VegiPath

VegiPath

A go at your own pace course designed to help you gradually make the transition to a vegan diet. Role: Product Designer

Background

VegiPath is an online product designed for those new to a vegan/plant-based diet. It works by outlining a structured process of elimination, in the form of an online course to help gradually eliminate animal food groups from a user's diet. VegiPath also features an online community where users can connect with others on a similar journey.

Problem Statement

How might we help users accomplish eliminating certain animal products from their diets gradually and transition to a vegan/plant-based diet?

Users & Audience

Individuals considering or very new to a vegan/plant-based diet.

Process Overview

  • Research User Surveys User Interviews Competitive Analysis
  • Define User Persona Empathy Map Problem Statement Ideation Storyboarding User Flow
  • Design Low Fidelity Wireframes Logo Design Style Tile UI Design
  • Test High Fidelity Prototype Usability Testing Priority Revisions

Conducting Research

User Surveys, User Interviews, Competitive Analysis Timeline: One Week

First, user surveys from a broad audience were conducted to understand the motivations and challenges encountered when making the switch to a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diet.

Individual interviews were then conducted with users that were new to a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diet, as well as users that had been on a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diet for many years. We discussed motivations and challenges encountered when making the switch to a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diet.

Competitive analysis was conducted by looking at direct and indirect competitors. Strengths and weaknesses were assessed, on both a functional level as well as the UI design.

User Survey Findings:

A total of 29 responses were collected from our online user survey. 48% were between the ages of 24-35, 69% identified as female, 80% said they've been vegan for 6+ months, and 20% said they've been vegan for 1-6 months

  • Motivations
  • The majority of users (89.7%) stated animal welfare as a primary motivation for switching their diet/lifestyle
  • Second highest motivation was environmental
  • When asked to elaborate on why they decided to switch, most users spoke about both animal welfare and the implications it has on the environment. They also expressed their compassion towards animals, stating things like “I see a young calf crying while being taken away from his mother”
  • When asked about what helps them stay motivated, most people spoke again about animal welfare, and just knowing that animals are suffering was enough to stay motivated
  • Other common methods of staying motivated were health and fitness goals, interesting recipe ideas, and online support forums/groups
  • Challenges
  • 65.5% of users said that eating out/takeout was the biggest struggle on a vegan/plant-based diet
  • Second highest was social pressure/lack of community
  • Other challenges included grocery shopping, unknown ingredients, lifestyle changes, adjustments, cravings for non vegan foods, cooking, and meal planning
  • When asked to elaborate on some of the challenges they faced, many people expressed social pressure stating things like “My family really can't understand why I am vegan”
  • Another common challenge was trying to find foods that are considered vegan
User Interview Findings:

We interviewed 8 participants; 4 that identified as vegetarian (consuming dairy and egg products in their diets), and 4 that identified as vegan (consuming absolutely no animals or animal by-products in their diets)

  • Common Takeaways
  • Advice for those just starting out on a vegan/plant-based diet is to transition into it gradually
  • There are so many plant-based options nowadays, you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on anything
  • Overall health and mood feel much better on a vegan/plant-based diet
  • Animal welfare and environmental impact were common motivations
  • Be kind with yourself and it’s okay to jump back in if you make a mistake
  • Set an intention and use that as a reminder for motivation.
  • Online forums or groups are a great way to find support and community
  • Common Pain Points
  • Education/learning about plant-based/veganism
  • Finding places to get takeout/going out to eat
  • Finding places to eat while traveling
  • Finding sources for variety of recipes to cook
  • Learning how to decipher ingredients
  • Not knowing what’s in food prepared for them
  • Recognition that vegan/plant-based diets may not be very accessible
  • Push back, misunderstanding, or criticism from peers and family
Competitive Analysis Findings:
Competitor: Vegan Bootcamp
  • Strengths
  • Promotes a vegan/plant-based diet and lifestyle
  • Free to join
  • Point system that allows you to redeem for coupons at retailers
  • Educating those new to a vegan diet on many different topics
  • Clean UI
  • Weaknesses
  • Course focused, no interaction with others or community throughout the site
  • Some of the goals feel inaccessible, expensive, and wasteful (“Your mission is to find five plant-based milks and buy one of each”)
  • There is a lot of information, not organized in any particular manner. Some of it seems overwhelming and disorganized
  • Quiz based - cannot proceed in the lessons without passing the quiz
  • The lessons seem unstructured, they go from food, to justifications and beliefs, to arguments, back to food, to groceries, to movies
Competitor: HappyCow
  • Strengths
  • Promotes a vegan/plant-based diet and lifestyle
  • Extensive directory on vegan friendly restaurants nearby
  • User reviews/ratings, photos, details on listings
  • Free to use web version
  • Clean UI
  • Weaknesses
  • Although there are some resources on vegan diets, animal welfare, and vegan related topics, these seem to be an afterthought of the site
  • App is not free
  • Although they have some recipes, it’s an afterthought of the site and the recipe pages are very underwhelming
Competitor: VegNews
  • Strengths
  • Promotes a vegan/plant-based diet and lifestyle
  • Extensive resource for “all things vegan”
  • Lots of vegan recipes
  • Fashion and Beauty tips
  • Home and Health tips
  • Travel Tips
  • Interviews
  • Clean UI
  • Weaknesses
  • While there are a ton of great resources on the site, it feels catered towards those that are already vegan or have been for quite some time
  • The resources are presented in a magazine style, so it’s a little hard to determine what section you are in once you click into a category
  • Lacks a “getting started” category or section for those just starting out
  • Feels like a lot of information that can be difficult to digest
  • Animal welfare, environmental, and health articles do not seem to be the first focus of this site
  • The site focuses a lot on celebrity news and social media
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Define
User Persona, Empathy Map, Problem Statement, Ideation, Storyboarding, User Flow Timeline: One Week

