Grocery Shopping is a necessary task that most of us do at least once a month. We spend a large amount during the course of a week in purchasing, cooking, and consuming food, and it is essential for us to make informed decisions about the food we eat. But, to get that information while shopping along with managing your kids and family, takes time, and generally people are stressed for time. With this general problem space in mind, we sent out a survey to potential to know what specific frustration is out there and refine our problem space. Here are some survey results we found.
Based on the feedback, we found parent-child shopping model is one of the most interesting problems we want to tackle with yet no one has done much before. In the field of educational technology, we aim at creating a solution for parents that will improve their shopping experience by making it more efficient, less time consuming, and assist in managing their children. We do not intend to create an interface that just helps parents track their kids, but rather a system that engages their children in the whole experience of shopping and getting more cognizant with the products they consume.
Edu Shop is a design intervention as a smart gaming device, which intends to gamify the whole shopping experience for kids. The idea is essentially to make the shopping experience a potential venture for the kids to learn and shop together with their parents. Our design is a gaming device for the kids, who get to scan product items through the device from the endless pool of items like fruits, vegetables, stationery items, dairy products etc. After the product is scanned the child is given very simple tasks in the form of interesting games, which are fun to do, and drives interest in the kid to take part in. This exercise not only engages the kid to play but also is a good activity to enable everyday life’s object recognition for young kids. They get to know what are the various kinds of fruits, vegetables, how do they look like, what is their color etc.
Shop Eye is an intelligent wearable device designed to impart easy data visualization. This information would allow parents to make quick and informed product decisions. With this add-on, parents are better informed to select healthier food choices for their kids from the huge pool of food choices available in the grocery. We propose a miniature version of a Google glass as a wearable device, which allows hands free data visualization to the parents.
Spot Online is a solution, which helps families shop together while one partner is at the store and the other one is looking after the kids at home. With Spot-Online, all family members can collaborate and shop together, even when members are not at the store. The father just has to scan the QR Code of the product/s while his wife and children can help him make a decision of what to buy. This reduces trips for exchanging back products. Families can also look at the conversation history later and look at social networking sites to get further reviews about a particular product. They also get to view recommended food items and other important health/ nutritional information.
From the aforementioned three design alternatives, the invaluable feedback from the poster session, and our final brainstorming session, we narrowed down our design idea to one concept. We decided to go with the handheld, gamified educational interface mentioned above.
In this idea, the parent has a smartphone application in which they can scan products they plan to purchase as they shop. The child receives a handheld device with a display, provided by the grocery store, to play entertaining and educational games with while on the shop premises. This device is connected and synced to the parent’s application. When the parent scans a product, it is sent to the child’s device and also added to a checkout shopping cart list. This shopping list is to speed up checkout, and provide a valuable reason to the parents for the interface’s use. The parent’s application will provide customizable exclusion lters, such as pharmaceuticals, hygienic items, and non-food items, to determine which scanned products to show on the child’s device.
The game we envisioned was a recipe cooking game. Utilizing the items being scanned and purchased, the child can see possible recipes that could be prepared and choose virtual meals from these to prepare. There would also be an option to create custom dishes. They can see how various items are utilized to make dishes. The interface would show visualizations of the items being prepared. A breakdown of the nutritional components, such as the total calories of a dish being calculated by the sum of each item’s calories, could also be provided and gamified. This allows for basic mathematical principles to be incorporated.
Wireframes of the homepage, scanning page, item info page, recipe making page and selling page.
Item Info Page
Recipe Making Page
Bidding Arena Page
We conducted our formal user study with 5 kids in a controlled environment and also conducted an informal study on 3 children in grocery stores in Atlanta, and found that our idea of a recipe making gaming was well received by the kids. A majority of the subjects liked the concept and they enjoyed playing the game. The drag and drop feature of the game garnered maximum interest and created the excitement to participate in the game. At the same time, we realized that the scanning feature of the prototype created some confusion in the participants. Some of them had hard time understanding how to make the scanning work during the testing. But nevertheless, they understood that it’s just a prototype and thus the final system would be embedded with a much more sensitive system to scan food items.
Majority of users liked the food information page which showed detailed food specifications, along with the respective pros and cons of each food item. However, some of the textual information was difficult for them to read. We also found that the children did not take the time to read about information of the food items. We observed that they easily grasped those information with graphical representations like pictures or small icons. One more problem we found that while making the recipe health information bar was unnoticed by them, which essentially was an important feature in the design of the game. So, the children were not able to understand why they were getting a good/bad score after they finished making the recipe.