Case Study: Vita, building towards better lives.

Meet the team

Overview

Below is our digital platform we have created for Vita over the course of 2 weeks. Vita is a Victorian government run company that is currently running in-person programs to help educate Australians about the prevention and recovery from Coronary Heart Disease.

To help Vita develop a bigger outreach with their current IRL program, we have been asked to scale the current program via an app or website.

Throughout our journey we followed the double-diamond process to build our app MVP, although were faced with a few obstacles whilst undertaking this project. We managed to reflect and improve upon the areas that needed attention almost instantly.

Here I present to you the digital MVP of Vita, designed to “Help take the difficulty out of processing (learning) how to eat healthy food, so they can easily cook and eat healthy meals.”

The Brief

Vita is a IRL program that has been created to help Australians change their habits, improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic disease, Coronary heart disease.

Areas we wanted to tackle:

  • We want to change habits
  • Reduce risk of chronic disease
  • Changing diets via web or native app MVP

Vita’s Business Goal: Scale the program to get as many people in the world doing this as possible. We want 100 million users by 2025.

Where it all began..

Contextual Research

We identified that there were 4 areas that needed to be explored, as a team we decided to divide these 4 topics amongst our team to investigate individually.

  • Australia health trends- Jasmine
  • Eating trends in australia- Kelvin
  • Behavioural science/Habit formation- Oscar
  • Plant-Based Diets- Eden

Jasmine discovered chronic disease and PPH (Potentially Preventable Hospitalisation) cost the health system $4.5 billion in 2015. The prevalence of chronic conditions is across almost all age groups, being the top 5 killers for ages 25–85.

So where do we start? As a group we knew that the business goal was clear, to expand Vita’s outreach. The question we asked ourselves- who is it we target first?

It was important we identified where we could make the most impact and we were able to do this through researching the current eating trends in Australia.
Kelvin was able to establish through his research that younger audiences are more receptive to change, the reason for this is because as the brain ages; physiological changes that contribute to neuroplasticity affects how well we learn and retain information.

The prime opportunity..

It became clear quickly that millennials were leading many of the trends associated with both food and technology. Their integration with technology, was relatively high wealth compared to previous generations, alongside access to social networks and vastly diverse world views combined with their relatively high neuroplasticity.

The opportunity for positive behavioural change was right in front of us.

Millennials are now the largest healthy eating consumer group in Australia at 32% of a $5.8 billion dollar industry, which was also responsible for 14% traffic share within food service in 2017.

“No longer does healthy eating revolve around low calories or low fat foods but instead clean eating and transparency around ingredients”

Through technology adoption, millennials easily became the largest healthy eating consumer group. Millennials are constantly searching for healthy food through apps like UberEats, FreshEats and so on. Using digital products have become second nature to them.

Due to the clear motivation of wanting to change their diets and comfortability with technology, millennials were our prime opportunity to capitalise on building towards our MVP.

The importance of habits

A study suggested that 45% of our daily tasks we undertake in a day are completely habitual, these formed habits start to become second nature and are extremely difficult for us to break them.

The behavioural science identifies that there’s 6 strategies that are best to motivate new habits.

Strategy 1: Ensure a stable, supportive environment (Essential)

Strategy 2: Leverage the context (Good to leverage if possible)

Strategy 3: Make it easy to do (Important)

Strategy 4: Develop cues and rewards (Important)

Strategy 5: Practice and repeat (Important)

Strategy 6: Build meaning and motivation (Good to have)

It’s important we consider these strategies because as a team we want to change current eating habits to be much healthier.

What is Healthy?

It’s good to identify and define what is a healthy diet, plant-based diets are known to be a great diet for people to follow for a few reasons.

“There is an extensive range of different plant-based diets, although the common factor shared amongst these diets is directly focusing on plant-based ingredients to be the main source of food consumption”

The health and sustainable benefits a plant-based diet can provide helps everyone reap the assistance of building towards better health and environment.

Discussion Guide

Because we were creating a digital solution, we decided to reach out to research participants through social media. We knew that targeting people who used a digital platform would make the most sense when trying to figure out who would be best to obtain information from.

The areas of interest really helped us define our research goals to explore.

