Secondary research, comparative analysis, information architecture, wireframing, visual design, prototyping, moderated usability testing
Through informal desk research and learnings from my personal experience, I identified 2 core challenges with completing the diet.
1. Dieters struggle with journaling consistently.
Logging every meal and symptom is crucial to helping dieters understand what affects their body. This is, however, a repetitive and manual task. Many people struggle to be consistent with their logs and end up with inaccurate results.
2. Dieters struggle with not knowing what to eat.
Often times, dieters choose to eliminate foods that they would eat on a regular basis. As a result, without adequate planning, they suddenly feel that there is nothing they can eat. This leads to many people eating insufficient meals or even breaking their diet and eating restricted foods.
Goals and Solutions
Digital journaling tool, with shortcuts for adding foods, symptoms and medications.
Notification reminders to log entries.
Motivation through tracking.
Recipe book, tailored to each dieter’s food restrictions.
Meal planning tool, with an automated grocery shopping list.
After developing my solutions, I conducted market research to see how other products were tackling the Elimination Diet, gut-health, digital journaling and meal planning.
I found that while there was no existing app for the Elimination Diet, there were many apps for gut-health, food journaling and meal planning. Those apps, however, exclusively focused on either journaling or meal planning; I wasn't able to find a product that provided both.
Through my research, I was also able to gather inspiration on how to build the journaling flow.
Eliminate consists of four main features: a digital journaling space, a meal planning space, a recipe book and a progress tracker. The benefit of having these features within one app is that they can feed into each other, with meal-planned meals being added to a user's journal with just one click.
Through moderated usability sessions, I found some common issues with my initial designs.
Users begin by creating a profile through a short onboarding sequence, sharing information about their symptoms, existing dietary restrictions, foods to be eliminated and overall goals. This information guides recipe suggestions and is saved in the user’s progress tracker.
With Eliminate, dieters can log meals, symptoms and medications digitally. Meal-planned meals and previous entries can be added to their journal in one-click. This aims to help dieters easily manage daily journaling.
Eliminate encourages dieters to journal at least twice a day in order to maintain a streak. Users can opt-in to receive notification reminders to help them stay on top of planning meals and logging entries.
Dieters can track the severity of their symptoms as they eliminate and reintroduce foods.
Eliminate's recipe book provides meals that are pre-filtered based on each dieter's restrictions. This will help shift the focus towards what they can eat instead of on what they cannot eat.
Dieters are encouraged to create a meal plan using the app's recipes or by creating custom meals. These planned meals can be added to their journal in one-click.
Moving forward, I would like to take a step back and re-evaluate my solutions. Though I discovered the core challenges through secondary research, I feel that I could have taken my research further to understand how Eliminate's users would structure the app using their own mental models. Using research methods like card sorting could help to focus the product.
I would also like to build out the onboarding process. I understand an issue with this product is the learning curve that comes with using all the features for the first time. An in-depth onboarding process, with a tutorial or tooltips, could make the experience more pleasant.
If you're interested in collaborating on this project or have feedback, don't hesitate to reach out!