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A team of five designers from around the world joined together for a virtual five day sprint to design a solution aimed at reducing food waste. 

The Team

Case Study: 5 Day Design Sprint
May 15, 2021 - May 19, 2021

The Process

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My Role

As the lead recruiter, I was responsible for recruiting user test participants which included screening, ensuring time slots were quickly filled after last minute cancelations, and developing the user testing script. I also stood in as the decider, and worked with the rest of the team to brainstorm, ideate, prototype, conduct user testing and storyboard. 

My Why

Before the sprint began, we voted and agreed to solve for the important global issue of food waste reduction. As someone who comes from a family that immigrated to the United States from a third world country where proper food and nutrition can be sparse, I was excited to learn more about this important issue. 

World Food Waste Stats
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Day 1: Define the Problem

Expert Interview

We conducted an expert interview with Alma Nejenhuis who has founded her own co-op, serves on the board of another, and is a Food Waste and Environmental Studies educator in the Netherlands. The main challenge we identified in speaking with Alma was that most food waste happens because people are unaware of how many options are available to reduce, reuse, repurpose or recycle food. Instead, food is immediately discarded. 

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Day 2: Decide

Brainstorm Solutions

After the expert interview, we each wrote down and voted on the most fitting How Might We? statement using FigmaJam. We needed to frame our HMW so it wasn’t too broad or too narrow, but also addressed the core challenge of informing our users.

Next, we each developed what the most optimistic long term goal of our product would be based on our HMW questions.

 

We then brainstormed Can We…? questions in which we imagined all of the problems that may stop us from achieving our long term goals.

 

Finally, we voted and framed our Can We’s into focused sprint questions. 

How Might We?

Long Term Goals

How might we become a platform where…

 

1. People share their creativity regardless of their background

 

2. A large database of useful food waste resources (recipes, leftover ideas, grocery list ideas, etc.) with an active community of users 

Competitive Analysis & Lightning Demos

The team then took previous learnings and researched similar products or solutions. We presented each of our findings to the rest of the group. This helped spark some ideas which would become useful in the ideation stage. 

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Can We...?

Sprint Questions

Can we create a product that encourages people from all backgrounds, cultures, and countries to share creative food waste reduction ideas?

 

Can we reward people for sharing their food waste reduction ideas and information?

 

Can we ensure that the information is safe and reliable? 

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Ideation & Diverging

Using inspiration from our lightning demos, we began the ideation phase and individually began sketching ideas. 

The team was tasked with creating a storyboard solution, however there was a catch: each idea would remain anonymous. For this reason, we needed to make sure each frame of the storyboard was understandable without verbal communication.

 

The next day, we consolidated and voted on which flows and features we liked most. I took on the role of being the decider that day and wanted to choose the storyboard that aligned most with our long term goals and sprint questions.

 

After the team voted on their favorite solution, I decided to go with the design that addressed our long term goals specifically: We needed to design for a community of people that could post and share ideas in one place, as well as have the ability to quickly and easily access a database of validated and sourced information. 

Storyboards

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The Final Concept

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Day 3: Prototype

User Flow

Based on the winning storyboard, we started mapping out a user flow that incorporated the important features we wanted to include in our app based on our findings. Once we agreed on the user flow, we spent the entire next day developing a prototype and drafting the user test script. 

Prototype

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Welcome Screen

Home

Inventory Selection

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Community Posts

Recipes

Rewards

Day 4: User Testing

User Testing

As the lead recruiter, I recruited 5 participants through social media outlets to test our design. We targeted participants that were the main grocery shoppers for their household:

Our user testing questions focused on the following tasks:

 

  • Were the onboarding screens intuitive enough to understand how the app can help the user reduce food waste?

 

  • Could users find and discover new ways to repurpose the food they already have in their kitchens by using the inventory management screens to build a recipe?

 

  • Can they access and interact with the community post page, and did they feel the information they were getting was credible? 

Participants

Aurelia K. - Visual Designer, New Jersey, USA, 35+

Tugce G. - Research Consultant, London, UK, 31-35

Kelsey L. - Student, Maryland, USA, 25-30

Samantha L. - Student, Paris, France, 31-35

Gabrielle N. - Purchaser, Washington, USA, 25-30

View the User Test Script

Feedback Capture Grid

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Day 5: Recap

Reflection & Lessons Learned

Overall I had a great experience and was glad I decided to join this sprint. Despite about 4 or 5 people dropping from our team last minute, I thought we did a great job communicating and staying focused.

 

When I conducted one of the user tests (which happened to be the first moderated test I had ever conducted), I was nervous but did a good job guiding the participant back into the user flow although they ended up on the wrong screen. I did this by calmly guiding them back to the home screen and then rewording the task question.

 

By thinking on my feet, the participant had no idea they had made a mistake, and our team was still able to see how the participant did with the task at hand. As we were receiving feedback from our user tests, we would make rapid iterations so that we were able to test those iterations on the next participant.

 

One iteration I would have liked to make if we had more time is to improve the color contrast to ensure the app is accessible to all users. 

Next Steps

It was intimidating to join a team of designers from around the world that I hadn’t met before, but I am grateful that I took on this challenge and would certainly look to take on more challenges like this in the future to expand my skill set. The group is still in touch and we hope to either continue to work on Wastely, or take on an entirely new challenge together. 

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