The project aimed to apply Design Thinking methods and tools to solve the problem related to domestic food waste management. Amazon Smart Grocery Plan is a smart tool for reducing your domestic food waste. It is an add-on service for Amazon Prime users that shop at Whole Foods and pay through Amazon Pay.
1 UX Researcher -
1 UX Designer -
1 Product Manager
Mural, Premier Pro
Clear Expiration Date
The system will give the user access to the expiration
date and it will automatically delete expired items
The service will provide the users with useful reminders on purchased food across time
The system keeps track of your grocery shopping
expenditure and notify the users with monthly reports
The app-based on your smart grocery list will match single food items and suggest a recipe
Rising domestic food waste
The study, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, found that the average U.S. household wasted 31.9% of its food. The total annual cost of the wasted food was estimated to be $240 billion or $1,866 per household. The data came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) and included 4,000 households.
Help people remember the food they have brought before it should be thrown away
Research showed it's easy to lose track of food once you buy. The food gets divided into pantries and fridges and is easily lost. People forget the food they have bought and is eventually thrown away.
Amazon Smart Grocery plan is an add-on service to the Amazon Prime Now app which will help prime users to reduce their domestic food waste
My design process to solve the problem
We worked in a team of three for this class project. The idea was to learn design thinking methods to solve the problem. All three of us wore multiple hats while solving the problem. Focusing on product strategy and user experience design, I performed the following tasks -
Part of in-depth interviews to understand their grocery shopping
Synthesized research to derive key insights
Led ideation session to turn pain points into design opportunity to solve the problem
Conducted workshop for user testing
We used key facts as a tool to find out more data regarding waste management, we discovered that food and cardboard waste are the ones that generate the most waste according to EPA (Environment Protection Agency, 2016). Domestic food waste is thrown away the most, thus food waste shows opportunity.
We interviewed people to learn about their grocery shopping experience
After finding interesting opportunities during secondary research. I and the user researcher decided to run an online survey and some in-depth interviews to understand the user's pain points before, during, and after the grocery shopping process. To help us further investigate food waste and habits we first create an online survey.
In order to gather quantitative data, the user researcher created a survey that was of local grocery shoppers in Savannah. These results pointed me towards the basic direction of the problem.
Of surveyed people goes to the supermarket to buy
Of surveyed people buy fresh and frozen food the most
Of surveyed people throw away the fresh food often
Of surveyed people sometimes are confused by labels
Once I had a general idea about the pain points from the survey, we wanted to gather deeper insight into the problem. As a follow-up to the in-depth interviews, the user researcher did ethnography research in the users’ space, in this case at home. The interviews were useful to have a point of view of the users in their own place.
“ I wish I waste
“Most of the time I don’t
know what I have at home”
“ Expiration date (…) Cannot
really see them sometimes ”
“(…) not use enough of
the food that we bought”
“(…) I forgot is in
“We feel that we waste $100 a
month in food waste”
Synthesizing the research
I used affinity mapping to synthesize the research. Affinity mapping led me to sort data points into insights and allows us to look for the problems that need to be addressed in order to solve the problem. As a conclusion, we narrowed down to these seven insights where the biggest issues ended up being Awareness - People tend to forget what food they have, Visibility - Sometimes food gets lost in the fridge or cabinets, Shopping Habits - People tend to buy more than its needed.
People sometimes are forced to buy more than what they need
People find nutrition
People tend to forget what they have in their fridge and cabinets and throw away a lot of food
People struggle in finding the location and readability
of expiration labels
Meet Clark & Carol
Analyzing the potential user of our problem would be the next step. I decided to have two types of personas: a family and a singular individual.
User research revealed 2 main pain points
After defining the personas, I developed two customer journeys. The first one, where the personas are not using our service/solution, and the second one, where the personas start using our service/solution.
The second one, where the personas start using our service/solution showed 2 main points. These pain points were during the shopping experience in the supermarket and during unpacking after the shopping.
Turn pain points into design opportunities
I brainstormed 4 ideas for each insight. For each idea, I set a time of one minute. The rule is that drawing has to be the main communicator. The tools are known are Crazy 8's. After ideation, I went back and cluster similar ideas. After identifying the problem statement, I started ideate possible solutions. I drew each solution on one piece of paper.
Design opportunities takeaway -
The solution that came out from the ideation of the session could be categorized into 3 main categories: a solution connected with a smart grocery list, smart packaging, and smart stickers applicable directly to food.
Taking design decisions using the matrix
To decide which solution was the most feasible in terms of technology, usability, and value I analyzed each solution with the help of a diagram. I gave a score and then I combined them. I decided the diagram into 3 main categories: tech, how is the technology level, value, what is the value-added and usability, how a user friendly would be the service/product. After analyzing the diagrams I discussed them with the team and compared them to find opportunities for our final solution. The smart grocery list at this time was the one that showed more opportunities to succeed. In particular, if linked with amazon services. In addition, in this way, we will be able to cover the before, the during, and the after of the user experience.
