Food Donation App - Mobile

UX Design
Various Produce
Project Type
UX Design
Project Year
Receipt download complete screen
user profile screen
Assigning driver screen
welcome page screen
No items found.

I. Project Overview

The Problem:  

In America roughly 40% of all food produced is lost to landfills. This has lead to severe economic and environmental repercussions, as well as leaving 1 in 8 Americans in a food insecure situations. The logistical strain of food donation for private households, businesses, agricultural entities, and Non-profit food resource programs has deterred many from donating to those in need.  My mission was to create an app that will aid our communities by creating lasting partnerships, easing logistical strain, and ultimately create a connection while bridging the gap between excess food waste and the multitude of Americans living in food-insecure situations.

The Solution:

A mobile app that allows its users to donate items easily and initiate a pickup and delivery while making a measurable impact in their communities.

My Role:

Lead UX Designer (Research, Interaction, Visual Design)

II. Research

During the research phase, I aimed to better understand who was contributing to excessive food waste in America and what were the main contributing factors that held people back from using food donation as a means to solve this problem. I also needed to hone in on who would be our ideal user and how to best create a product to meet their needs. 

Research Goals:

1. Define the main pain points in the process of bridging the gap between excess food waste and the issue of food insecurity. 

2. Learn what methods our prospective users are currently utilizing for handling excess food waste.

3. Discover how Non-Profit food resource programs currently receive the bulk of their donations.

4. Define common behaviors and emotions among prospective users directly related to food donation.

5. Understand what motivates users regarding the food donation space. 

Secondary Research: Data Collection

First, I conducted secondary research to dive deep into the main contributing factors of excessive food waste in America and the known repercussions. I then continued by gathering data on the current laws and tax regulations that may either help or hinder businesses from incorporating food donation into their models for dealing with their contribution to the issue of excessive food waste. I then searched for information as to the opportunity to help solve this issue in America using the tech space as the main vehicle for change.

Secondary Research: Heuristic Analysis

Due to the unique nature of the Provision mobile application, I was unable to find any direct competitors to perform a competitive analysis. In lieu of direct competitors, I chose to complete an analysis of those using a similar model in a somewhat related field. My chosen “competitors” were that of food delivery services. I aimed to review their similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses in an effort to create a product that will feel familiar to my users while offering the best possible experience. 

My heuristics analysis produced the following insights:

  • Many of these applications contained so much information that it had the potential to be cognitively overwhelming for the user.
  • The tone of the applications felt upbeat and efficient
  • Many of the apps did a great job of creating a simple, clean, and informative account creation process. 
  • Minimal design was the esthetic that was achieved overall, but almost all apps used various colors, graphics, and images that felt overwhelming at times. 


To gather a greater understanding of my prospective user, I screened 30 potential users for participation in the interview process and selected five of them. Of those selected, all were over the age of 18. Some other characteristics that the participants shared were:

  1. They were all open to discussing their current methods of handling excess food, how they came to this method, and if they were satisfied.
  1. They all had the means to participate in food donation privately, through an employer, or their own business. 
  1. All of the participants had participated in the food donation process in the past in some capacity.


Following the user interviews, I took some time to review this valuable information and create a series of notes and collected statements. Each interview participant was assigned a specific color. 

Then I worked to define main categories or “themes” within the information I had collected. These broke down into several categories, including:

1. Programs for food donation – Here is where I divided whether our participants had interacted directly with a Food Bank or similar program in the past, or whether they had made their donations indirectly through things such as canned food drives, drop-off locations, etc. 

2. Reasons for not donating — This category held information directly related to a user’s decision not to participate in donation. 

3. Current methods for handling excess food — This space is where all the information that was gathered on current food elimination methods was kept. 

4. Benefits of donation for the user — Here I filed any benefits our users felt like they had received from the food donation process. These could be emotional benefits, community involvement, positive reinforcement, and so on.  

5. Missed opportunities — This area is where I placed anything that stood out as a missed opportunity in the food donation process. These included things like education surrounding the process and its benefits, as well as income barriers. 

6. Types of donations made in the past —  Lastly the types of donations our interviewers had made in the past were all placed under this category. It was essential to understand what items were perceived as donatable by our participants. 

Through the process of affinity mapping through thematic analysis, I was able to gain powerful insights into potential users:

1. It is vital for users to feel that they are making an impact and not just donating unhealthy shelf-stable items that don’t always help the issue. 

2. Users stated that they often felt disconnected from the communities in need and unaware of the real impact that they could make. 

3. Users want to make a difference, but life is busy and doesn’t always allow for specific trips to drop off donations.

4. Businesses want to make an impact in their communities but don’t always know where they stand legally within their city, county, or state. 

5. Financially the logistics of a regular donation is challenging for a business, and when it comes down to it, they often cannot make it fit into their bottom line. 

Secondary Research: Empathy Maps

I created four preliminary personas that reflected the data collected through user research. This step allowed me to take the time to understand Provision’s targeted users and think about how best to appeal to varying demographics. 


1. How might we create a sense of the relationship between those in food-secure households/organizations looking to serve and those in food-insecure situations? 

