young professional who takes a minimal approach to meal plans
"I really hate figuring out what to cook"
Pain Points
• Difficult to shop/cook for one person
• Random meal planning - too busy to plan ahead
• Don't eat healthy when no meal plan
• Hates the same food every day
Potential Solution
• Meal planning app can feature a way for Erica to view friends' meal plans and get inspired.
"Erica Entree" - User Persona
Persona #3 "Sous Vide Sebastian"
Engaged to a persnickety eater​​​​​​​
"If you make recipes that you know are good, you won't be disappointed"
Pain Points
• Cooks for self & picky partner
• Making food people don't like, with no input
• Modifying recipes for partner
Potential Solutions
• Help Sebastian and Stephanie team up on meal planning together in app.
• They can each add their food preferences and discover meals.
• They will resolve that pain point in their relationship, save money, and be healthier.
"Sous Vide Sebastian" User Persona
Information Architecture
After developing the user personas, I had enough information to begin thinking about the structure of the app and what needed to be included. 
e.a.t. meal planning app Information Architecture overview
User Flow​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Since this was a quick project sprint in 5 weeks, we were instructed to focus on 2 main task flows for the app.  
Task Flow 1
User Story: As a potential meal planner,  want to be able to set up food preferences so that I can make a weekly meal plan that I enjoy and stick to.

Task: Onboarding and profile set up to start meal planning.
Key Task Flow 1 - Onboarding and profile setup
Task Flow 2
User Story: As a lazy meal planner, I want to be able to see what others are meal planning so that I can get inspired and make my own meal plan.

Task: Make a weekly meal plan based on other users.
Key Task Flow 2 - Make a weekly meal plan based on other users
Sketches of all page views
Task Flow 1 Sketches
Onboarding and profile set up to start meal planning.
Task Flow 1 Sketches
Task Flow 1 Sketches
Task Flow 2 Sketches
Make a weekly meal plan based on other users.
Revision after user interviews with lo-fi prototype:
•  Home view sketch is more dynamic based on user feedback.
• Better understanding of Weekly Meal Plan right on top
• Ability to select a specific day
Initial Sketches - Home, Weekly Meal Plan, Friends Feed Views
Revised Home View Sketch based on user feedback
Lo-Fi Wireframes - Initial
e.a.t. meal planning app - lo-fi wireframes initial
Iterate & Re-test
I met with 3 users to test the initial lo-fi prototype, and provided them with the task scenarios:​​​​​​​
Task 1 - You are frustrated with meal planning and are looking to find an easier way to do this. How would you onboard and make a meal plan?

Task 2 - You don’t like thinking about what to cook and want to collaborate with friends. How would you create a meal plan with friends?
User Feedback 
"I got hung up on the add a meal to plan screen and was a little confused about what to do next."
Adding a meal left me wondering things like:
“What day did this get added to?”
“How do I move it to a different day” etc.
Other feedback similar - home page “not enough info”

Heuristic Evaluation
Changes applied to the Home View based on user testing.
Match b/t system and the real world - Changed Sunday - Saturday for Calendar like the real world. 
User control and freedom - Had to give users the ability to choose what day for each meal
Help users recognize, and diagnose problems - user has the ability to edit what day meal is on by dragging and rearranging in the meal plan.
Lo-Fi Wireframes - Revised
e.a.t. meal planning app - lo-fi wireframes revised
Mood Board
Style Guide
The app features a friendly sans serif font, as well as an inviting, healthy color palette of green tones inspired by food. 
e.a.t. style guide including color palette, typeface, buttons, and icons.
Hi-Fi Wireframes
Hi-Fi Wireframe Views
Hi-Fi Prototype​​​​​​​
Hi-fi Prototype Video

Hi-fi Prototype Video

Click for an interactive prototype

Overall, I learned so much from this process that was done during my UX Design certification. From ideation to implementation, and the steps in between that matter for the user, I was able to learn more about UX/UI.  
Lastly, learning to embrace change and growth, validating those changes, and the result has made me a better designer.
Future implementations:
Users seem to want more features, but liked the groundwork of concepts. The big highlight was the "Friend's Feed" - even users who cook for others appreciated this aspect.

If this was a real product, I would prioritize the following features based on the strongest user feedback:
1. Auto-populate meal plan button
2. Filtering
3. Ability to make multiple weeks of meal planning.

You may also like

Back to Top