Roundtable is designed to help promote the understanding and appreciation of cultures through food as well as foster social connection by bringing people together to share, eat and connect.
The idea for Roundtable was conceived through my thesis research which explores the relationship between food and culture, specifically how food can influence and preserve culture as well as how culture influences and preserve ways of eating and cooking. Through my initial research into this topic, I was able to uncover insights that helped me understand how people have built a relationship with food throughout history and how different cultures have different ways of preparing and eating food which allowed them to establish distinct cultural identities. These cultural identities are therefore maintained and reinforced by practising these food preparation and eating rituals which also fosters commensality. After conducting research and doing design sprints, I came up with the idea of creating an app called RoundTable.
I chose the name “Roundtable” because in Chinese culture, traditionally, people gather and eat together at a round table which enables all participants at the table to physically share food and socially engage with each other - The concept of the my app is similar to this idea of sharing, eating and connecting together so I ended up naming the app RoundTable.
I started off my design process my conducting a comparative analysis of similar apps which helped me gather insights about the design, functionality & user experience of other similar apps. After conducting research and gathering insights, I created user personas for my two target user groups in order to understand their specific user needs & pain points. My two main target user groups are: experience hosts; those who want to share food by hosting food experiences and experience seekers those who are interested in learning about different foods and cuisines and want to meet and connect with others through food experiences. This then went to inform me on how to ideate a solution that caters to their needs and eliminate pain points. Gathering all the information I collected, I mapped out a system map in order to visualize and organize the functions and areas of the app and how they can be navigated. I also created a user journey map for both user groups in order to map out the steps and stages users through to achieve their end goals and what type of information will be displayed at each step of the journey. To clarify every step and type of interaction that the user and system go through to achieve smaller goals, I created use cases for both my target user groups and created wireframes in order to build the blueprint for the prototype. Next, I created a functional prototype and applied visual design treatment, which is then used for user testing. During my usability tests, I was able to gather feedback and critique on ways I can improve the prototype and I made iterations on my prototype based on the feedback I received to improve the design and function of my app. Lastly, I refined and finalized the design of my prototype and the interaction flows on my prototype.
RoundTable enables home cooks, chefs or anyone to host food experiences and share their culinary culture or experience with other people. The platform also allows users to explore dynamic and unique food experiences in different places, from different cultures. Users can explore in-person or online experiences and try social or private experiences. This app was designed to bring people together through food, therefore through RoundTable, users are able to connect with others who share the same love for food. In addition to these features, Roundtable ensures the safety and security of users by fostering communication and trust between all parties on the platform through implementing thorough safety measures.
During the process of creating this app prototype, I learned that problem exploration through research and rapid ideation (through design sprints) were critical for the development of the app as it allowed me to explore, understand and pin point the fundamental problems I am addressing and the people that I am designing for which shaped the outcome of my design solution. I also learned to embrace uncertainty and the iterative process of discovering and reshaping my ideas through trial and error over time. The uncertainty of everything pushed me to research, learn and explore in order to come up with optimal ideas at the end.