UCook

Designed to make your life easier in the kitchen, UCook has a clean and simple user interface allowing users to store kitchen inventory, meal plan, and find quick and filterable recipes.
Timeline
Oct 2019 - Dec 2019
Role
Research, UX/UI, user testing, user flows

Identifying the problem

By talking to a handful of college students and parents, we learned that budgeting and time are common concerns in the kitchen. So they resort to cooking $0.99 top ramen to save time as a convenience and often forgetting about ingredients that may already be in their kitchen. Using what we learned, we were able distinguish three painpoints for people always on-the-go.
Electronic Inventory
Difficulty storing kitchen inventory online can lead to forgetting about already-bought products.
Quick Recipes
Unable to find and save quick recipes based on kitchen inventory creates challenges for those who are busy.
Meal Planning
Those with busy lives tend to eat out a lot causing them to spend more money than if they were to cook at home.

Research

To better understand the target audience, their environment, and major tasks to accomplish we conducted qualitative/quantitative research with people between the ages of 18 - 45 years old. We gathered data on their current routines and major challenges.
63.6%
Of people often forget about ingredients in their kitchen.
81.8%
Of people cook intermediate (20 - 60 minute) meals.
90.9%
Of people find their recipes from online websites.

Farrah, 38

  • Farrah is a full time hotel sales executive and a mother to three kids. Between baseball games and yoga classes, she doesn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
  • Since Farrah is a Vegetarian, it's hard for her to find quick meals that the whole family can enjoy.

Kyle, 21

  • Kyle is a fourth year college student. With a full schedule of work, classes, homework, and clubs he doesn't have a lot of time to cook.
  • He likes to save recipes for a later time, but doesn't have a universal place to store them.
User Flow
We needed to establish a user flow that was easy to navigate while completing the task of searching/finding a quick and easy recipe. After testing the process, we were able to take that information and make changes to the search feature. Here is a task that the user is completing for “Find an easy mac and cheese recipe for dinner”.

Interface

The moodboard is focused around the color yellow as it is perceived to be the happiest color which is also used in a wide range of food products. Yellow brings a sense of optimism and good feelings.
Typeface
Aa
Poppins

Aa Bb Cc Dd EeFf Gg Hh Ii JjKk Ll Mm Nn OoPp Qq Rr Ss TtUu Vv Ww Xx YyZz
Color Palette
Primary 1
#F8C528
Primary 2
#000000
Primary 3
#989898
Primary 4
#F8F8F8
Version A
In creating the first visual style, we created visual aspects that are commonly used in the food industry and associated with healthy eating. The result was a colorful, free flowing visual take that gives a sense of home.
We learned a lot about using multi-colored type in our UI and creating various stylized elements for each page. However, after testing and critique, we were able to target additional pain points that were confusing and lacked clarity.
Version B
The second visual style is simplified and structured. We analyzed UI trends, best practices, and recipe websites/apps to develop a new UI. Version B's style is less playful and more organized. In addition to changing the visual look to be more cohesive, we also enhanced small details to create a better flow and make information clearer.
We eventually leaned on the second version to be the final design since it has better usability, greater accessibility, and clearer visual and typographical hierarchy. It allows the user to see more information at a quick glance and highlighted crucial information more heavily.

Solution

Based on our learnings from the previous visual iterations, the strongest components of both were used to create an interface that best reflects the needs of those who need to save time and money in the kitchen.

Ready to cook

UCook helps you decide the perfect meals to cook. Receive personalized recipe suggestions based on your pantry ingredients and dietary preferences.

Import / upload recipes

Have a favorite recipe that's online? Or do you have them saved in multiple places? Import and save them all on the UCook app! You can also write any of your own recipes.

Plan your meals

UCook can help you plan meals within a few minutes, saving you more time in your day.

Online grocery list

Add missing ingredients to your mobile shopping list in addition to seeing expired items.

Learnings & Insights

The first iteration of the visual style relied heavily on the use of multiple colors and variation of typography as the aesthetic. The second iteration allows the user to focus on important information without the use of numerous colors. If we were to continue this project, we would love to explore accessibility in user-centered design, understand how it effects those in the kitchen, and potentially design an accessibility-focused iteration.