A food sharing application

case study headercase study header


Food waste has become a worldwide epidemic. Every year thousands of dollars of food are thrown away which could have been used for human consumption. Dignity Meals is a Chicago-based start-up looking for a solution and to help needy people in the community. For this project, I focused on the difference each person can make towards contributing to the problem of food waste. 

The issue of food waste in regular households was a explored and a solution created based on research findings. 

Dignity Meals is a mobile application which helps people donate excess food to people in the local community in need. The food which is collected from individual households would then be redistributed.


Artboard 2Artboard 2


The first step was to understand the issues surrounding food waste for households and attitude towards doing something else with the food. I set out to empathise with the pain points surrounding the issue and from there I would try to find a solution and test the solution with users.



A proto-persona was used to brainstorm what the user might be like. It was used it to begin empathising with the user straight away and to move beyond the term of 'user'. This would help me understand and ultimately solve their pain points. 




I set out with the goal to find out people's food wastage habits and attitudes towards throwing food away. Looking back on my first project, I really should have focused much more on the issue of food waste in the interviews. I think I allowed the conversation to roam too much towards donating, which while important, is a solution and not a problem. The remote users were selected randomly and the face-to-face users were interviewed and conversations recorded. In all cases, the participants fit the target user profile.


Artboard 3Artboard 3


I synthesised my findings from research on post-it notes and then created an empathy map. 


DesignLab - Empathy MapDesignLab - Empathy Map


Talking to real people enabled me to clarify the persona. Mapping out the pain points in a customer journey map helped me understand the pain points at each point of the journey when throwing away food. This enabled me to break down my solution and understand the requirements for my own dignity meals journey.


I highlighted the pain points I would consider throughout my ideation process:

Artboard 4Artboard 4


The ideation process began with creating as many ideas a possible, with pen and paper, regardless of their feasibility. 

As part of my design sprint, I used a method called ‘Crazy Eights’s’ for about two hours.

I considered the different ways of addressing the pain points and then created an affinity map to highlight and group the main things to help me choose a direction.

Here are some examples:



  • Ideation should have continued until one solution had been more refined.
  • Happy path should have been focused on during ideation for the purpose of the project


A ‘how might we’ exercise also helped me frame the problem which I would provide a solution to:

“How might we help people get rid of excess household food without taking up too much time?"

User stories were used to determine primary product features, and I decided I'd focus on the journey for a returning user.




Wireframes were created using pen and paper and then digitalised in Sketch, using the material design template for speed. I uploaded my wireframes to InVision using the Craft plugin. I also developed the idea of using gamification to motivate users to donate.

Early digital version for arranging a collection:


My early wireframes suffered because I had been developing two flows until midway through the process. Lots of testing and iterating would be required when they were digitalised.


Usability testing was conducted using an InVision prototype. The most valuable testing method was the observational research, as it allowed me to view how the product worked as a whole with the user in control. The other testing methods were useful to answer simple questions and confirm understanding.

Because the wireframes had not been developed enough on paper, I had to add a lot of screens and make many changes throughout the testing process.

The remote users were selected randomly and the observational tests were conducted and recorded using Quicktime. In all cases, the participants fit the target user profile.



Many changes were made following two rounds of usability testing. Here are two examples:

before and afterbefore and after


I began by creating a mood board on InVison. I wanted the product to both suit the target user and also reflect the nature of the product. Because I was using elements of gamification, I used a bright colour palette, hopefully inspiring people to donate.  Overall, I wanted to make it simple for the user to donate, and make the gamification elements prominent to encourage the user to donate more often.

Group 18Group 18

The higher fidelity prototypes were tested with two more users to watch their interaction with the product and iterated upon again.


magic mirrormagic mirror


Below are two example screens demonstrating how I tried to address the pain points with the design which was developed through iteration. 

example 1example 1
example 2example 2



final sdfinal sd


Overall I think my solution was a success.  

My research went fairly smoothly and I created a way for users to get rid of excess food without taking too much of their time.

I believe it also has a lot of room for development, particularly with gamification and user groups. Whilst I did highlight these as potential features I think they could be expanded on a lot more to encourage the users to donate more.


I learned a lot about the value of working with pen and paper. I jumped too quickly into digitalised wireframes, which take a lot longer to iterate and change. This wasted a lot of time. I should have developed more high-resolution wireframes on paper before creating them digitally. I also should have focused on one journey. I was still generating ideas for two potential journeys which wasted more time.

I also learned the value of iteration. The more I iterated my work the better the solution became for the user.

[unex_ce_button id="content_jlznc52fl,column_content_5znp63new" button_text_color="#00bcd4" button_font="semibold" button_font_size="15px" button_width="auto" button_alignment="center" button_text_spacing="2px" button_bg_color="#ffffff" button_padding="15px 60px 15px 60px" button_border_width="2px" button_border_color="#00bcd4" button_border_radius="30px" button_text_hover_color="#ffffff" button_text_spacing_hover="2px" button_bg_hover_color="#00bcd4" button_border_hover_color="#00bcd4" button_link="" button_link_type="url" button_link_target="_self" has_container="" in_column="1"]Back home[/ce_button]