MealSpace

MealSpace combines the best parts of a Maker Space and a home kitchen. It allows students to create their own meals with all the necessary ingredients and materials provided. MealSpace is a new experience to eating out.

Fast Facts

  • Role:

  • UX Designer
  • Project Type:

  • Student Design Competition CHI 2018 submission
  • Dates:

  • September 2017 - Janurary 2017

Tools:

  • Pencil and Paper
  • Dry Erase Marker / White Board
  • Sketch
  • InVision
  • Google Survey Forms
  • Skills:

  • Design Methodologies
  • Participatory Design
  • Analytical Research
  • Sketching techniques
  • Wireframing and prototyping
  • Scenarios and storyboarding
  • The Problem

    Moving to college is a tough transition for students: increased workload, social pressure, and no more home-cooked meals. Of all these factors, students undermine the importance of balanced, healthy meals. While on-campus meal plans aim to provide students with a variety of food choices, a freshman on average “gain weight 5.5 times greater” than the general population (Mihalopoulos et al., 2008).

    The Process: Research

    Research and User Interviews


    Paper Surveys

    We Recieved 21 college students that expressed interest and concerns regarding grocery shopping and cooking at home. The biggest finding is that they high nutrition and low cost.

    User Interviews

    During our interviews with two participants that were different from the 21 college students, claimed that cost is a deterrence for using existing solutions such as InstaCart. They Also mentioned their current process for meal planning is a simple ad-hoc method. At the end of the interviews, the participants made it clear that even though they knew nutrition was important, nutrition levels are normally not met.

    Diary Studies

    The biggest finding during our diary study was that general mood after eating was improved when the participant either ate with a tv show playing or when eating with a friend. Therefore eating with some company improves the eating experience.

    Process Summary

    After identifying the different needs that our users have, we used a priority matrix based approach to develop ideas. We wrote different needs of our users along with an axis and assigned them weights based on our research findings; along the other axis, we wrote different ways these solutions can be implemented. After coming up with these ideas, we ranked them and chose MealSpace because it tackled the issues of time and nutrition most efficiently.


    Our initial sketches.

    The Solution Overview

    Mealspace brings people together into a single space in order to create a creative culinary atmosphere that focuses on nutrition, cost, and time. We source from local farmers that grow marvelous vegetables and source the highest and safest meat and dairy products allows us to give back to our community. With the use of freeze and cold storage technology, we’re able to provide local and tasty ingredients all year! The convenience of location and provided materials makes Mealspace the prime stop to come and create an outstanding meal with friends or meal prep for a student’s busy week. Every meal creation with us supports student health, the local food ecosystem, and economy.


    Step 1: Students visit the website and schedule a session.
    Step 2: Users arrive at designated cook stations and sign in.
    Step 3: Tablet app shows step-by-step instructions.

    High Fidelity Prototype

    Website

  • It allows users to reserve the station they wish to work at.
  • Pick out specific recipes to ensure the ingredients will be available when they get there.
  • It also allows users to invite others to the experience.

  • Tablet

    1. Password protected
    2. Shows the required materials and ingredients needed prior to cooking.
    3. Detailed instructions on how to prepare the recipe.
    4. Sends the recipe to you so you can cook it yourself later.

    Link to prototype


    Summary and Reflection

    Given that nutrition is a concern among students and evidence shows that weight gain is an issue, Mealspace provides an easy yet efficient way to cook nutritious meals with an opportunity to collaborate with fellow college students and learn about cooking. MealSpace offers a physical space for students to get together and share an enjoyable, healthy experience. With MealSpace, eating health is no longer a dread, but a social engagement to look forward to.