Small SAVR.png


UX Design & UI Design

Cooking at home can be a fun, relaxing, and even rewarding experience. However, it can also be frustrating and even defeating.

I was brought on-board to help SAVR effectively achieve the goal of helping at-home chefs accurately and easily follow the cooking instructions.

For a better reading experience, read case study on Medium:


Cooking at home can be a fun, relaxing, and even rewarding experience. However, it can also be frustrating and even defeating at times.

SAVR is a new startup that shows hundreds of recipes and cooking tips for at-home chefs. They have an active community of users who rate and review recipes for other users. I was brought on-board to help SAVR effectively achieve the goal of helping users accurately and easily follow the cooking instructions.


Problem & Role: Why was I brought onboard?

SAVR provides high-quality recipes that expose at-home chefs to a variety of cuisines that can typically be cooked under 30 minutes. Recently, SAVR received negative feedback on their recipes: not only do they involve too many steps, but the instructions are also often not clear enough and hard to execute. I was brought in to synthesize research, design user flows, create detailed UI, and conduct usability tests. In short, I played the role of both the UX and UI designer.


Solution (Problem Solving Process): GV Design Sprint

To help SAVR solve the problem, I focused on creating a better experience for users when it’s actually time to cook it. Armed with solid user research, I conducted a 5-days long (modified) Google Venture Design Sprint:


Day 1: Research Synthesis and Mapping

To kick off the process, I familiarized myself with the user persona as well as his user goals and pain points:

SAVR user persona.png

I then wrote some user needs and pains to guide me in the next few days:


From these user goals and pains, I also mapped out a detailed route that a user would typically go through from before to after cooking:


Day 2: Sketch, Sketch, Sketch!

To diverge my thinking and get inspired, I started day two by looking at some third-party solutions.


Some of the features I liked from Yummly, Tasty and Food Network included:


  • Having shopping lists (or Ingredients checklist)


  • Having step-by-step cooking guides with gifs (autoplay)


  • Having prep and cooking time

  • Allowing users to take notes on the app

What I felt like was still missing included:

  • Resources to help users learn cooking methods that are related to the recipe

  • Kitchenwares required to make the dish

  • Specific kitchenwares and ingredients needed at each step of the cooking process

  • Handless mode, such as listening to the recipe instead of reading it

  • Ability to reach out to experts or community to get cooking assistance

  • Tips for every step of the cooking process

To avoid the perils of overthinking the sketch process, I followed Google Venture’s famous “crazy 8's” exercise and sketched out 8 variations of the most critical screen in 8 minutes:


Day 3: Storyboarding!

With sketch#7 as the foundation of the most critical screen, I drew a basic wireflow of how users would go from prepping kitchenware and ingredients to learning new techniques, getting assistance from experts, and browsing the recipe.


While the focus was on the actual cooking part, GV stressed on the importance of taking your project “one or two steps upstream from the beginning of the actual solution you want to test.” Thus, I quickly sketched the screen where users would browse and select recipes as well as completed the sketches by drawing step-by-step cooking steps, recipe review pages, and cooking expert pages.


Day 4: Not-Too-Hi-Fi Prototyping

Why not too hi-fi? Because the point of GV sprint is to build something that’s believable and get them to the users as soon as possible. The prototype wasn’t perfect, but the point is to create a “good enough” prototype that’ll get the users talking 🤓


Day 5: Put Your Solution to Test

Rather than agonizing over your design, the whole idea of sprint is to get to your users ASAP. So I spoke to 5 participants. Why 5? Because after speaking to five participants, you would most likely have captured 85% of the problem! I made sure to recruit participants who aren’t professional cooks but would cook at home somewhat regularly and asked them to do these tasks:


Usability tests are always encouraging, enlightening and challenging at the same time. It was reassuring to observe how positively my participants responded to the app I designed, both through their body and verbal language. For instance, some of the positive feedbacks that affirmed that the features I designed aren’t just features but useful solutions to actual problems include:

  • “Oh wow, yes, I really like how I can see prep and cook time before I even click into the recipe!”

  • “I really like that you specify what kitchenware is needed—I feel super frustrated sometimes because halfway through cooking, I realize I need a hand-held blender…how many people own one anyway?”

  • “Oh this timer function is awesome. Finally. I love it.”

  • “I didn’t use to think iPad or iPhone would be useful in the kitchen…now I do! Everything can be done with one light tap!”

Some of the constructive criticisms included:

  • Have more images of the dish to entice me to make it!

  • Let users read some community reviews and see what other people have done

  • Make the timer function a separate button in the step-by-step function

  • Have tips and expert help available at every step of the process

  • Encourage users by having a large celebratory “Hooray!” page despite whether they think they did a good job or not!


Takeaway: GV Design Sprint’s Power

Yes, it is actually possible to cover everything from discovery to testing in 5 days! Surprisingly, it was far less stressful than I anticipated. In fact, the time constraint was what made things not-stressful— it forces UX designers to abandon perfectionist mindsets and move forward, despite obvious imperfections. It is exactly this sense of urgency and efficiency that makes the GV Design Sprint so attractive and effective. 

With that said, day 5 isn’t the end of the design process. It is incredible to be able to pivot in such a short window of time with real testing data. But that is precisely the point: collecting data and iterating is an ongoing process. Now that I have invaluable feedback from participants, I better go iterate and test some more 💪🏼

Hiring? Please feel free to reach out to me 🙋🏻🙋🏻‍♀️️️️

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