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raise awareness of how emotions affect eating behaviors
Driven by the shared curiosity towards the intricate connections between body, food and mood, Megan and I initiated this project. We conducted 13 in-depth interviews and a survey with 31 respondents to investigate attitudes towards emotional eating and related behaviors. We tailored major insights into a service concept that aims to raise awareness and provide tools for managing a better body-food-mood relationship.
Duration
6 weeks
Team
Tina Qi + Megan Willy
Type
Individual Projet
My Role
User Research, Ideation, Wireframing, Prototyping, Visual Communication
Step1: Invitation

During the invitation process, user will be introduced about emotional eating and asked if he or she is willing to use this service. If yes, basic information like the goals of using this service and attituides towards emotional eating will be collected.

Step2: 10 self-tracking sessions

After the service started, a button will show up at any video the user watches on this platform, reminding the user to track his or her emotional eating behavior. If the user didn't eat emotionally, he or she can skip or ignore the message.

Step3: Report & Suggestions

A personal report will be created after 10 sessions are completed. It will present the data and evaluation of the user's emotional eating behaviors, like frequency, average calorie intake, and major emotional triggers. Suggestions will be provided alongside according to user's needs.

Report Interface
Research
1/
What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is using food to fill one’s emotional needs rather than the stomach.
The emotions we are interested in here are not necessarily bad emotions; having chocolate when feeling stressed and happily rewarding oneself with ice cream are both valid reasons for emotional eating. It might have a negative impact on one's physical mental health. The system map on the right shows the process, from the beginning to the side effects, of emotional eating.

2/
Interview

In user interviews, we intended to identify specific problems and opportunities in this problem area by uncovering the reasons for emotional eating and understanding emotional eating behaviors. We interviewed 13 people between 21 to 37, from both genders, who have emotional eating habits. We found an interesting insight:

Most participants brought up that they tend to watch videos while they are eating emotionally.

3/
Survey

In order to verify patterns identified from the interviews and answer extra questions that emerged from analyzing interview data, a 10-question survey was conducted and 31 people responded. Check the full results here.

One major finding is, 67% of respondents watch TV or videos while eating emotionally.

Other findings:

  • 55% of respondents don't feel guilty after emotional eating.
  • 58% of respondents enjoy emotional eating.
  • 67% of respondents want to find other ways to channel their emotions.
  • Top 3 emotions that trigger emotional eating are stress, anxiety and boredom.
  • More people worried about emotional eating's impact on their body shape than health.
4/
Emotional Eating Journey

This journey map is a synthesis of the data collected from the interviews and the survey. It illustrates the 5 stages of emotional eating, the typical behaviors and emotional changes along this process.

Define
Insights

1/Users are pretty acceptable about emotional eating
Occasional emotional eating is not necessary bad, it becomes a problem when a person over-eats, eat too frequently, feels guilty (after occasional emotional eating) and isn’t aware of the emotional trigger.

2/Blalance the needs of body and mind
Most emotional eating problems are the results of only taking care of the body or mind, ignoring the needs of another. Having control over emotional eating means balancing the needs of both sides.

3/Videos watching as a main scenario
Emotional eating happens a lot while one is watching videos.

Opportunity

An online video platform based service that aims to raise awareness of how emotions affect eating behaviors and provide suggestions for more control over handling this body-food-mind relationship. This service is unique in the following 3 aspects:

Develop
1/
Concept Development

We developed this concept into a 4-part service: invitation, emotional eating self-tracking, report, and suggestion. In the last stage, suggestion, the user will be connected to a bundle of advice and services that customized to his or her needs and can be applied to different stages along the emotional eating process.

2/
Sketches & Wireframes

When developing prototype, we decided to focus on the two major parts, the self-tracking interface and the report.

3/
Major Iterations

During the early prototyping and user testing, 3 major problems, 2 on the data entry interface and 1 on the report page, were identified and solved alongside with other minor usability problems.

Problem1
Estimating the weight of chips is a difficult task for the user.

Solution
To make the input process more intuitive, I changed measurement from weight to the portion of a bag and added 3 options for user's convenience. Given sometimes a food have several bag sizes, a "package size selection" step was added after selecting a food.

Problem2
Window modal is too aggressive as an invitation for data input. User needs to close the window modal when they don't need to record, which will happen a lot during the tracking period and will hugely interrupt their experience of using the video platform.

Solution
Use a button instead of a window modal to invite the user to track their emotional eating behaviors. It shows alongside with "Watch Credits" and "Next Episode" buttons at the end of every video, as an integrated part of the interface. User can easily ignore it when there is no need to record.

Problem3
Two parts of the result, averaged data and "diagnosis", are separated and far away from each other on the page, which contradictswith user's intuition.

Solution
In the refined design, I split "detailed information" and "summary and results". This design received positive feedback from users. They found it more intuitive to navigate the page and find needed information.