Case Study: “Wicked Problems-Food Sustainability”

Project 1 — Iron Hack UX/UI Bootcamp Oct. 2022

During the IronHack bootcamps, we learn new skills through projects and challenges. A great way to apply what we have learned so far.

As part of a team, consisting of 3 members (Dilek Yalcınkaya, Mary Nasarre and myself), we put ourselves in the shoes of UX Researchers.

For this, for 10 days, we had to find a solution, by making a prototype in Low-Fidelity, on the following problem:

➢ Food Sustainability

“How might we help people access local seasonal producers while fostering fair and honest relationships between producers and customers?”

Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash

Food sustainability can mean different things to different people. That is why, before we started our work, we agreed on a single definition, which will accompany us throughout our project.

Food sustainability is a process of food production by limiting negative impacts on the environment.
Our aim is lowering our carbon footprint, by consuming organic food.

With this definition in mind, we can finally organize and carry out our research.

➢ Design thinking

Design Thinking Methodology — Laura Piquet

To meet this challenge, we based ourselves on the different phases of the Design Thinking method.

➢ CSD matrix

We started by putting everything we know about food sustainability on post-its. During this stage, we try to gather as much information as possible. Therefore, we also extended our research through studies and theses on the internet, to complete the information.

Then, using the Certainties-Suppositions-Doubts method, we were able to classify the information on our post-its, so that we could see more clearly and focus on turning our assumptions and doubts into certainties in the next step.

➢ Interviews

There is nothing better than having qualitative information coming out of the mouths of our interviewees.

Therefore, before going to meet them, we prepared the questions for our interview, taking care to respect the basics of good interviews.

To begin with, we wanted to collect information of a demographic nature:

  • How many times a week do you go shopping?
  • How many people does the household consist of?
  • Where do you shop mostly?
  • What do you usually purchase?
  • What is your monthly budget for food purchases?
  • Can you share your opinion about organic food with us?

Then we wanted to learn more about their motivations:

  • What makes you buy conventional or sustainable food?

In addition, we wanted to know their behaviors:

  • How often do you cook at home?
  • How much time do you spend cooking?
  • Which organic products do you prefer to purchase?
  • How often do you check product labels?

And finally, we are interested in the pain points of our users:

  • In your opinion, what is the reason behind the high price of organic food?
  • What difference would make you purchase sustainable food?
  • What can make you always buy organic food?

➢ Insights

Through these interviews (a panel of 5 respondents, aged: 40%: 20–23 y.o/ 40%: 30–34 y.o / 20%: 50 y.o), we obtained the following results:

85% are looking for fresh vegetables, healthy food

65% are purchasing conventional food if there are no alternatives

90% are having a problem with products’ labels (lack of information if sustainable or not, product origin, ingredients)

90% require a solution for reaching more label information

➢ Affinity diagram

Thanks to the insights gained from our interviews and the results of our research, we were able to produce an Affinity Diagram.

Team’s Affinity diagram — Miro

The Affinity diagram has enabled us to highlight three areas:

  • Lack of trust in product labels
  • Expensive products
  • Limited time due to work or class

Thanks to the results of our research, we were able to create a persona and a user journey, which sums up their frustrations and pain points.

➢ The personae

Team’s personae — Canva

➢ User journey

➢ Problem statement

In realizing this, we concluded that our problem can be summarized as follows:

Young working adults need a way to find and purchase sustainable food because the conditions and prices make it challenging to be a conscious consumer and live healthily.

➢ Brainstorming

Once the information was clarified and the direction was chosen, we could move on to the creative part of the project.

For this, as at the beginning of our project, we wanted to gather as many ideas as possible!

➢ 5 wrong ideas = best idea

To do this, we chose to use the 5 wrong ideas method.

Team’s wrong ideas — Miro

And proceeds to dot voting what could we do in our final solution.

➢ Prototype

Now it’s time to think about our prototype. To do so, we’ve decided to go for an app that will help people to find out if the food they are buying are sustainable or not. We also wanted to offer our future users research results that could be adapted to their budget.

That’s why we came up with a bar code scanner app.

  • The users can see all product details as a list of the app (origin, nutrition value, certifications, environmental information, better price alternatives)
  • If the scanned product is a conventional food, then the app can suggest other organic alternative(s) to the user.
Team’s low-fi app — Figma

Due to the short duration of the project, we did not have time to develop the application fully. But we have identified the importance of other features that we can integrate in the future, in order to meet the needs of our users to consume more sustainable food with confidence and without spending too much money.

We would like to develop the “Seasonal food” feature, which will take the form of a calendar. It will list seasonal products. And send a push notification to the user to:

  • Keep the users informed about the season
  • Educate them about the origin of the product
  • Help them discover new fruits or vegetables
  • But also give them the possibility of having recipes to vary their dishes

We’ve reached the end of the project, here is what you need to remember:

  • Sustainable food is an ecological way to consume better without destroying the planet
  • Yet people are reluctant to consume it because of: lack of trust in labels, lack of time, and too expensive products
  • Find a way to educate them: develop an application
  • Application that allows scanning and get the nature of the product, but also sustainable and cheaper suggestions

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