Graduate Student Group Project 


Foundation of Human-Centered Design


Fall Semester 2019

Over the course of the fall 2019 semester, our class broke into groups to answer a question of our choosing through human-centered design. My group chose to research the question “How can we increase the amount of home-cooked food young adults eat?” 

Research Phase

Contextual Inquiry

To begin the project, we performed a contextual inquiry of those in our target age group. We met with those in their 20’s in their homes. Team members would walk through a typical cooking routine with subjects and asked open-ended questions about their thought process both in and out of the kitchen. In total, seven subjects were interviewed using contextual inquiry.

Affinity Diagram 

Observations from the Contextual Inquiries were recorded and categorized into 15 groups for an affinity diagram. 

  • Baking

  • Budget

  • Diet

  • Eating out

  • Fear

  • Feelings

  • Groceries

  • Inspiration

  • Making food last

  • Meal prep

  • Mess

  • Technique

  • Time

  • Tired

  • When

The Physical Affinity Diagram 

Persona/ Scenarios

To refine and personalize our observations, 3 personas and scenarios were created based on the affinity diagram. Those personas were “Always on the Go” Alexander, “Health Conscious” Henry, and “Mindful Eater” Maria. Each persona had an accompanying scenario to showcase the various struggles with cooking each faced. Two scenarios were narrative and one storyboarded.

Henry Persona
Henry Scenario
Design Phase

Idea Generation

Various methods were used to brainstorm possible solutions to our problem. These included insight statements, “How Might We?” questions and the 10 plus 10 method. Dozens of ideas were generated but ultimately the team decided on a mobile app that would facilitate group meal preparation called “Preppy”.  

The prototype was created in Adobe XD, allowing for real time group collaboration and testing. Features included profile setup, creating/joining a group, in-app messaging, etc.. Visuals were kept minimal to prioritize recognizing and solving usability issues with the limited timeframe given. 


In order to test the usability of the app, users were prompted to complete several tasks using the app and were rated on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 being complete success, 4 being complete failure). After the task walkthrough, users completed a System Usability Scale (SUS) survey in order to understand how users themselves viewed the usability of the app. The application went through two major iteration cycle from this testing process. 

Preppy Ingredients Page