A personal chef at an affordable price
Pocket Chefs is a food service company that connects people who need assistance in the kitchen with personal chefs at an affordable price.
In the fall of 2016, I worked with Pocket Chefs for three weeks with two other designers in conducting user research that would inform the development of the company's native mobile app. I later went on to produce hi-fi mockups and animated prototypes of the app based on our research.
Problems with the booking process
One of Pocket Chefs' main problems was the process of booking a chef through their website. Little to no information was provided to customers regarding appointment details before and after booking. This was a critical problem for an early stage startup where customer confidence was yet to be established.
Furthermore, a single platform for correspondence between the customer and chef after booking was also something that was lacking. Communication was fragmented through a hodgepodge of text messages, phone calls, and emails causing unnecessary overlap and taxing efforts on both parties.
Gaining insights from the users
We started out by interviewing 3-4 Pocket Chefs users that already had previous experience in using their services. Although they raved about the in-person experience, everything leading up to the appointment was said to be a jarring process.
As mentioned previously, the lack of consistency in communication platforms confused users as some appointments would be corresponded through emails and others through text messages. Consequently, users didn't know where to anticipate their messages after booking an appointment.
There was also the absence of a summary page after booking where users could edit, cancel, or be reminded of details regarding their appointment without having to contact the chef directly.
Creating a mobile app
Our team eventually decided that booking and communicating with a chef on a mobile device would be the most optimal experience for a user. If the eventual plan for Pocket Chefs was to migrate all communication onto a single platform, it would be inconvenient to users for conversations to live exclusively on the website.
Our solution to create an app also coincided with the long-term business goal of Pocket Chefs in bringing their services to mobile devices.
We created our MVP with one goal in mind — to ensure that users felt well-informed throughout the entire process of booking a chef. We tested this design out with multiple users to gather necessary feedback we could proceed forward with.
Finalizing the UI
In designing the final UI, my goal was to increase transparency in the service so that users felt comfortable enough to book an appointment. I strived to keep information regarding appointment details, chef backgrounds, and CTAs at the forefront of the design.
Landing page and sign up
Home screen feed
The goal of the home feed was for users to engage with the app in some capacity. Whether it be recipes that might interest them or chefs that would be a potentially good match — these were all entry points for users to begin the booking process. Scheduled appointments also lived on the home feed so users could view what they previously booked.
The chef profile provided users with information about the chef's background and their specialities. In the previous model, users would request the service and not a specific chef gambling with the risk of a potential mismatch. With access to the chef profile, users would be in control of what chef they felt best matched their preferences.
The booking form was split into multiple screens to avoid cognitive overload. I wanted to keep scrolling to a minimum as it could be disorienting for users when they scroll down too far.
Sliders and horizontal tag lists were also used to minimize typing.
The next steps for Pocket Chefs would be to hire a developer to begin the process of building out the app. A corresponding website that follows the same visual consistency with the app is also something that would need to be addressed as well.
In the end, we ended up handing off a feature prioritization list, survey data, personas, hi-fi mockups and prototypes to the Pocket Chefs stakeholders. However most importantly, we provided them with a direction and a vision of what their company could eventually be down the road.