I used sketches to visualize how our finals service/solution will look and work. I worked on the main features for the add-on service. The main features of the solution link back to the insights that we collected during interviews and an online survey which revealed that customers need Awareness, visibility, and consciousness for grocery shopping.
Designing features for smart grocery plan
Awareness. Visibility. Consciousness.
"(...) I forgot is in there"
"don't' know what I have at home"
"(...) I wish I waste the less"
"Be more mindful of what we have"
"We feel that we waste $100 a month in food waste"
Mapping interactions across all services
After having a clear direction on our solution, I also developed a service map to visualize the relationships between different service components in the Amazon ecosystem and the value we add - people, props (physical or digital evidence), and processes that are directly tied to touchpoints in this customer journey.
Amazon Smart Grocery Plan is an add-on service for families and individuals who shop at Whole Food. It is an opportunity to learn mindful shopping, get to know what users have at home through intelligent reminders which will support personal and social change towards a reduction of domestic food waste.
Food place market
Data/info on food
Whole foods system
Conceptualizing feature into wireframes
After defining the service map value proposition, I started with the paper prototypes and low-fi- wireframes based on user stories. I added features like smart reminders, bills, and weekly reports that the team finalized during conceptualization.
Onboarding to give a brief idea of key features of the app. The smart grocery list will preload data from your previous shopping. The exact numbers will help users shop mindfully. Paying through amazon pay will generate an interactive digital bills in the application where users can place reminders once they unpack groceries at home.
During shopping in the supermarket /
Use smart grocery list
After the shopping experience, users can set smart reminders once they are home. Smart reminders will help users not forget what they have at home and can eat their fresh food before it goes bad.
After shopping in the supermarket /
Set smart reminders
Facilitating workshop to test the solution
To test the solution before designing hi-fi mockups, I organized a workshop with 10 people to test the solution. The workshop was divided into two main phases: the first part was dedicated to simulating the grocery shopping experience as-is; the second part I tested the same experience but this time with the solution. I shared the paper prototype and low-fi prototype with the participants to explain to them how the final solution will work.
Before starting the experience I briefed each participant on what the experience was about. Then the experience started by going to look inside the fridge. They had 10 seconds to look inside. After this, they had to grab a shopping bag and a credit card and go shopping. At the supermarket, participants had to shop based on what they have seen inside the fridge. Once they have done shopping, the participant had to pay by sliding their card.
“ I don't remember
what I have in the fridge”
“Sometimes I throw more
than half of my food”
“(…) I pick up things
that I don’t really need"
“(…) the visibility where I place
fresh food is limited (…) I don’t
see it so I don’t use it””
“(…) I tend to push the
“(…) I usually forget
In the second experience, I introduced the solution. The participant had to go straight to the supermarket because the app already provided them with the food info inside the fridge. After shopping and paying through the app we introduced to them the reminder function and how it would work.
“(…) I would like to know what's left and what can I cook, like recipe”
“(…) Having reminders and not looking inside the fridge often is a good thing”
“(…) Participants liked the solution in terms of features and as an add on service to amazon prime”
“(…) The solution could be implemented with personalized recipes”
AS - IS
Structuring information for easy navigation
After the concept workshop, I analyzed feedback refined IA and designed the user flow. I added the smart grocery plan as an add-on service to the Amazon Prime Now app.
Adding service to Amazon Prime Now app
After the user testing and IA refinement, the next steps were to refine the UX and UI based on the feedback. Using the Amazon Prime Now visual style guides, I created high-fidelity wireframes and prototypes. I added the add-on feature to the Amazon Prime Now app.
Need of top tab menu that will allow the user to tab between different categories
Expiration date listed next to the item itself will help the user have clear idea of expiry. Smart reminders will notify user if item is expiring soon.
Button design for setting up smart reminders. Just the button without text wasn't intuitive enough for users to know it's a reminder button.
As a user, I should be able to open the Amazon Prime Now app, learn, and navigate through the add-on Amazon Smart Grocery Plan feature in the app.
As a user, I should be able to set smart reminders for my produce and perishable food items, I should not be able to set reminders if the item is expired.
As a user, I should be able to see smart recipes if I have single items left in my pantry. I should also be able to open monthly reports to check my bills.
As a user, I should receive scheduled smart reminders to eat my fresh food and notifications if any of my food items is expired or will be soon expiring.
What I learned
Always Validate Assumptions: We initiated the project with a certain hypothesis about why people throw away food and I am so relieved that I did primary research because the real problems were different. The solution people appreciated the most was not the solution we had expected to be popular.
You can't please everyone: I had some users who felt the solution was great and wished it was real. I also had a set of users who felt that the solution was "limited" and not effective to everyone but I feel it's ok as long as the solution helps solve the problem for our defined target users. The project can be further worked on to expand the services that may help others.
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