An app helps students to find someone to eat with
Mealbuddy is an iOS-based mobile app that I did for my personal interests during my study at Arizona State University. It helps college students to find someone to eat with, without feeling awkward and build connections within campus.
Role: Research, UI/UX design, User Testing
Date: Mar. 2015- Jul. 2015
Keywords: Campus, Social Networking
Through my observations, I found many college students eat alone. This finding is so prevalent that aroused my interests: Why do they eat alone? Do they want to do so? If not, is there anything I can help with? To explore their thoughts and needs, I interviewed ten students from Arizona State University, five male and five female students. Three of them are graduate students, and the rest are undergraduate students. All of them have eaten alone before, and the main reason is that they have different schedules with their friends. However, they do not like eating alone but they cannot find someone to eat with.
Target users are college students, faculty members, or anyone has an Arizona State University (ASU) email account. Although this system could be potentially extended to other universities and colleges in future, for now, it is designed for ASU members.
PROBLEM AND USER NEEDS
Currently, there is no system that exclusively helps college students and faculty members to find someone to eat with. Most students ask their friends out via texting messages, Facebook messages, phone calls or in person, which is low efficiency since they have to input messages and send out to each person. Moreover, some students believe having a meal together could be a good opportunity for social networking, but it is not appropriate to talk to someone in the same restaurant randomly. Despite of their needs, users do have concerns about security and their privacy. They do not want to just eat with some random strangers.
After prototyped the interactive version of this app in Justinmind, I did usability testing with eight target users. Most of them agreed that there is a need for this app, and provided useful insights. For example, messaging is necessary since users want to get to know each other in advance so that they can have topics to talk about during the meal. Also, evaluators believed this is an efficient way to building connections. For instance, they need career suggestions from graduating students in same majors. Additionally, they shared their ideas about future improvements. Some of them believed features like adding friends could also be integrated and this app could also be extended to other use, such as to find a gym buddy.