OjaExpress - Community Designs
OjaExpress is an online ethnic grocery delivery service designed specifically for 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. At OjaExpress we aim to bring families, communities and generations together. The community design is envisioned to bring people with multi ethnic background together and connect over mutual love of food.
OjaExpress is an online ethnic grocery delivery service designed specifically for 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. At OjaExpress we aim to bring families, communities and generations together. We began our website redesigning process in early Jan 2021.
The main goal for this project was to build an ethnic food/recipes blogging platform where users can connect over a mutual love for ethnic food.
It can simply be understood as a "Social Networking site for Immigrants and Foodies”. My goal as a product designer was to come up with a culturally rich and inclusive platform where users can connect over food, culture and ethnicity.
1. Implement a Design Process
2. Improve usability across the platform
3. Establish a standardized design kit
4. Establish a standardised Design System
Product Strategy, Visual Design, Prototyping and Testing
July 2020 - Ongoing
Design a community forum
Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe XD, Procreate
At OjaExpress we felt that there’s a lack of information on ethnic recipes and food sites. Sure there are plenty of food bloggers and blogging sites on the internet with thousands of different recipes. A quick google search for cheesecake recipe gives us about a hundred different styles of recipes. But when you try to search the recipes for, say, Adhirasam (A popular south Indian sweet) you get a tepid response.
I started with thorough secondary research. A quick skim through famous food bloggers on sites such Instagram, Youtube and Tik-Tok gave me an overall idea. Unsurprisingly “ethnic food bloggers” make about 30% of the total. Another trend that I noticed was that the vast majority of the ethnic bloggers were people belonging to their community, this I understood was due to a lack of awareness rather than interest. Millennials report that they learn about ethnic foods via social media, travelling and visiting food websites and restaurants.
Opportunities for tasting more “adventurous flavours” have emerged well in today’s connected world.
An independent Food and Beverage Consumer research site published in 2018 that consumers want authentic, ethnic food and 32% of them are willing to pay for it.
Many millennials consumers believe that ethnic foods are full of flavour and fresh ingredients which make them healthier.
Consumers now have a more adventurous palate and are open to new, rich experiences.
I needed to get a better understanding of the users before I decided on the website’s features. I started by first categorizing the users into two separate user groups:
1. Influencers/ bloggers/ chefs
2. Users looking for recipes, information, friends.
I interviewed close to 10 users which included a few influencers that I had reached out to. During these interviews, I mainly asked open-ended questions to learn as much as I could about their experiences and identify what their user needs truly are.
“Food is a huge part of my culture”
“I want to see and try recipes that most people won’t be aware of”
“I get a sense of a Global feel”
“Go the extra mile and list the ingredients so one can find it on your site as the food bloggers do.”
“Needs to trigger the palette, I like that feeling”
I decided to use an empathy map to synthesize all my research findings from the user interviews. This led me to discover few key insights and helped me uncover some key patterns.
There is a lack of awareness about ethnic cuisine and ingredients among many people.
People tend to ring up their families or friends to get a recipe.
Youtube is the number one go-to place to look up cooking videos
A vast majority of people resort to substituting commonly found ingredients while cooking ethnic food. Eg. Using sugar instead of jaggery.
A lot of food bloggers feel that getting into youtube is a serious commitment as it takes a lot of financial investment.
International students feel it's hard to find and connect with people.
People, in general, are curious about trying out different cuisines.
Based on all the interviews I conducted I created a user persona.
After identifying my target user, I had to understand the problems which I’d aim to solve. To define the problem statement I made use of the insights that I’d gained before.
Sophia is a business analyst who wants to cook traditional Spanish and other ethnic dishes at home because she enjoys cooking and misses her home-cooked meals a lot.
To narrow down on the features that we needed to implement, I clearly defined the goals that we are trying to meet.
Based on the research findings I created a list of pages and add-ons our website would feature. Oja had a large assortment of pages that needed to be designed. I also had to map put the pages carefully, making sure the users would find it easy to navigate throughout the site.
After deciding on the user flow and the site architecture for the community, I started sketching out a rough design for the screens. The sketching was based on the design patterns I found while researching similar sites.
Once basic sketching was done I had a fair idea about where each element of the screen would go. To present my idea to the stakeholders I developed some medium-fidelity wireframes. To make the layout responsive and fluid I worked on the different screens simultaneously.
Since I already had a style guide that I had created for OjaExpress, I kept that as a guideline and came up with the following visuals.
2. RECIPE PAGE
I made a simple prototype of the screens that I'd designed on Figma. This prototype was used to present to team members and stakeholders to get early approval. I also used the prototype for usability testing to get early validation from users.
USABILITY TESTING OBJECTIVES
The same participants used in the initial research process were brought back for testing with the following as the major objectives:
1. Test to see of the users are able to perform the tasks in a satisfactory manner
2. Observe users' interactions with the product
3. Assess areas of improvement for future iterations
All the users liked the location pin which indicates the region they're currently at and the country they're from.
Users also felt the inclusion of dietary options were highly helpful.
Users expressed the idea of filtering recipes by country and by different levels of competency.
Some users expresses their thought of this being an app.
4/6 users expressed interest in having videos as an option.
4/6 users were able to accomplish the necessary tasks successfully.
3/6 users struggled to use "add the ingredients" to the cart.
Seamless integration of "stoppable cart". Make the recipe page more readable by including images of the products, and the store logo.
Include videos as options. Use high contrast to distinguish the text used in "directions"
Include country filters and levels of competency as an additional option.
& Next Steps
Working in an early-stage startup is an extremely steep learning curve. I learn a lot of things quickly and effectively. The scope of my learning is extremely broad and exciting The whole experience is eye-opening that teaches me a lot about being lean and knowing when and where to focus your energy and efforts.
This project is nowhere in its final stage, there's still more work to be done, more users to interview and more changes to make.
Based on the above insights I gathered I'd like to start on the redesign. Additionally I would start on designing the other pages and test it out as well to get an early validation.
Once all the pages are designed I would hand over the designs to the developers and stakeholders.
Expected product launch is during the second quarter of 2021, stay tuned ✌️