Miami University's Entrepreneurship Department has been rated top 10 in the nation consistently for the past few years. One of their flagship classes is ESP 201: Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Models. The class goes over all sorts of topics related to building a company from the ground up, and to really immerse us in material the students have to team up and build a startup. This has been the second semester-long project I have worked on for a business class, and this particular experience was by far the most rewarding.
Finding A Problem
After teams had formed, the group was asked to begin surveying friends, family, and others to determine common problems in their everyday life. With the first round being focused on general questions, the second round of interviews and polls looked at a more in depth common problems we saw across the board. There were multiple surveys and interviews related to food conducted over the first two weeks, which helped us get some of the findings we needed to form a problem statement.
Making Sense of Data
Once all of the data had been collected from the first two weeks, we had finally begun to look into specific problems relating to food that we could deem an actual problem. We knew from our own experience that beginning to cook on your own as a college student was a difficult transition. The data we had gathered echoed our thoughts and proved to be very useful in legitimizing our problem statement. The problem we elected to solve was:
Young adults struggle to track the food they’ve purchased and to find ways to use all ingredients before they go bad.
Creating a Solution
We began thinking of techniques that people were currently using in order to track and use food they bought. We found that some people used grocery lists on paper, but the target user mainly relied on an digitized lists like Apple's Notes app. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that we needed to use a channel which would be familiar to younger generations and had the capability to execute all of their needs. From this, we decided on focusing our efforts towards a mobile application.
The design process was quite interesting. I was the only one in the group with prior interface design experience, but I still wanted to gather other team members opinions on the features we needed. To begin, I lead a brainstorming session relating problems we recognized from our research with app features that could really make an impact.
The app is meant to act like a digitized version of your pantry, refrigerator, etc. The user will begin by adding their preferences (both what they like and don't like/allergies), and then search for recipes to make. Next, the application will take into account the amount of ingredients logged onto the account and cross reference it with available recipes. When the user wants to make a recipe but doesn't have the ingredients, the missing items are automatically added to a grocery list. The user then scans the receipt, and updates their digital inventory.
Once we had the general idea of what was to be included in the application, I began working on some low fidelity wireframes. This not only helped myself simplify the flow, but also helped the rest of my team visualize how users will work their way through our app, and how all the different pieces we discussed would come together.
I turned to sketch once I had the wireframes done on the whiteboard. I went through a good amount of iterations, checking with teammates and friends to ensure the screens were intuitive and understandable. To keep things simple, I only fully developed 4 screens for our pitch deck.