Emily is 31 yers old and she is a mother of 2. She, much like other 50 million americans, suffers from different allergies.
She is allergic to few types of insect stings and plants but mostly she has a nasty allergy to peanuts.
She’s been to the emergency room a couple of times because of eating chocolate bars or other kinds of products that contained peanuts or peanut butter.
Since then Emily carefully reads the labels of every product she buys from the supermarket and mostly the ingredients. She examines them carefully for the above mentioned allergy triggers and buys them if they are free of them.
Been like that for her is not a matter of whether she just doesn’t like peanuts but sometimes her life and health depend on this.
But many times the ingredients list on the label is not complete or the label is too small so she wastes lots of time trying to figure out whether a food will likely to harm her or not.
But she is not alone. As I said more than 50 million only in America suffer from any kind of allergy.
The idea was to create a mobile app initially for iOS (Apple phones) which main purpose is to check the ingredients on the labels much faster by scanning the barcode and tells Emily whether it is safe for her to eat a certain product from the supermaket or not.
Based on our research with the target audience (people like Emily) we came up with the following hypothesis:
A mobile application that allows Emily to scan the food for specific allergens will help select her food in the supermarkets a lot better, much faster and provide her with the proper and detailed information about the ingredients.
Basically we believe that certain application can make the life of people with food allergies a lot better.
Testing the hypothesis
In order for us to test the hypothesis we needed the app and people with allergies to test it whether it provides a value for them.
We needed to test whether it is quicker than reading the labels, comfortable for the user and if it provides any value at all.
We did not have the app so we did the next best thing (and cheapest) – we created a very simple prototype with only the core functionality – the MVP.
We needed just the core functionality so this is what we prototyped – scan food > show ingredients and allergens > show whether it is good or not good for our testees.
We went to the supermarket (in a real environment) and we did lots of tests with people that we brought with us. Not random people in the supermarket.
Our prototype was set to just few products and few allergies but we tested them with more people.
As a result we verified that it was much quicker to scan the barcode than to read all those small letters on the label. And even then sometimes you have no idea what some of the information on the label means and whether it is good for you.
So our initial tests showed us that this application can provide a huge value for people like Emily but in order to do so we needed a large database with products and the information about them had to be properly updated.
Basically we realizied that in order for this to work we needed to partner up with a large supermarket franchise.
User flow and information architecture
We started with the basic user flow. It took quite a few user testings and tweaks in the prototypes to get it right.
Once we were done with the user flow and the wireframes we jumped into the UI. Here it is what we came up with.
When we were ready with the screens and the whole concept we tried to find the partnership I mentioned above.
We could not secure this and that lead to our app being moved to the “on hold projects” folder.
As I was the only designer in the team my role was UX Research, UI design, personas, prototyping etc.
I still believe this is a very good concept and it really can help lots of people so if you are a large supermarket franchise and this seems interesting, please, get in touch. Let’s make this happen! Let’s help millions of people who are like our persona Emily.