STUChef is an iOS concept app designed for students who are on a budget and need to find practical recipies for meals.
Many students are financially limited but often end up eating expensive meals out since they don’t have the time, the ingredients, nor the experience to cook meals regularly from themselves.
My solution was to build a recipes app, STUChef, for students that would only suggest recipes that could be made using the ingredients that they have on hand. Rather than choose the recipe first and then list the ingredients, the app would instead first ask for ingredients the user has and then only show recipes that could be made from those ingredients. The app would also show preparation and cooking times for each recipe so students would be able to fit them into their busy schedules.
I designed a number of iterations for each flow of STUChef and ran various usability studies. I studied what parts of the process users found the most difficult and improved each flow based on feedback.
The most important flow for STUChef is how students select the ingredients they currently have. This would need to be engaging and quick so that the task doesn’t feel tedious. I decided to present the ingredients visually using playful and colorful flat icons so that the app does not look intimidating. Although this decision limited the variety of foods I could include, I felt it was an important aspect of the app that made it feel more welcoming and easy to use.
Also, to reduce the amount of vertical scrolling needed, I categorized different types of food into separate menus that were easy to swipe horizontally.
I wanted to prototype a few of the interactions to see how they would feel on a real device. To start off simply, I prototyped how the ingredient selector would slide left and right between categories. Although this interaction wasn’t the most interesting, it allowed me to learn the basics of the prototyping tool Framer quickly. Click below to see it in action.
Designing STUChef was a great learning experience. I was able to study a specific group of users to understand their needs, conduct usability studies to better understand their interactions, and design an appropriate solution from my learnings.
Building a cohesive visual style and organizing the information hierarchy was challenging but was achievable through talking to various users and running usability studies. I’m proud of the final screens I was able to produce and feel that STUChef accomplished its goal to provide a way for students to find practical meal recipes.
Now if it was only a real app I could use it myself to find what to eat!