Product Design Case Study

A mobile application that connects the family beyond the kitchen table.


For the term project of our Interaction Design Studio course, we were given a design brief to develop a convivial kitchen solution that brings together people of diverse generations to cook, eat and enjoy each other's company.

Role: UX Researcher, Interaction Designer

Team: Lindley Dahners, Kausalya Ganesh, Naishi Jain

Methods & Tools: Design Probes, Co-Design, Sketch, Principle, Adobe Premier Pro

Duration: 10 weeks


A kitchen is at the heart of home, where the story of family life is played out. Due to changing demographic trends, property prices and social structures, there is a general rise in co-living and diversity in household members. Addressing this change, the challenge is to create a convivial solution that brings family members belonging to different generations, together in the kitchen and bond through shared fun activities.

We chose to scope the challenge by focusing on the relationship shared between parents and kids in the kitchen & dining spaces, as those have also been some of our fondest childhood memories.  We explored how this inter-generational dynamic could be enhanced further using existing technology.

Create Fun Moments for Families in the Kitchen.


FoodFam, a fam-to-table experience!

It is a mobile application that enables adults and children to prepare a meal collaboratively, while gamifying the process. With a wide range of personalization, and intuitive task division, FoodFam makes cooking fun and easy.



Data Collection

We used 3 methods to collect data: Design Probes, Semi-Structured Interviews and Co-Design Session. Triangulation was required in order to ensure validity of the research as we were catering to 2 different user groups.

Participants: Kids from a research group at the Human Computer Interaction Lab and their families. These kids are in the age group of 7 to 12 years and participate as co-designers on various research projects.

Design Probes 

To gain a true understanding of our target users’ culture, behavior and preferences, we collected in-situ data from families using design probes.  Families had one week to think & respond to all the probes. Through this, we gained insights into their environments and identified potential opportunities to enrich their time spent together in the kitchen.

Semi-Structured Interviews

We conducted in-depth interviews with three mothers to gain insights into the food habits, special occasions, and kitchen routines of their families. To direct our conversation with the parents we created an interview guide containing an overview of potential questions.

Some of those questions include —

  • Describe a recent experience (snack time, dinner, etc) of spending time with the family in the kitchen.
  • When was the last time the families came together for a holiday? Was any food involved? Who cooked what?
  • What technologies/ apps (TV, smart devices, phone) do you use in the kitchen?
  • Do the kids contribute/help in the kitchen? In what ways?

Co-Design Workshop

We conducted a co-design workshop with kids in the age range of 7 to 12, from the Kids Team research group. The goal of this workshop was to learn about their preferences, interests, and ideas about food routines, daily habits, and other kitchen-based practices.

The workshop resulted in elaborate sketches of kitchen devices and spatial solutions that they would find useful in their futuristic homes.


Themes of social sharing, virtual assistants, and inclusivity dominated the conversation.


Key Insights

We conducted line-by-line open coding to generate categories of codes from our data. By analyzing and sorting through all the codes, we were able to detect overarching themes.  Some of the key insights include:

  • Children are remarkably pro-tech and wish for devices that bring them closer to others in the form of social sharing, haptic feedback, and other customizable services.
  • Involving children in the kitchen can reduce neophobia (fear of new food)
  • Families spend a lot of time together in the kitchen & dining spaces, for reasons outside of cooking and eating.
  • Caregivers make it a point to stay connected with their child through food and/or other activities in the dining area (art projects, board games).

User Personas

We created a primary persona based on the parents that we interviewed. A child’s role in the kitchen & dining areas is co-dependent on their parents’ role so creating a secondary persona that brought out their characteristics was crucial to our design requirements.


Primary Persona: Julia L. - Mom | Secondary Persona: Alex L. - Child



We brainstormed by generating 50-60 concept sketches to dive deep into the idea of gamification in the kitchen. Using a combination of some of our best ideas, we settled on our final product concept: a mobile app that facilitates collaborative cooking for people of different age groups.


The themes of sketches included cooking together, using smart devices and sharing chores among family members.


Our team conducted a white-boarding session to generate the final task flow for the low-fidelity prototype.

Low-Fidelity Prototype

 We created our initial prototype on 8.5” x 5.5” card stock paper, so that we could draw large buttons and instructions for our users to navigate through easily as they provided us their valuable feedback.

The main aim of the low-fidelity prototype was to gather feedback and test the conceptual idea.

