THE CHALLENGE

CookFeed is a new medium for sharing the love of cooking. The idea: what if you could have an experienced chef in your kitchen via live video while you cooked, instructing you every step of the way? The client came to us a simple vision for what CookFeed could become. To bring that vision to life, we needed to understand the initial scope, including the target market, the needs and opportunities, and finally the core users. Relying on our methodical processes, we began the discovery phase.

THE PROCESS

DISCOVERY

We invited the team to our office for a full morning of white boarding, where we absorbed as much about this idea and detail of this concept as they could describe. During this discovery workshop, we collaborated with the team to establish a set of customer hypotheses and assumptions that we needed to prove in order for this product to be successful.

  • This content will be consumed by homemakers and amateur chefs, leaning towards female demographics than male.
  • There is something unique about amateur chefs that people would be attracted to that lifestyle.
  • ‘ Chef’ is a broad term on this platform, meaning anyone can share their cooking videos and build a following if they are producing engaging content.

User Research

The biggest mistake a first time product builder could make is to rely heavily on personal hypotheses and assumptions that drive key product decisions. That’s a perfect recipe for creating something that you love and no one wants. One on one user research is critical for breaking through assumptions and designing for a validated need. Often during the user research phase, we’ll hear something unique and want to dig into it further. That’s precisely what happened on this project.

Validation

One of our core hypotheses was that amateur chefs would be appealing to our users because they want to see what like minded people were cooking. We repeatedly heard the opposite that users actually wanted to see professional chefs working at their craft. Whether a star chef in a restaurant, or a TV personality, the user’s with whom we spoke kept harping on this behind the scenes look, a voyeurism of sorts. This discovery sparked a ‘Global Feed’ feature that we’ll discuss shortly.

Product Hypotheses

Armed with research on our two types of users: ‘Chefs’ and ‘Consumers’, we began crafting our product hypotheses. One of the learnings from the research phase on the ‘Chefs’ side was that restaurants viewed this product as a great marketing tool for their industry. However, their followers were on Facebook and Twitter, currently. So we had to ensure that they could share or notify their audience across other social media platforms.

Additionally, we wanted users to be able to see enough content to make the application valuable from day one. To help support that, we built a global feed feature that enables a user to see all of the chefs on Cookfeed, as opposed to just seeing those that they follow. This feature maps directly to a need, but also enables the CookFeed team to drive engagement and showcase some of the best chefs on the platform.

Prototyping

Using this product hypotheses, we designed mock-ups and created an InvisionApp Walk through of the application to test all of our hypotheses. Leaning on Usability Testing, we were able to understand how prospective users would interact with the app, and iterate based on those findings. A couple usability issues that were discovered without having to do any UI work or development were:

    • Users preferred the ‘Global Feed’ as the default feed over their personal feed.
    • Originally the comments section and a description were taking up a good portion of the live stream screen, and users reacted negatively to this layout. We instead made the comments transparent (similar to Periscope) and made the description collapsible.

User Interface Design

After prototyping and testing our mobile wireframes, we made final tweaks to the User Experience before moving into User Interface Design. Utilizing branding guidelines provided by the CookFeed team, we designed a minimalistic interface to showcase what users truly care about — their content.

Takeaways

Starting from an idea is always fun for the FoundationLab team. It enables us to work through our entire process from beginning to end, and push the boundaries of our expertise by turning those ideas into marketable products. Moreover, when our vision for the product doesn’t fully align with that of the client, data becomes the arbiter to justify product centric decisions. All product decisions are based on what was learned through the Discovery and User Research phases. Data empowers us to make accurate judgements when taking a product to market, reducing the subjective and freeing the team to execute on what is proven to work. The CookFeed team was incredibly responsive to the data that was discovered, and what we shipped aims to serve as the premier online community for cooking.

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