interaction and visual designer

KitchenSync App


2015 Fall Interaction Design

DES 381

Professor: Tad Hirsch

Duration: 10 weeks

KitchenSync is a concept app done as a school project with fellow group members, Allison Chan, Peter Dolezilek, and Megan Taylor. Our concept behind this app is to bring people together through food. 

The problem we are aiming to solve is that because is even though food is so universal, not enough people come together through it in a group setting. A way for people to come and celebrate or just enjoy each other's company. However, it seems that many people are veering away from usage of food as a bonding ground through home cooked meals. Especially dinner parties as they are widely seen as a more formal event that involves excessive planning, commitment, as well as unnecessary stress on the host. Thus, KitchenSync was born, as a way to democratize dinner parties as a more fun, casual event to encourage others to participate in. 

The main features of this app include aspects such as:

Commercialization where the app features sponsored, curated dinner party plans or recipes from food related figures (Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay), or companies that are related to food (stores, publications, blogs). Thus, these pre-curated plans allow the user a more streamlined experience in planning the parties or recipes as all the information is given to help out the host/planner. Although the commercialized packs are encouraged, the user is able to use their own plans and create their own custom party without the use of a commercial pack.

Another key feature of this app is that you can use your guests as resources. In the planning process is a todo list where the host sees what they need to buy or prepare. The host can then agree to take on any of the tasks in the todo list for themselves, and leave the list open for the guests. The guests can then see the list and agree to commit to any task. The list will also show any of the possible places to get such as ordering online from Amazon Fresh.


Jane: I switched between roles as needed as we progressed through our project. At first, I was a conducting research where I would interview couples to gather data to see how they eat dinner together and how they prepare their meals. Afterwards, I took the role of assisting with visuals (which held throughout the project), creating some concept diagrams for what our app could be about and creating a concise idea and theme. I also worked with Peter to prototype the app, creating the screens and how they would animate. 

Megan Taylor: Megan was the backbone of the team as she essentially acted as the project manager, keeping our team in control and setting the pace of our accomplishments, as well as keeping our ideas in order and creating a concise idea for our project. Megan was also a contributing in research with conducting interviews and planning her own dinner party to gather data on the process.

Allison Chan: She was our main contributor in visuals, adding a finalized touch to each of our pieces to keep things consistent and up to quality. She also helped make the previous concept diagrams when our group was still bouncing around ideas.

Peter Dolezilek: Peter was a prime member as he researched and conducted interviews to gain essential data that we would use to support one of the more salient features of our app (using our guests as resources). He also took the role of making the basic paper-prototype, just to set how our screens would progress. Afterwards, he worked with the rest of the team to figure out what screens we needed and how they would navigate. We then worked together to work on the visual prototype before Allison helped to add the final touches in visuals. 

Above is the final run through of our KitchenSync App UI. We transitioned from a base color of blue to a warmer salmon as we felt that the color looked steril and cold, which is the opposite of what we wished for with a warm, inviting cooking app.

Above is one of the previous iterations of our design for our app. The concept behind this layout was to mimic the idea of a recipe card box. I worked with Peter to establish this set of aesthetics to experiment with the different themes we could go for. Initially, we were looking for a warmer touch with this UI design, trying to convey a "homey" experience. After some talking with our group, we decided not to go with this theme as we figured we wanted something a bit more modern and sleek looking to attract a wider audience.

Above is the very first official iteration of how our UI would be designed. 

My group and I set up a Google Doc to set up a very basic prototype of the UI for the KitchenSync app. My groupmates and I added pages together and changed things around all together, live, through the Google Doc. This ensured that we had everything we needed in the pages, including all necessary details in the planning process of the app. It was essential to have everyone's input of what was necessary so using the google doc for the first, most basic prototype was a fantastic start.