Going into this semester I was really not sure what to think of the capstone project. Many had mentioned it as pure hell. Seeing the time that we devote to it, however, it seems much more manageable. With the level of exploration that we do to find a topic, I feel like I can come up with a project that has more meaning than just filling a prompt. It’s my hope from here that I can come up with something that truly shows the culmination of my work here.
For this week, I am starting to see the start of my capstone. Of my three options, I find that the subject of teaching novices to cook is the most interesting from a challenge standpoint. With this in mind, I have already started to look into interesting ways to bring these lessons to users. Looking at the many options, I feel the best way to approach this is a mixture of community elements and gamification in its design. With this mixture, users would have motivation for interaction. Along with this, I believe that I should focus my design on the younger generations.
Starting this week off, I had a pretty good idea of the different projects I could tackle for my capstone. I think pursuing the cooking-based application will have the best results as my focus. I have also decided to focus my designs on a specific audience. Since many older people have a higher percentage of cooking knowledge, I think focusing on college students will be fruitful because it is the first time when most have food no longer being made for them. I will definitely look into the first research of what college students find the hardest about cooking and the basic skills they struggle with.
This week not much was done in terms of working on capstone work other than secondary research. I have started to look into some of the basic techniques that college students struggle with. Seeing this from studies will help me begin to shape some of the first recipes that students make. Many students seem to struggle with more experiential cooking skills that require time. I think that the best way to approach these will be to make sure all recipes are up-to-date.
This week I have received some useful feedback from the other teachers. I think the biggest thing to take away from their comments is the idea of adding constraints to my design. There are many recipe apps out there and distinguishing myself only by slightly changing the format will not make for good exploration in the area. My first thought to add to this was to think about the substitutes that could be offered in terms of cooking ware. Many students at colleges lack proper tools to cook or even a place to cook them. In many ways, this could open up to fun substitution in place of regular cooking utensils. The other idea is to limit the exposure of recipes to certain users. In some cases, many users might only want to see quick recipes or recipes with few ingredients. I think going from here will be more about researching what users truly want from their cooking experience.
I think starting this week, I had a better idea of where to go with my research. I need to look more into all the aspects of cooking that affect college students. I think it will be interesting to see what they find more enjoyable to create. Is it cooking something more complex or is it finding something that is quick? I feel like there should be a few resources out there on college students eating habits. Going from here will rely mainly on my ability to gain input through my primary research, however. With my ability to get personalized information, I’ll be able to find problem areas and start to build my response around these areas. The biggest part of this research will be the in-person kitchen studies. The surveys will get me the most information, but the study will allow me to cater to the design around the slow-down points or areas I might not have thought of before.
This week has turned to be a great step in the right direction. Though it feels like everything is going fast, a lot of the research coming together. A lot of the information has come from my secondary research. Through my sources, I have been able to find a more focused area to explore. Many dorms do not offer full kitchens and many students are only allowed a microwave for cooking. This is the case many students wouldn’t think that they could make meals, leading to very unhealthy eating habits. With so many sources out there, it is hard to find recipes that are tailored to their users. Going from here, the next step is to finish up interviews and see the more qualitative answers and problem areas that users find themselves in.
This week was another step in the right direction although it proved difficult to get any interviews done because of the holidays. With this being said I have made good progress on the revised draft and all that I need to have included. I think from here it will just be about leaving time for research into new areas I haven't explored and considerations I haven’t thought of yet. For my interviews, I plan to have them sometime this next week while each participant is cooking. This will help the conversation feel more casual and allow for problems with the cooking experience. For this, I have focused my interviews on differing levels of cooks and their likeliness to cook. I think being able to separate what cooks on different levels like about the experience will benefit my designs. The last thing I hope to get from this is prior experiences with cooking when they started college.
The research I have done this week has proved very useful to some of the features I should offer in my final design. After talking with my interviewees, I have a better idea of the thoughts and feelings of the cooking experience. One of these interesting finds was the dilemma of cooking with others. Many of them wanted companionship in the kitchen but did not want people in the kitchen due to space. I think there could definitely be studies on this idea in my work. One idea I could implement would be separating the steps of the recipe so that there are few points of intersection. Another finding was that there is a gap in the knowledge of videos and the audience they are made for. Because YouTubers have to get their format out to so many different levels of cooks, it is hard to speak to everyone's skill level. This makes it hard for some to understand some more complex ideas in the kitchen. I think this will be where I kind of group these users into levels by using gamification in the experience. Overall it was very informative and will help with how people interact with the design in the future.
This week I was able to finish up my brief and start looking into form design. I think that there are many ways that the design can go. However, based on what I’ve found, I think most college students want interaction with their phones because of their ability to travel around the kitchen. This also provides a cost-effective format for the students because there is no subscription or one-time cost. I think my focus from now will be on how the application is designed. I plan to outline the application's game portions and some of the journeys that users would experience while making a recipe.
This week's main focus was on my Gantt chart and how I will divide my time going from here. I think that the biggest thing for my application will be to focus on user testing and doing benchmarking on UI design. Being able to create wireframes surrounding the whole journey will allow for new areas of exploration. For form studies, I have started to lay out some of the ideas I want to present in my app. I want the learning experience to be entertaining to the user and not feel laborious. One way I plan to keep the process simple is by having the recipes be step-by-step with visuals.
This week finally came to a wrap and I feel like I am prepared for the spring semester. After finishing my Gantt Chart, I think that I can definitely lay out the groundwork for how next semester is paced and allow for some tweaking when needed. I think that I also had a few good ideas about the flow of the application this week. I drew up my design for a skill system that would let users know how hard a certain recipe is and that would coincide with their skill from the main courses. I still have no direct idea of how I might implement the cooking of the recipes yet but I feel I will have time to think about that this next semester.
It feels good to be finally done with the main research of my capstone. After this week, I have some good ideas going forward. I think that a lot of students not only want a new experience with cooking but also shopping for the ingredients. I think the best way of going about this is to create a grocery list. I think this could also be implemented with a visual system so that if students do not know what certain ingredients look like they would be able to quickly recognize them. I got good feedback on the rest of my design ideas as well. The balance of the app is still under work but the first user tests should help with this fine tuning.