After research was conducted, we moved into synthesizing our findings. A user persona and accompanying empathy map were created to help tell the user's story.

The user persona was created based on the common frustrations and needs we heard from our user surveys and user interviews. Our objective was to explore the overall motivations and challenges of those on a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diet.

The empathy map further explored our persona's thoughts, feelings, actions, pains, and gains. We summarized what we heard and also used direct quotes gathered from the interviews.

We then moved into crafting the problem statement. Using our competitive analysis, user interview findings, persona, and empathy map, we crafted 15 "How Might We" statements to help us identify the problem we were going to solve. From there, we narrowed it down to one statement.

We used the Crazy 8s method for Ideation and Storyboarding. The Crazy 8s method involves folding a piece of paper in half 3 times so you are left with a sheet of 8 small squares. The idea is to spend 40 seconds quickly brainstorming ideas on each of the 8 squares, take a quick break, and repeat the process again. In our case, we did 5 rounds. For Storyboarding we used the Crazy 8s method again to explore these ideas in more detail, and to establish a rough user flow of these ideas. We repeated this process 4 times.

Then came the user flow. The first flow focused on building an experience for the user to learn, connect, and find vegan friendly restaurants to dine in and order takeout, however after iteration we revised our user flow.

User Persona:
Aaliyah Davis

“I feel like there are so many hurdles and misconceptions about veganism, I’m not sure I can make the switch.”

Persona Bio: Aaliyah is a commuting college student in her third year of a BFA with a concentration in photography. She interns at a local environmental sustainability e-commerce start-up coordinating, shooting, and editing images for online ad campaigns, e-mail newsletters, and the company’s social media account.

Aaliyah has been working toward limiting her consumption of animal products - participating in movements such as “Meatless Mondays” after learning a little bit about animal welfare and environmental impacts of the animal agriculture industry from social media. She has recognized the benefits of going vegan, and has considered making the switch, but is unsure of where to start. She feels overwhelmed trying to educate herself on the issue, and has limited experience cooking vegan/plant-based meals.

Age: 21 Occupation: College student Location: Eugene, OR Archetype: The Advocate
Goals & Needs:
  • Educate herself on animal welfare and the environmental impact of animal agriculture
  • Learn easy/budget friendly animal-free substitutes for her favorite meals
  • Connect with a community of likeminded individuals and groups

Frustrations & Fears:
  • Overwhelming amount of information on the internet
  • Unsure of certain ingredients
  • Accessibility of vegan options
  • Social acceptance

Associated Brands:
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
  • Audible
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Evernote
Motivations:
  • Animal welfare
  • Environmental impact

Tech Knowledge:
  • IT & Internet
  • Software
  • Mobile Apps
  • Social Networks

