FoodPodge app gamifies the process of getting free and discounted food while increasing awareness of food insecurity, using endearing characters to combat issues.

Timeframe: 2 weeks | 2020
Our Team: Christian Enriquez | Di Xu | Tom Rhalter
My Role: Researcher | UX/UI Designer
Tools Used: Adobe XD | Adobe Photoshop | Miro
Stakeholders: Adobe Creative Jam: Design for Change with SoDa Agencies
Design Challenge
Design a mobile phone app that empowers a specific audience to help improve part of the chain of food collection and distribution.
Challenge Statement
How might we get students engaged in raising awareness about food insecurity, while still helping themselves and others through free and discounted food networks.
Food insecurity for students on college campuses often go under the radar due to either lack of knowledge, or stigma around the topic. This causes students to not be able to get the help that they so desperately need.
FoodPodge app gamifies the process of getting free and discounted food while increasing awareness of food insecurity, using endearing characters to combat issues. encourages people with more income are encouraged to shop at places/businesses that fight food insecurity to continue to help students. FoodPodge also provides cooking lessons and ingredient deliveries to address time sensitivity, making the process of getting food fun, engaging, and sustainable.
Through applying all of our research and insights, we developed the HiFi Concept Prototype in Adobe XD located below
Food Insecurity Stake Holders
Robert Egger: Founder and President ofL.A. Kitchen
PJ Pereira:
Founder and Creative Chairman of Pereira O'Dell
Field Observations
My team and I decided to go to the Santa Monica College campus in order to observe the process of the SMC food drive on Wednesdays at 12:30 PM. It was very exciting to see how well organized the food drive team was in making sure the process was as efficient as possible, both for vehicles, and people standing in line. While attempting to gather information, we made sure to always maintain safety measures given by the CDC, due to our COVID-19 Pandemic.

The lines were incredibly long and wrapped around the block making it difficult to gauge the amount of cars waiting. Upon attempting to interview them from a distance, they seemed to have their guard up, giving short answers, as well as an uncomfortable vibe.

Walk up lines:
My team and I found that the people standing in line were more receptive to allowing us to interview them. They always were able to be more open and descriptive about the answers given. At no point did they seem uncomfortable, but rather grateful that they were able to have their next meal due to the food drive.

Bags of food Given:
The bags were very heavy, and at times felt the paper bags would not hold. We later found out why, There was a very food variety from potatoes, to canned foods, as well as perishable items. The amount of choice in items however was very limited due to limited questions about what types of foods we needed.
We gathered a lot of information from both the people waiting in their vehicles as well as waiting in the walk up lines. We made sure maintain safety measures as well as make the interaction as quickly as possible.

Questions asked were:
What is your commute like coming to this food Drive?
2. How did you find out about this food drive SMC is currently having?
3. What is your experience so far with this food drive? Why?
4. What challenges have been the most difficult for you when it comes to the process of obtaining your next meal? Why?

Pain Points:
"Long wait times through drive-thru"
o "Commute is difficult due to it taking from 10 min to an hour, depending on if public transportation is needed"
o "Fresh food such as fruits and vegetables are not always included."
o "Lack of multiple channels of communication for food drive awareness."

If we could find a way to promote more channels for the food drives as well as become more local to areas currently out of reach from students. There could be opportunities for restaurants and other food chains to be able to help out, while still promoting their businesses.
Secondary Research
It was very enlightening to find articles relating to the topic which brought concerns we never thought were issues before starting our journey.

Low Awareness:
Many students were not aware of what food insecurity actually meant.

There was a stigma associated with seeking help with food insecurity. Making it a difficult topic for many students to have with people they knew.

Difficult Month:
All it takes is for someone to fall behind due to a cut of hours, or in the case of what we were going through with the COVID-19 pandemic. A loss of jobs.
Persona | Journey Map
Looking over the interviews we gathered. We decided to create a persona that we felt was a good example of the college student we were trying to target. Then created a journey that encompassed the pain points along the way.
Competitive Analysis
My team and I took a look at a lot of food insecurity apps out there, in order to clarify further how others were addressing the issue. However, they were broken down into three categories.

Person to Person:
People could post events they were having in which they had a substantial amount of food. Allowing for others in need to come by to indulge in free food.

Organization to Organization:
Grocery stores as well as restaurants could post food they are willing to donate to local food banks.

Person to Organization:
People could volunteer in picking up extra food or other donations from local grocery stores or other chains, in order to assist in delivering them to local organizations that are helping people.
After coming up with our "How might we" statement, we decided to have a brainstorming session in order to come up with many good ideas that captured the essence of what we were trying to do. In the end, it came down to a voting session of what we felt were the best ideas. Narrowing it all down to the concept in the end.
Style Assets
To get the vibe and feel of the direction we were thinking of going, we decided to create a mood board. From there we decided what color swatches were going to best represent what we were trying to achieve.
Once we got the basic concept of the wireframes completed, we were excited to head into the high fidelity prototype.
Although we did not win the Adobe Creative Challenge, We were very excited to tackle the challenge and learn a lot of great things along the way. One of the biggest challenges in developing this app was the time constraint that we had to undergo. Adobe provided mentors to help along our journey, but due to scheduling issues, we couldn't find the time to meet with one.

I found our app unique from many other teams in the sense of gamification. We decided to head this direction because we were looking for a way to try and remove the stigma mainly associated with people in need. Allowing this app to give the user a fun and engaging experience and providing the option of donated and discounted food. We felt would allow people who were not food insecure to also utilize this app.

I felt our eyes opening more and more through the discovery of how big of a need this topic was. So much so, that after completing the challenge I decided to still continue in my efforts to help out my fellow students through attending meetings with faculty and staff revolving around further helping the Santa Monica College Food Drive.