MAMA NOM is a conceptual app that connects users to locals who wish to sell their food. Like an etsy for healthy, homemade food, it was the result of a six week long mock project aimed at creating a digital product that would help people adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This mock project gave us the space to apply what we learned about UX and UI.
1. Despite a broad prompt and even a personal bias towards health and fitness, we used interviews and surveys to clearly determine who our users were and understand their view of health.
2. We used personae, customer journey maps, and user stories to empathize with users and figure out where we had an opportunity for our product to interact and help them.
3. We created divergent concepts and tested them using paper and Axure prototypes to determine which concept would help our targeted users the best.
4. Without an initial branding direction, we used style tiles and created initial mockups to determine our branding and look and feel of the app.

And now in a little more detail...
1. So who are we designing for?
At the beginning of this project, we received the prompt to create a digital product that would help users adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But a healthy lifestyle can mean anything to anyone. We needed a place to start. So, we interviewed ten different people about their health habits and their views on what a healthy lifestyle is. Some were much more engaged in a healthy lifestyle. They would go to the gym almost every day and meticulously manage their diet. On the other hand, we had people who just did a few sit ups at home and tried to eat a salad here and there.
Most people (including the trainers) replied that simply "eating right" and "staying active" was living a healthy lifestyle.
After synthesizing our information, we split these people up into a three groups based on how driven they were. The most and least driven people were very stuck in their current lifestyles, and it didn't seem like they'd be changing their habits anytime soon. We realized that we had to engage the middle group; people who had a desire to be healthy, but had trouble committing to a healthy lifestyle.
For this group of people, they reported that their healthy streak would usually be broken because they either were out eating with friends, or just had to grab a bite to eat amidst a hectic schedule.
You can see some of our synthesis to the left of our scrum board. The decorations on top were done by yours truly.
But, we left something out. One of our interviewees mentioned that "Health is 80% diet and 20% fitness." Because I spent years doing sports and dance, I was personally pushing the team to focus in on data related to fitness and exercise. I overlooked the importance of diet and healthy eating.
In response to this, we created a survey to fill in some of the gaps in our information, and help give us a direction. We had 94 people respond.
One of the most important points we found was that, when forced to make a choice, the majority of respondents felt that nutrition and diet was more important than fitness. 
This additional data helped re-direct us. Before, our perspective of a healthy lifestyle was skewed towards fitness. But once we saw that users felt that diet was more important, we were able to change directions. With this, we knew we had to create something that was going to address issues users have with diet and nutrition.
2. what were the issues users had with diet and nutrition?
From the survey, we saw that:
1. Users are busy.
2. The cost of healthy food is high.
3. It's hard to get their hands on healthy food.
With these main frustrations in mind, and the results of our research, we created a persona.
Dan was our family man. His problems mainly revolved around busy and changing schedules.
We had created more personae, but decided to focus on Dan. We felt that he best captured who our intended users were. Dan represents people in that second group: those who have a desire to be healthy, but are hindered by their circumstances.
After creating these, we were able to come up with a problem statement to focus in on the problem we wanted to solve for:
The user needs quick access to cost-effective healthy food in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but is inconvenienced by a lack of time and options.
We then created a customer journey map for Dan to locate where our product could help.
Seeing what our users' goals, frustrations, and pain points are gave us the context we needed to begin to build a product. We knew that our users needed a convenient way to get healthy food; now we needed a solution to that.
3. Diverging for Solutions
It was at this point in the project where we diverged and came up with four different solutions:
1. Ferdinand - My solution. I had focused on our first persona and wanted to find a way to make social eating less detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. In a best-case scenario, Ferdinand would take your current restaurant location, get the menu, and recommend the healthiest option based on user-set preferences and goals. It would keep a log, and recommend dishes to keep you from deviating from a healthy diet.
2. Nom Box - Nom Box supplies the user with an an array of healthy snacks to encourage smaller portions and more frequent intervals. It promotes diet diversity by rewarding more randomized choices within the boxes.
3. Nom-Me - Nom-Me provides feasible and cost-effective grocery shopping tailored to the users' diet. The option to pick up groceries from participating stories is also available. In addition to this main feature, the app would also have articles and information to educate users on healthy habits.
4. MAMA NOM - This app connects trained and certified home cooks with buyers of healthy taste, then delivers your orders to your chosen location.
We then tested five different users. However, our results were mixed.
MAMA NOM and Ferdinand were named as favorites. However, Nom-Me was always a runner up, and "would be very helpful."
It was unclear which solution we should've gone with. Looking bad, another round of testing would have helped. In addition to that, a more granular solution might have gone a longer way. 
However, we had to move forward. Despite the mixed results, we felt that MAMA NOM had the most potential, and we moved forward to develop the concept.
4. But what should it look and feel like?
I designed my first style to feel organic and like a storybook or rustic food magazine. I wanted to design a style that would welcome users, and frame the home-y-ness that comes with home cooking.
I designed my second style tile to be more chic. I wanted this style tile to be more sleek and clean than the previous style. Whereas the first one was more rustic, I envisioned an urban feel for the second one.
With both of these styles, I wanted to give a lot of real estate to both the dish and the cook. It was my desire to highlight not only the dishes people would receive, but also the people cooking them.
It felt like MAMA NOM had an opportunity to build a community, and moving not just the food, but the people to the front could help develop that.
Moving forward to initial screens, I chose to apply my urban style in order for the team to have a diverse set of styles.
But, in deciding a final visual style, we took a step back to look at MAMA NOM as a whole.
The styles we had designed were overall very flashy and exciting. But, we realized that we needed give more space to both the dishes and the cooks. For a food app, we needed to develop a trust between the cook and the user, as well as frame the food as effectively as possible. 
At the time Instagram redesigned their UI to be very monochromatic, and we appreciated this change. It allowed the pictures to speak for themselves, and made the UI less obtrusive. Its new monochromatic UI was a much more effective way to frame its user-generated content.
So, in order to better frame both the cook and the dishes, we redesigned our UI to take a backseat, and frame MAMA NOM's content better. As a team, we decided to use large CTAs and green color accents, but kept the rest of the UI mostly monochromatic, to frame the content better.
With green accents, we were able to keep a friendly, organic feel. By keeping the rest of the UI minimal, we were able to effectively keep the focus on the content. Using large CTAs and images kept MAMA NOM useable, and not just a pretty app to look at.
5. At the end of this project...
I felt a huge sense of relief. This was the first time putting my UX and UI skills to use, and there were many moments where, as a team, we had to choose the most educated decision we could, and move forward. I know I have grown as a designer since this project, but I look back at this with fond memories.
At a high-level, if I were to do this project again, I would truly make sure to have solid evedience before moving forward with a design decision. Both UX and UI need to be based on research, and how users experience the product. Of course now that I have grown my skills I can work under a shorter timeline to deliver better quality work, but I feel like slow and steady would win the race in much calmer fashion. Taking the time to be sure of where we're coming from, and where we're going, goes a long way in effectively developing a product.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience working on this mock project. Although these are just some of the key moments from the project, I would love to share more about my work, so please don't hesitate to contact me.
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