DURATION : 3 months ROLE : Research, user research, user testing, TEAM : Maxime Nicolas, Nishit Kanani,
prototyping, project management Ruchita Khinvasara & me
Nymble is an Indian start-up company that wants a different world for cooking, a world where everyone can cook healthy and balanced meals using technology. They have found that some people want to eat/cook at home and want to try new recipes but because of a lack of confidence they find themselves making the same recipes they have learned in the past. It is from this observation that Nymble came to us with this brief:
This project took place during the confinement, so we had to develop tools and be creative in order to be able to keep a group cohesion and collect user feedback.
• Push to cook new recipes
• Improve confidence in cooking
• Facilitate the cooking process
• Allow to be more relaxed while cooking
• Create a new product using the
technologies available to Nymble
• Use artificial intelligence
• Get inspired by smart cooking
• Adapt to the users' needs
Americans who :
• Don’t have time
• Don’t have culinary confidence
• Don’t have the tools and skill set
• Want to cook but don’t know how.
To understand our topic we looked into existing food processors, existing technologies and culinary trends in the USA.
We couldn't find enough information about how Americans cook, what motivates them and how they use food processors, so we launched a survey that allowed us to determine our users target : workers and families.
Indeed, it turned out that they :
• Have to cook for others which can add pressure: they must not miss the dish.
• Like to cook but don't have time for it because of their work.
• Prefers to cook to eat healthier and less expensively
• Would like to try new recipes but often find themselves cooking the same ones.
We then decided to film ourselves cooking and asked our users to do the same so that we could observe the problems we encounter that we no longer pay attention to.
We interviewed 6 americans of different ages and social backgrounds in order to understand their lifestyle, their cooking routine, the difficulties they encounter and what they are reluctant to try new recipes. We also took the opportunity to understand what they were looking for when they bought a food processor.
Several pain points came to light:
• They're lost with all the steps and the multitasking
• Cooking takes up a lot of their time: thinking about what they're going to cook, shopping, cooking...
• They have difficulty finding new recipes
• They find it difficult to deal with everyone's tastes and try new recipes at the same time.
• They are afraid of missing their dish
• They don't always have the right utensils or skills to cook well.
We tried different cooking methods in order to understand what it will be possible to do or not do with our future food processor but also the difficulties we may encounter when we discover a new method: we were able to experience what it feels like to fail.
We have decided to focus on organisation: the more organised they are, the less overloaded they will feel and the more self-confident they will be to try out new recipes. With good organisation they will be sure not to miss the dish.
Our solution should enable them to :
• Save time
• Easily find new recipes
With the distance, it was difficult for us to really move forward on our own, so we decided to do creative sessions in visio-conference. After having created according to our goals, we boosted our creativity with the help of games that we timed: having a short time allowed us not to get stuck: in the rush we had to write down everything that came into our minds.
We then merged and iterated several ideas that we found interesting until we had only 3 concepts that met Nymble's and the users' criteria.
At this point, Nymble gave us new criteria in order to sort out a first selection of our ideas:
• Use existing proprietary technologies
• Use of sensory input
• Collect cooking data
• Need not be mechanical
We then made simple explanation drawings so that we could present them to the users. Our aim was to find out what attracted/rejected them and which of these 3 concepts would :
• Save them the most time
• Make them try new recipes
• Improve their cooking skills
• They be more likely to buy
We then combined this user feedback, the feedback from Nymble and our own expertise to choose our concept, Mae.
From the very beginning we knew that our product had to :
• Adapt to any frying pan: users do not use their robot much because it is often too big or too small in relation to the quantities they want to cook.
• Keep an eye on the cooking
• Mix : users often miss their dish because it burns while they are taking care of the next step.
First of all we made a list of the functions that the product and the application could have, we made a first selection in relation to our goals. We then created sessions with face-to-face and remote users: we asked them to choose 5 functions they found essential and 5 they considered unnecessary for the product and the application. In this way we were able to gather their opinions on the features, but also to find out what they found most appealing and which ones should not attract our attention. Then we discussed the feedback together and made the final selection.
At the same time, each one of us cook to see how our way of stirring changes according to the ingredients, the consistency...
From there we separated the tasks and I focused on the application.
I then tested the prototype with the users, modified it according to their feedback and repeated the operation until there were no more problems.
I had to :
• Change some icons
• Made everything bigger
• Change some animations
• Reduce step to reach an information
Finally, once the product and the application had been developed, we needed user feedback, but as we couldn't have the functional prototype because we didn't master the technology, I asked myself the question: how can I get relevant feedback without having the product?
I then decided to be the product, I will tell them when the ingredients are cooked (heat map), when to go to the next step (beep) and I will stir for them (product) while they follow the steps of the recipe through the app.
It worked well and we were able to get these returns:
• The step-by-step recipe makes cooking easier
• They try recipes they would never have imagined.
• They save time
• Cooking is easier and therefore more pleasant
• They no longer feel overwhelmed
• They are more confident about testing new recipes
• Contrary to what they thought, while cooking they realised that they were moving around a lot and that the screen on their phone was sufficient.
• They sometimes forget to click on the button to go to the next step.
• They forget to turn off the hob
• The product can be annoying to pour into the pan.
The health situation made teamwork and user testing more complicated, but it allowed us to develop and discover a new way to work and new tools . This project taught me a lot about team management and the importance of always keeping our goal in mind so that we always know why we make a particular decision.
I would very much have liked to be able to go as far as the complete development of the product in order to test it in real conditions with American users.