In 2016, I took my first dive into the ubiquitous world of user experience design. I decided to take a class where we had to opportunity to focus on a problem specific to Toronto, and develop a capstone project that sought to address it with a proposed solution. I decided to create an app that allowed users to order healthy food and skip the line. This is a reflection on what I learned and what I would do differently.
Not enough research
The only research I did was a survey and maybe a handful of interviews over the phone. I could have addressed this issue by conducting more research with more people in order to get a better sense of the type of person I could build a solution for and whether my current idea is feasible.
At the time, personas were all the hype. But the reality is that they are not representative of real people. It is more sensible to focus less on a persona, and more on the use case. I think that I made the mistake of creating a persona that was a reflection of myself, thus I was practicing me experience rather than user experience.
There was too much focus on what the visuals looked like rather than prioritizing healthy food. The naming was based on a character that was obsessed with junk food – quite the contrary. I was too married to the visual side of the project in a sense that I completely lost sight of the concept.
I think that I was so caught up with the branding and visual design, that I totally missed the mark on finding an opportunity to really target the issue of food accessibility. Although there is a need for busy people to get food on the go and reduce the time to wait in a line, I think I could have dug deeper into this real-world problem, on a more social level. There are people that really need help getting access to food, especially in our post-pandemic world.
Because the class did not teach the design process in a more human-centred mode of thinking, coupled with my limited knowledge, I designed a prototype without digging deeper into the root of the problem. It was all very surface-level fluff.
Although I enjoy a good brand with eye-catching visuals and quality goods and services, I am also interested in producing work that can help people, and serves a needed purpose.