Key Features of the Low-Fidelity Prototype

  • Customizable profiles (avatars, preferences, etc)
  • Multiplayer challenges (involving recipes, task allocation in relation to others)
  • Tasks with everyday kitchen appliances
  • Step-by-step player instructions
  • Rewarding the overall mission

Usability Testing


Usability tests were conducted with 4 participants to identify issues on an early stage of design.

The tests were completed in a duration of 25-30 minutes.

The objective of the tests were used to answer the following questions

  • Can parents use this app to have fun making a dish with their children?
  • Do children enjoy contributing to the process of cooking?
  • Does sharing responsibilities in the kitchen & dining space instil a sense of togetherness among family members?
  • Language of instructions on all pages
  • User flow of the profile creation process
  • The fluidity of team-play in that setup

What we learned from the usability tests?


Substitute birth date with age Some users were apprehensive about sharing their date of birth with the app.


Provide a recipe overview     Some users wanted to look over the task list prior to beginning the activity.


Task Timeline ................................... Users can keep track of where they are in the recipe and estimate how much longer is left in the activity. It also provides for a quicker way to go back a few steps if needed.


Choice of Avatars                      Users wanted to upload their own picture to the profile. Since legally, children are not allowed to do so, we decided to provide extensive cute and fun avatar choices.


Editable Montage                      Adding editable features like background music and stickers increases the customers delight.

Based on the above insights, our team went back through the prototype and added pink sticky notes to signify the changes to be made while designing the high-fidelity prototype.


High-Fidelity Prototype

Based on the insights gained from testing our low fidelity prototype, FoodFam was designed using Sketch and prototyped on Principle. Elements such as avatars, icons and buttons were designed keeping user experience goals of fun, reward and pleasure in mind.                         The high-fidelity prototype focuses on usability goals such as learnability, effectiveness and safety.

An interactive prototype designed on InVision can be accessed through the button

Personalized Profiles

Users can add an avatar, choose a nickname and complete their profile by choosing preferred appliances and dietary restrictions to start seeing a curated recipe feed on their home page.


Collaborative Cooking

Users can collaborate with others while cooking through various activities such as 'Head to Head', 'Race the Clock', 'What's in my Fridge' etc. Next, the users have to add the members participating in the activity. FoodFam divides the tasks involved in the recipe intuitively, based on the age of the participants.


Creating Memories

Throughout the cooking process, users are prompted to capture photos and videos of their cooking partner engaged in the activity. On completion of the activity, FoodFam generates an editable montage of their fun experience which can be shared with their family and friends.


Use Case: A School Potluck

We created a video prototype to narrate a scenario in which Julia, a mom, uses FoodFam to prepare Mac & Cheese with her daughter, Alex, for a school potluck. The video describes how FoodFam facilitates the cooking process while also creating moments of fun and joy of cooking together.

Visual Design

The choice of typography, colors, and logo design were inspired by brands that cater to children and adults. For example, Lego, HopScotch, and Toca Boca.


Through this board we are trying to capture a fun and playful vibe

Colors: Bright, colorful and cheerful hues of orange and teal.

Gestures: Children mostly use simple intuitive gestures such as tap and scroll. So we designed a mobile app with minimal complex actions.

Interactions: Children need to be engaged constantly, so the loading screen, profile creation phase, and the final montage screens have bouncing food items or characters to keep the users motivated.

Navigation: To cater to both user groups, all navigation elements and instructions are large and clearly articulated for easy understanding.

App Name: FoodFam is a combination of two words, “food” and “fam”. Fam is an informal term for family or a close friend. FoodFam intends to bring people closer through food-based activities.

Logo Design: The logo embodies the main elements of FoodFam within the design. It's color signifies both playfulness as well as appetite.  By stacking alphabets on top of each other like building blocks, the design communicates the playfulness of the app itself. The font used is Raleway Heavy.




  • Design Probes: Designing a design probe that helps users reflect on their experiences was quite exciting. We had to make them evocative enough for the users to record the observations.
  • Data Triangulation: We collected data using 3 different methods in order to enhance the credibility of the data. The nuances captured through the various data sources helped me realize the importance of data triangulation.
  • Early Stage Usability Testing: We tested the low-fidelity prototype with the users and identified crucial gaps in a quick and cheap way, quite early in the design process.
  • Use Case Video: I realized the efficacy of using a use case video to communicate the details of the product and how it fits in the user's life.


  • Open Coding
  • Paper Prototyping
  • Video Editing

Selected Works

Spin: A Smart Way of PresentingInclusive Design & Co-Design

Reel Women facing Real BiasQuantitative User Research & Data Visualization

Aging in Place with ADRDQualitative User Research & Inclusive Design

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