Personality:
  • ExtrovertIntrovert
  • SensingIntuition
  • ThinkingFeeling
  • JudgingPerceiving
Empathy Map:
  • Hearing
  • “Cutting back on red meat has long term health benefits”
  • Sustainability podcasts and audio books
  • Conversations at work on plant-based diets and vegan lifestyles
  • Thinking & Feeling
  • “I’m overwhelmed with information.”
  • A sense of obligation in improving environmental impact
  • “I wish I can organize this some how.”
  • “I’m not sure what this ingredient is?”
  • “How can I gradually do this?”
  • “I love animals.”
  • Seeing
  • Social media posts on animal agriculture
  • Youtube videos on sustainability
  • Eco friendly/ sustainable products at work
  • Doing
  • Bookmarking articles to read later
  • Watching informational youtube videos
  • Going out to eat with friends
  • Pinning recipes to try
  • Photographing her meals
  • Cooking for herself and family
  • Pains
  • Difficulty learning about nutrition of a plant-based/vegan diet
  • Criticism/ misunderstood from peers and family
  • Difficulty finding easy ways to implement more plant-based/vegan options in her current lifestyle
  • Gains
  • A sense of improving environmental impact and animal welfare
  • Improvement in overall health
  • A sense of living intentionally
Problem Statement:

How might we help users accomplish eliminating certain animal products from their diets gradually and transition to a vegan/plant-based diet?

Ideation (Crazy 8s):
VegiPath Ideation
Storyboarding (Crazy 8s):
VegiPath Storyboarding
User Flow
User Flow
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Design
Low Fidelity Wireframes, Logo Design, Style Tile, UI Design Timeline: One Week

As we began wireframing, we started to realize that the restaurant directory we were planning to design out as a feature felt out of place within the context of the rest of the application. With the amount of feedback we received on our surveys and interviews about the difficulties of finding vegan restaurants, we thought that this feature would be a great and robust product to build out on it's own. We decided to remove this feature from VegiPath in order to focus on the educational and community aspects of the product.

Wireframes were built out in Sketch, and initial prototypes were built on Invision to help map out the user flow, as well as provide a starting point for our UI design and usability testing.

After wire-framing we moved into our UI design and prototyping. The focus was to create a coherent experience based on our user flow that took the user through registration and into the first course lesson. The brand message we wanted to share was that of Compassion, Engagement, Community, and Education.

The rabbit is a recognized symbol of cruelty free within the vegan community, and we incorporated this into our brand by designing a logo that features a curious rabbit.

We also wanted to showcase an earthy look and feel to our overall UI design and incorporated subdued earthy tones, playful illustrations, organic shapes, and craft paper textures throughout the design of our pages.

Wireframes:
Hover over the device to view the design
Landing page wireframe
Macbook Pro Macbook Pro
Landing page wireframe
Macbook Pro Macbook Pro
Logo Design:
VegiPath Logo Design
Style Tile:
VegiPath Style Tile
UI Landing Page:
VegiPath Landing Page
UI Design Your Course:
VegiPath Design Your Course
UI Dashboard:
VegiPath Dashboard
UI Course Recipe Page:
VegiPath Course Recipe Page
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Test
High Fidelity Prototype, Usability Testing, Priority Revisions Timeline: One Week

Using our high fidelity prototype, we conducted remote usability testing via maze.design

We received some positive feedback from our usability testing, with only a few minor usability issues we needed to prioritize in our next iteration.

We used all of our findings from the usability testing to iterate over our design and prioritize revisions that would enhance the users experience.

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Final Thoughts
Reflection, Next Steps, Lessons Learned

Working on VegiPath was a great experience. We heard some of the challenges, motivations, and overall great stories from our user surveys and during our user interviews. One of the things we heard from almost every person we talked to was to consider making the transition gradually, and that it's okay to go at your own pace. This was a great starting point for the course design, and helped us to think about adding compassion into the learning process, while still creating a structured and useable learning experience.

During the wireframing process, we also found ourselves reconsidering the restaurant directory. This was a great lesson in iteration. While we did hear from our users that finding places to eat was a big pain point, within the context of a learning management system it felt a bit out of place. We recognized that this was a valuable feature to have, so much so that it felt more fitting to consider this as it's own product. We removed this from the flow of VegiPath, and created a product that focused on the education and community of veganism.

We hope this course can help those considering a vegan diet feel less intimidated or overwhelmed in making a more compassionate life choice. We wanted to help make the transition to a vegan diet seamless, accessible, and overall achievable, while connecting users to a supportive community of likeminded individuals.

Next Steps: We will continue designing out the rest of the features including the Community, Account, and Blog pages.