  • Peoples diets
  • Relationships with food
  • The knowledge and understanding the relationship between health and food
  • Behavioural questions around habits
Discussion Guide we followed

We decided that we needed to:

  1. Include people who range wide in age (28–85).
  2. Include a broad range of diets.

User Interviews

The team was able to conduct 25 user interviews for this project, it was important that we selected participants that had a wide variety of ages and diets. Our reasoning for this was to collect a large amount of qualitative data that we could work with.

Interview Participants age & diet
  • 15 out of the 25 users we interviewed were aged between 25–35
  • 15 out of the 25 users we interviewed had a general diet

Survey

We also conducted online surveys using Google forms in order to gain quicker quantitative data to backup or challenge what we found in our interviews. We created a range of questions around their perception and knowledge of food and diet.

Age Groups

Overall, we had 151 responses from our survey. The majority of our respondents were either 25-younger (54/151) and 26–35 (48/151). The responses to our survey was proving our contextual research about millennials to be true.

Household Size

The majority of our respondents surveyed that their household size is consistent of 2 people (32.5%). This was important to recognise as they aren’t usually just cooking for themselves but actually another person too.

Knowledge about Plant-Based Diets

The biggest insight from our survey is finding out about the knowledge of our respondents on the topic of what is a plant-based diet. Out of our 151 participants, 36 (23.8%) of them felt quite confident that they understood what a plant-based is. Although only 15 (10%) could provide a correct definition, it was clear theres a big need to educate users on what a plant-based diet is.

Affinity Mapping- Breaking Down our Insights

Creating an affinity map that helped us group our findings into themes that we have been able to identify. Heres some interesting insights:

Information about Food is confusing

People were confused with the amount of information out there: The confusion our insights expressed about was what information can or cannot be trusted especially when it comes to food and health, with some diets saying one thing and other diets saying the complete opposite creates distrust for our user. Having to sift through the information requires both more time and effort, people become disgruntled and stay with what they know.

Confidence in the kitchen

People were confident in the kitchen: It was clear that people enjoyed cooking, it was a way to express creativity like an art form. It was good news to hear that people were confident with their cooking skills although weren’t confident as to what to eat.

Food & Social Importance

The social aspect of food and its importance: Food has high importance in regards to socialising, treating food as a way to connect and catch up with friends and family.

Health Supplements

Current health status: Some participants had reported the consumption of supplements and changing their diet due to iron deficiencies being developed. The reliance of supplements and health problems arising because of specific diets not being able to meet nutrient needs. Participants had also reported that they were resistant to changing their diet despite the fact their health is needing to improve due to fears of becoming a social pariah.

Personas

Synthesis

Now we had a clear understanding of the insights and the information that was in front of us, we were able to put together three personas (primary, secondary and tertiary) as our interview and survey participants came from a diverse and varied crowd.

Primary Persona, Riley

Our primary persona Riley, they are 25–35 years old and living in urban Australia with one roommate. They enjoy cooking and eating great tasting food, but due to their busy life, tend to eat what they know. They don’t know too much about health and find all the information out there very confusing. They would like to eat healthier but do not like the idea of vegans or vegetarians as they don’t want their diet to impact their social life.

Secondary Persona, Sam

Our secondary persona Sam, struggles to juggle work, family and activities although wants food that is convenient and tasty. They think their current way of eating is fine. They don’t know what a plant based diet is, but think it sounds expensive.

Tertiary Persona, Jordan

Our tertiary persona, Jordan, was a vegan for 3 years but has started to notice a decline in health from not having enough iron. They don’t like the idea of having to take supplements and are starting to change their diet to get more balanced nutrients from food.

Our most important and focused persona is of course our primary persona, Riley.

Riley is our best suited aspirant for Vita because

1) Is motivated to eat healthier although is overwhelmed with the different information out there

2) Is familiar with both food and technology, the heavy reliance of technology like food themed apps is already present in their day-to-day life.

Problem Statement 1.0

“Riley needs a convenient way to prepare healthy meals so that they can live a fuller life”

Our first problem statement was about time and convenience as there were plenty of insights discussing about being busy and having no time to cook a healthy meal.