2. How might we provide better education surrounding food donation?

3. How might we make personal donations more convenient?

4. How might we improve logistics for businesses looking to donate?

5. How might we increase partnerships with small farms, local restaurants, and grocery stores?

III. Design & Ideate


Next, I considered the business goals, user goals, and considerations for stakeholders. After identifying common goals I was able to determine what product features would be most impactful for the prototype. 


To keep my initial ideas aligned with the user’s goals, I created a user story map to lay out what the user might want or need to accomplish while using the product and the necessary functions they would require to do so. 

IV. Information architecture

In order to better define the vision for the product, a list of app features and functions was created. This process was accomplished by using cumulative research to help make a clear order of prioritization. 


The next phase in the process was to create a site map for Provision that used information hierarchy to outline the navigation of the app. 

V. Test


To begin the wireframing process I started out by sketching some main screens for Provision. This afforded me the ability to think about how best to format the layout and content in order to best serve the prospective user. The sketches I created served as the starting point for my digital wireframes.


To test this iteration of provision, I chose five volunteers to work through the main flows, using the low fidelity sketches. I was able to conduct these tests in person. I gave each participant my phone with the prototype created in Marvel open. I then conducted a testing process where I asked each user to work within the following scenarios:

  1. The users tested the routes of creating a new account for the following
  • New Driver
  • Private Donor
  • Business Donor
  • Non-Profit Food Resource Org.
  1. They were also asked to complete the following functions:
  • Completing a donation
  • Receiving a donation at a non-profit
  • Completing a donation pickup and drop-off as a driver

My goal during this testing process was to ensure that the most important functions within the application were intuitive and user-centered. These included: signing up, signing in, initiating a donation, the pick-up and delivery process, and the reception of an incoming donation. 


The next phase was to take the information gleaned from the guerilla usability testing and advance the design to the next level. I created a series of low-fidelity wireframes to give an even better idea as to how the UI for this product would ultimately be presented.

VI. Design

Brand Development

After taking into consideration what exists in the current market for this type of product, reviewing common designs for similar products, and my user research, I began to create a product that could help bring food donation and excess elimination into the technical sphere. 

I created a company named Provision. The name was chosen to convey the idea of providing for others with the forethought or “vision” of a community without hunger. This brand is not just looking to meet the needs of now, but to extend into the future to meet the ever-changing landscape. 

Provision aims to inspire a genuine connection within the communities we service and provide an outlook to a brighter future while simplifying the logistics that can hold people back from completing the food donation process.   

I then created a brand identity for Provision with our Brand attributes being: to be Warm, Trustworthy, Efficient, Collaborative, Celebratory. User research showed that the feeling of warmth, efficiency, collaboration, and celebration was thought to be missing from the food donation process. We wanted to create something that was able to reshape the community's thoughts on the whole process.


Next, I created a color pallet and fonts that aligned with the brand’s identity. The primary colors I chose for my palate were a fresh green that I simply called “Grass.” The color feels fresh and promises something new. Secondly, I chose a crisp pure white simply titled “Snow'' which worked great as our light UI contrast. The accessory colors consist of a deep green, titled “Deep Jade.” This color can be found in our brand’s logo. A warm red, titled “Ruby'', to aid in the event that there is an error on the page. There are also grayscale colors, Charcoal, Rain, and Mist that aided in the cohesive design of the UI.


Now that so much had come together through user research, usability testing, and the creation of the brand’s identity, the moment had come to dig into what Provision could ultimately be. I designed my high-fidelity mockups. Each screen was created thoughtfully and with great attention to detail using Figma as the design tool of choice. Each and every design decision that was made ultimately pointed back to my research of both similar products and Provision’s targeted users. I did this while keeping the brand’s goals in mind.

VII. Iteration


After creating a prototype of my high-fidelity mockups, I conducted another round of usability testing. Five users were asked to perform the same tasks as in the previous round of usability testing. My goal was to discover if the design solved the problems that arose during the original usability test, and to see if the design could meet the user’s needs. 

Ultimately, I discovered that a few of the screens had too similar of a look and this confused some users. I also received great feedback as to what the user might want to see phrased differently or where a different option felt more natural. I took this information and made new adjustments to the design which resulted in the addition of a few new screens and some simple rewording.

Upon completing the new adjustments to my design, I recruited five new users to assist with the second round of usability testing. I had the same goals as in the previous test, but with the addition of wanting to see if the new iteration solved the issues that arose with the previous testing group. 

During this testing process, things went very smoothly. All suggestions that came from our user test group tended to be related to slight preferences that could be easily implemented. Overall this round of testing resulted in a user experience that was intuitive

and pleasing to the participants.

VIII. Conclusion and Next Steps

Overall this project has the earmarks of success, and for that, I am incredibly proud. This is a subject matter that I am extremely passionate about. To have the opportunity to create a real viable solution to a living, breathing problem, and know that the user, who holds all the power to make the biggest impact, was kept at the center of the design through every step of the process, is very satisfying.

Throughout this process, I learned so much about the root causes of this issue, who wants to be a part of the solution and the pain points that hold so many back. I chose to look for solutions that were viable and felt familiar to today’s users, and ultimately I believe that I have created a product that can fit nicely into the daily lives of so many and be a real catalyst for change in. 

Provisions Prototype

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I am open to collaboration and creation in all industries. If you have a desire to see how a user-centered design can improve your business, please reach out.

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