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Food Tracker

Academic Project

Instructor: Karen Berntsen, Skip Shelly

Time Span: 4 Weeks

Contribution: UX Design, Prototyping, Motion Design

Team Members: Meng Wan, Andrew Wang, Shuo Wang


Food Tracker is a mobile app which connects food truck owners and customers to solve "food desert" issue around campus. Food truck owners could make their schedule based on different locations in Pittsburgh and also provide a platform for customers to pre-order food online ahead of time. In this way, customers who rely on food truck as their main lunch source could be aware of the schedule of food trucks on a specific corporate area and organize their lunch plan ahead of time.

To better present the existing micro-interaction, I create the motion design of the app with Principle. After nailing down all the details of hi-fi screens, I import part of the UI elements into Principle to create the interactions following the main user flow.

Let's dive into the context first


Design Process


Contextual Inquiry

The food desert problem is a real experience for the team members who study in ETC. People in the building always have the problem to get access to food. We plan to tackle this problem from the area around ETC and then expand to whole Pittsburgh. To better understand the problem we want to solve, we reached out the stakeholders to do some inquiry as the first stage of research. Megan is the food truck coordinator of ETC. She is our first choice to gain more information about the whole flow of making a schedule for food truck in front of ETC.

Co-Design Session

Time: 04/20 11:00 am- 12:30 pm

3 Participants:  

  • Food Truck Owner: Michelle

  • GSA Reps: Sahar

  • ETC Student: Niharika(Vegetarian)

Participants picture their future life with Food Tracker

Co-Design Agenda

1.Intro 10 min

2 min- Introduce  co-design session

3 min- Current problem: food desert

5 min- Break Ice and Self Introduction


2.Brainstorming 18 min

8 min- Free discussion

5 min- Generate post-it note ideas

3 min- Group notes into categories

2 min- Selection of favourite ideas


3. Sketch Exercise 15 min

Free discussion

Draw storyboard for favorite idea

4. Summary 17min

Refine storyboard

Discuss the main problems we are faced & Make a list

How to solve the problems

Ideas from Users

Based on the solutions our participants generated, we sorted out the needs in common, which is a "Schedule System"

Participants generate ideas to solve the problem


  • Information Asymmetry: try to fill the information gap between both sides

From the research, we found that there is a big information gap between food truck owners and customers. Both sides expect to know more about each other, such as food truck information, concrete schedules, number of orders and etc.

  • ​Build Trust: build up a mechanism for business guarantee

During the co-design session, we realized that food truck owner and customer all have concern about stability of the business. For the uncertain weather in Pittsburgh and blurry information, it's hard to develop the business from both side.

  • Establish Mobile Food Community: invite as much as food truck to join us

The key factor of forming a health mobile food ecosystem is we need to invite as much as food trucks to join us. We should focus the value we could create especially for food truck owners as a beginning.


Artboard 5.png

​Set Up Core Mechanism

Design Process

From the co-design session, we know food truck owner and customers have different need based on their perspective. We wrote down all the features we should cover in the app and finish the card sorting to select all the features we need. Compared with squeezing all the features into one app for different stakeholders, we decided to separate them into two end with more clear flow.

We went through rounds of Collaborative Sketching exercise on  whiteboard to generate basic flow for users.






Preordering was implemented to provide users who want to preplan their week. By ordering in advance, the user will know which days they’ve already ordered for, and which days they still need to prepare for. They’ll also be able to click on the day to go directly to the map view. Truck owners will then be able to view the pre-order information and gain a better understanding of what their most popular dishes are and how many people to expect.


Weekly Experience

One major feature presented within the app is the ability to see a weekly schedule of which food trucks are present on each day. This functions as a way for users to prepare for the week in advance. It essentially guarantees reliable schedule to follow for the week and lets the user prepare for days that they may want to make food themselves or get food elsewhere.


By clicking on the day, the user will be able to see detailed information about which food trucks are available on the day with the food truck menu and a description about what types of food the food truck serves as well as hours of operation.


Navigation & Notification 

The live map was also an incredibly important feature of our application. One of the biggest concerns our participants expressed was the inability to know when and where the food trucks were. This made the process of checking a lot more stressful and was a constant daily burden. We plan to track each available food truck spot and have an automatic location check-in process for each food truck that can provide the time they arrive at the spot as well as which specific location they’ve arrived at. If the user has pre-ordered any food they can see what their order was and receive a push notification thirty minutes before their food and food truck are expected to arrive. This way the user is prepared throughout the day and doesn’t need to think about when and where their lunch is. It increases the reliability of the system from the user’s perspective and when more food trucks and locations are implemented into the system, it could easily be modified to see the map by food desert location as well.


Product Roadmap

We designed our roadmap to envision how our service would be implemented in different versions and what additional value we could add in the future. 

The major goal of our current version is to kill the Corporate Food Desert.

The initial version of the application focuses on the implementation of the initial features as outlined above. The focus of this version is to receive extensive customer and user feedback about the app in its current state, as well as gauge how effective the voting system is. In order to do this we decided to isolate the application to just one food desert for now. This makes it easier to monitor especially as the food desert is one with a coordinator that we already have ties with. If there are any changes that need to be made such as the need for more voting incentives or the need for more information, then the problems will be documented and potential solutions will be generated for the next iteration.

The second version’s primary function is to test the solutions proposed to the problems discovered in version one. This is followed by smaller and more rapid iterations that make minor tweaks rather than larger changes. The main things we’re looking to address is fleshing out the user voting to suit customer expectations better, and supplement the application with any extra information that our users may want to see. We also want to make sure that the truck owners are getting the maximum value out of the app, so any type of data they may want tracked or interface optimizations will be put into place during this version as well. The goal of this version is to make a stable app that we know works in this food desert so that we can start expanding the application to fit other food deserts as well.

Version three is the last major version we’re proposing. This version would have a stable application that is already ready for a single location but is missing the generalizability of additional locations. This phase would include the incorporation of all food deserts in Pittsburgh. Potential concerns to address in this phase would be the problems surrounding scalability and flexibility. Different food deserts may have conditions that need addressing, and it would be important to address those conditions should the need arise. Once the food truck application is fully scaled up, the “final” version will have been achieved and a new project roadmap should be developed from that point forward taking into account the situation at that moment.

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