We had a discussion with our primary stakeholder, we were told

“no one has f*cking time. I have 5 kids and 2 jobs and I still have time to eat vegetables”.

It was apparent we had to dig deeper than what we had already created, to find out the real driving force behind the issue.Although this was our first major obstacle we had faced in this project, we knew this had to be addressed straightaway.

Journey Maps

To help us identify the real driving force behind the issue, we created 2 journey maps for Riley. One being their regular diet and the second was a healthy diet, informed by responses of people who had changed to a healthier plant-based diet.

Comparison of Rileys current diet and someone who follows a plant-based diet

Comparing the two journey maps, we were able to spot the major driving force behind the problem.

The current diet we can see a low point before, during and after lunch due to hunger, expense and lack of energy. We see multiple snacks during the day, followed by a low point where they regret snacking or lose energy.

The healthier diet we can see significant improvement around lunch, with higher energy and less hunger due to a fuller diet. The only noticeable downturn was around dinner. This is due to the unfamiliarity with healthy recipes, resulting in confusion on what to purchase and frustration at lack of variety and taste.

The low points experienced by both journey maps whether it was between buying and cooking meals, it was the unfamiliarity that was the clear problem.

Problem Statement 2.0

“Riley needs to take the difficulty out of processing (learning) how to eat healthy so they can easily cook & eat healthy meals”

Reflecting back to our persona and the journey maps we had created, we were able to update our problem statement to be much more fitting. Focusing more around the unfamiliarity with healthy cooking and eating has proven to be much more relatable to Riley currently.

Ideation

Our first step to tackle our ideation phase was to create HMW statements, we did this by splitting the problem statement into 3 different angles.

Education: How might we educate about healthy eating

Enjoyment: How might we make eating healthy meals enjoyable to learn

Simplicity: How might we make learning simple instead of complicated

Crazy 8’s

Identifying our 3 different angles, we were able to conduct crazy 8’s to create a series of ideas that could be a possible solution/feature. Voting on the best features that should be included for our MVP.

UH OH…

My teammate Oscar addressed to us the next day that our solution isn’t meeting our personas problem.

Although this was hard to hear as the group had worked so hard throughout the first part of the ideation phase, he was right. He believed that we could create a better suited solution to our persona and problem statement, since our current solution wasn’t exactly hitting all the marks it should be.

We agreed as a group to go back over the research individually and converge together the following morning.

As we all gained a clearer understanding of what we should provide to Riley, we went back to discuss our previous ideas and voted again on what features should be in the MVP.

IMPACT VS EFFORT

Th effort vs impact chart was created to have a clearer understanding of the ideas that could be selected before applying to our solution.

Impact vs Effort Chart

The features that were chosen :

- Tinder style swipe carousel for easy selection and familiarity

- An iterative solution that used small building block to show a user they had the skills to cook a healthy meal

- Point system for gamification and thus better habit forming

- A system to add recipe ingredients to a cart

- Quiz system for education

- Progress tracker to visually show users their progress

Task and User Flows

After establishing the features we wanted to include, as a group were ready to create our user and task flow, establishing the steps the user would need to complete to navigate. It was exciting to see something slowly come together.

Task and User Flow

Paper Prototype

Prototyping

We decided we would individually sketch low-fidelity wireframes of how the app might be set-out, this area I found to be slightly complex as I knew this was one of the weak points within my skill set although I was excited to improve on my sketching skills.

My low-fidelity sketches

When coming together to present our ideas, it was clear our insights were similar and aligned. We selected Jasmine to be our sketch artist to produce the first paper prototype.

We created our paper prototype and linked it on the Marvel app.

Examples of our paper-protoype

It was time to finally test our paper prototype we had created, our usability testing was an unmoderated test that users needed to complete 2 tasks we had set. We had conducted 5 usability tests overall.

1. Purpose and Goal

a. “Users will be able to successfully pick and complete a recipe (without physical cooking), up to the success screen in under 5 minutes.”

b. “Users will be able to complete the task with 3 or less errors.” (Errors are incorrect clicks)

c. Team of 4 will be conducting the test individually.

