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Hire a Chef

Mobile App Case Study, 2021

Project Overview

The Problem

With the current pandemic and health concerns, more people are leaning towards having small gatherings for special occasions, rather than going out and celebrate. However there is no platform to search and book chefs around you

The Goal

Design an app that allows users to search, find, communicate and book private chefs for special events for a selected period of time.

The Product

US Chef's Association the culinary leader in offering resources to all current and future chefs and their clients. The typical user is between 25 - 50 years old, and most users are young professionals. Hire a Chef's goal is to make hiring a chef easy, fast, and fun for all types of users.

My Role

UX designer leading the Hire a Chef's mobile app design

Project Duration

11.1.2021 - 11.18.2021

Responsibilities

Conducting interviews, paper and digital wireframing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting usability studies, accounting for accessibility, iterating on designs and responsive design

User Research Summary

After conducting unmoderated interviews and creating empathy maps, a primary user group identified, working upper middle class, high class adults who doesn’t have time to prepare & cook artisan food.

 

The user group confirmed the initial assumptions. There were also 2 additional takeaways at the end of the research.

1. Users would like to hire a chef periodically (such as weekly / monthly / family birthdays etc)

2. Another challenge for the users was lack of knowledge on diverse set of cuisines

Persona & Problem Statement

Arthur is a broker working in Wall Street. His wife and Arthur love having friends over and they throw bunch of fundraisers in a year.

They are so busy with work and don’t have time to find a good chef

Persona and Problem Statement for Hire a Chef app

User Pain Points

Screen Shot 2022-01-30 at 12.42.17 PM.png

User journey map

I created a user journey map of Arthur's experience using the site to help identify possible pain points and improvement opportunities. 

User Journey Map for Hire a Chef

Starting the Design

Paper Wireframes

During the first paper wireframe iteration, I followed the Crazy 8s design exercise at first and then I sketched out paper wireframes for the main screens. Keeping the user pain points in mind, I added the Search component and Location feature for the Home Screen. For the Chef’s profile, I prioritized the price and ease of booking with a button.

Wireframe examples

Digital Wireframes

Moving from paper to digital wireframes made it easy to understand how the redesign could help address user pain points and improve the user experience. I made sure to implement user research feedbacks. Searching by more than one parameter was a key part of my strategy.

Digital Wireframe Examples
More Digital Wireframe Examples

Usability Study Findings

I conducted 2 rounds of usability studies with the low fidelity-prototype that I created.. Findings from the first round helped turning wireframes to mockups. The second study used a high fidelity prototype and revealed what aspects of mockups needed refining. 

Round 1 Findings:

  1. Users want to play with date / time easily

  2. Would be nice to pick a chef first rather than going thru every chef to see the calendar

Round 2 Findings:

  1. The checkout process is a little confusing, how do they pay

  2. Red banners on the Homepage feels “alerty”

  3. Users want to see example plate presentation photos

Refining the Design

Mockups

Early designs allowed some customizations on the flow.
I changed the date / time picker location and flow so users could select the time before selecting a user, and see ALL the chefs available on that specific date

Refined Digital Wireframe Examples

The second usability study revealed the need of menu / presentation photos.
I added photos with details on the Chef’s Page.
I also added a text button to edit time

Additional Refined Digital Wireframe Examples

Accessibility Considerations

1. Provided alt text images for screen readers for vision impaired users 

2. Used generic icons to help navigation easier

3. Used accessible colors based on WebAIM’s standards

4. Also kept the landing page animation less than 3 seconds to be accessible

Refined Mockups

Final Digital Wireframe Examples

High-Fidelity Prototype

The final high-fi prototype presented cleaner user flows for searching and booking a chef in an area. It also met user need to see previous food presentations.

View the Hire a Chef high-fidelity prototype
 

Prototype Structure Screenshot

Moving Forward

Takeaways

Impact

The app helps users to see bookable chefs around them. It fills a huge gap in the market.

One quote from peer feedback:

The app made it so easy to see available chefs on a map around me. I will definitely use this for my daugher's upcoming birthday party!

What I learned

During the design princess of Hire a Chef app I learnt that the first design ideas are just the beginning. Iterations make it complete.

 

I also learnt the importance of the usability studies. Designers and design teams might have tunnel vision at some point, so having different perspectives are crucial.

Next Steps

1. Conduct another round of usability studies to validate the pain points were addressed.

2. Conduct another research to see if there are any other new pain points OR if the app needs any improvements

3. There is a phase 2 in this project - Adding a built-in “Pay” feature.

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