2. Participants

a. We will be testing users that fit the persona created for this project.

b. Target users are 25–35 year olds who want to eat healthier and use mobile apps.

c. We will recruit them via social media and online resources and previous participants.

3. Tasks

  • Task 1 — “You are about to cook dinner and you have carrots in the fridge. Show me how you would find a recipe to cook”
  • Task 2 — “You want to cook dinner and don’t have anything in the fridge. Show me how you would find a recipe to cook”
Try out our Paper Prototype!

After completing our usability test ,this was the feed back we had received from our participants:

Our Feedback
  1. The lack of context e.g. text and picture prompts was confusing to understand what was going on.
  2. Unsure of our reward and in-app currency system, reading the points as how difficult the recipe was.
  3. Unlocking a new recipe after completing a recipe was confusing due to lack of context.

The high-volume of issues that come from the copy was something we knew that had to be reviewed in our next iteration.

Mid-Fidelity Prototype

It was time to iterate from our paper-prototype, using Figma and one long-night together as team we built the MVP.

Let me walk you through it..

Search/Cuisine and 5 card carousel screens

We’ve implemented both a search function that allows the user to search any ingredient that they may currently have at home and/or uber-eats style cuisine layout to find a recipe to cook for dinner.

The user will be presented with a 5 different recipe card swipe carousel. The reasoning behind this is to help the user make effortless decisions and to avoid an overwhelming amount of options.

Quiz and extra points screens

We’ve implemented a short quiz to educate users about healthy eating in an engaging way after the user picks the recipe they’d like to cook, extra points are awarded as an incentive to answer correctly.

Point system and Progress tracker screens

We created a points system as it was in line with the behavioural science recommendations. The importance of implementing a points system

  1. Illustrates which recipes were healthier and a better choice
  2. Providing a reward for their behaviour, encourages repetition and habit formation through a more engaging and enjoyable way.

The points allow the user to track their personal progress over time. The speciality about these points is that they can be used to acquire real life prizes over time, in which we propose at healthy plant-based restaurants and cafes. The relevance is that we identified food as a social connector, encouraging healthy eating with their social circle whilst decreasing the current social stigma around plant-based foods.

Gamification screens

Create your own high-score..

Our solution has been built around gamification, whilst also showing users that they are building skills.

As the user becomes more confident in cooking healthy meals, we create a more sustainable solution. The importance of gamification is the allowance of easy engagement, continued learning and repetition but the sustainable solution is the focus of confidence.

The app constantly reminds the users that they have the skills to cook healthy meals through unlocked recipes, we slowly give them the confidence they currently lack.The more familiar the user becomes with plant-based recipes, they will stop requiring our app as these recipes become second nature.

Our next steps..

We have split our next steps into phases,

Phase 1: Our immediate next step would be to test our mid-fidelity prototype with more users to see how they react and understand the app with more context included. From here we can start populating the app with real recipes from the IRL program and the Vichealth database.

Phase 2:

”‘Failure to use the new product was rarely due to disliking a product or finding it did not work properly; they simply forgot to use the products, and automatically continued or reverted to existing habits.”

For this reason we believe that there should be a further development and focus around the formation of our users habits around Vita. Developing a scheduled notification for users to organise and eat dinner at a consistent time each day, the consistency and repetition will help solidify their eating habits.

Phase 3: Negotiations with third parties such as supermarket chains to integrate convenience features e.g. add to cart and purchasing from the ingredients screen. Entering negotiations with healthy plant-based cafes and independent healthy retailers, in order to give our users a reward to spend their in-app currency on.

Phase 4: Introducing a social aspect into the service, similar to apps like Strava, users are able to see the progress their friends and family made. This mirrors the huge social aspect that food plays in our lives and introduces social support and accountability, something that research participants reported helped them form good habits.This will be the last stage to boost users and scale the service, but can only happen once we have enough traction as development and maintenance will be costly.

Key Takeaways

This project itself was no easy feat.

My team and I really executed open communication when it came to sharing ideas and feedback amongst each other.

When encountering problems throughout the process, the willingness from us all to have honest conversations about revising our work to see what can be improved despite the deadline closing upon us really helped my team produce a solution we are all very proud of.

Thank you!

Get in touch! edentaylor.co

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