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Final Year Project 2017-18

Bia:
Connecting students through the power of food

Author
Thomas Wall – 14147238

Supervisor
Dr. Gabriela Avram

B.Sc. Digital Media Design - LM113


Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
April 2018
Research Question

How could a technology be used to encourage students to share food together and be
of benefit to them on their everyday life and development?

Abstract

Bia' - a speculative design project which looks to connect and encourage students on
campus to meet up and share meals together. The app allows students to see who in
their close location is organising meals that can be joined. Those who attend must
contribute to the meal by bringing a required ingredient. The aim is to encourage
students to eat healthily while socialising and meeting new people, learn to cook a
range of meals, reduce food wastage and benefit from positive food practices.

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Project Summary

Food waste is a major problem in our society. The estimate expenditure on food for a
student during an academic year in the University of Limerick is €2,630 (Ul.ie, 2017).
Yet a lot of the food that is bought by students will be thrown out. Exploring potential
technologies that could support potential food sharing on campus is the goal of this
FYP.

To pursue this FYP topic, I have familiarised myself with existing HCI literature on food
waste and researched similar initiatives. I undertook fieldwork (interviews, focus
groups, observation) and designed a prototype for an application that encourages
positive food practices. The prototype was evaluated with potential users and went
through a redesign cycle.

Taking note of what challenges other communities, groups, and people have faced in
combating food waste and how they overcame or solved these challenges helped me
understand the problem itself and find possible solutions and strategies for house
sharing situations. This research formed the basis of my literature review. Exploring
and testing various existing technologies, devices, websites, mobile applications, and
installations, how they deal with the problem of food waste, how effective they are,
and what there is to learn gave me inspiration for designing an effective support
technology.

My main goal was to identify a problem in relation to food waste, and then design,
implement and evaluate a solution to combat the issue at hand. I decided to develop
a prototype that promotes the process of food sharing amongst students, whilst
allowing them to build new friendships with other people, and learning new cooking
techniques, meals and developing on their food practices.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my supervisor, Gabriela Avram, for the level of support and
guidance she offered me and her ability to push me to do more. I feel this project was
a brilliant fit for my interests and I was very passionate throughout the course of my
project in creating a technology that could have an impact on people’s everyday lives.

I would like to thank all the lectures and staff within the CSIS department and
elsewhere who helped me out, even if it was in a minor sense. A big thank you to those
who participated in my field studies and research for giving up their time to benefit
my project.

Thank you to my friends and loved ones for motivating me. Finally, I would like to
thank my parents for their constant support and giving me the opportunity to attend
this University, it wouldn’t be possible without them.

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Declaration

I, Thomas Wall declare that this final year project is presented in partial fulfilment of
the requirements of the Bachelors of Science in Digital Media Design, at the University
of Limerick, Dept. of Computer Science and Information Systems. It is entirely my own
work and has not been submitted to any other University or higher education
institution, or for any other academic award in this University. Where use has been
made of the work of other people, it has been fully acknowledged and referenced.

Signed _________________ Date _________________

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Table of Contents

Research Question ..................................................................................................................... 2


Abstract ...................................................................................................................................... 2
Project Summary........................................................................................................................ 3
Acknowledgments...................................................................................................................... 4
Declaration ................................................................................................................................. 5
Table of Contents ....................................................................................................................... 6
Table of Figures .......................................................................................................................... 8
1.Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 9
1.1 Overview .......................................................................................................................... 9
1.2 Motivations and Influences ........................................................................................... 10
1.3 Project Aims & Objectives.............................................................................................. 11
2. Literature Review ................................................................................................................. 13
2.1 Domestic Food Waste .................................................................................................... 13
2.2 Food Sustainability Practices and Strategies ................................................................. 14
2.3 Promotion of good food practices ................................................................................. 14
2.4 Mobile Applications on Food Waste .............................................................................. 16
2.5 Irish Food Sharing Organisations ................................................................................... 19
2.6 Cradle to Cradle Design.................................................................................................. 22
3. Methodology ........................................................................................................................ 24
3.1 Breakdown of steps ....................................................................................................... 24
3.2 Target Group .................................................................................................................. 24
3.2 Field Study Methods ...................................................................................................... 25
3.2.1 Self-Reflection ......................................................................................................... 26
3.2.2 Online Survey .......................................................................................................... 27
3.2.3 Observations ........................................................................................................... 28
3.2.4 Interviews................................................................................................................ 30
3.2.5 Focus Groups........................................................................................................... 33
3.3 Field Study Conclusions.................................................................................................. 36
4. Findings ................................................................................................................................ 37
4.1 What I’ve discovered to this point ................................................................................. 37
4.2 Conducting my field study ............................................................................................. 37
4.3 Influences of others ....................................................................................................... 38
4.4 Planning meals ............................................................................................................... 38

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4.5 The living circumstances ................................................................................................ 39
4.6 Cooking and Sharing meals ............................................................................................ 40
4.7 The relationship between students ............................................................................... 41
4.8 Food usage practices...................................................................................................... 41
4.9 What students feel can be done .................................................................................... 42
4.10 Field Study Conclusions ............................................................................................... 42
5. Design Process ..................................................................................................................... 44
5.1 Overview ........................................................................................................................ 44
5.2 Selection of Specific Technology .................................................................................... 44
5.3 Task Analysis .................................................................................................................. 45
5.4 Low Fidelity Prototype: Sketches & Wireframes ........................................................... 47
5.5 User Evaluation .............................................................................................................. 49
5.4.1 Results of User Evaluation ...................................................................................... 50
5.6 High Fidelity Prototype .................................................................................................. 52
5.6.1 Features and Functionality ..................................................................................... 52
5.6.2 App Logo Creation................................................................................................... 52
5.6.3 Choosing Fonts ........................................................................................................ 53
5.6.4 Choosing a Colourway............................................................................................. 54
5.6.5 Choosing an App Name ........................................................................................... 54
6. Cooperative Evaluation ........................................................................................................ 56
6.1 Cooperative Evaluation Results ................................................................................. 56
6.2 Debrief ....................................................................................................................... 58
6.3 Final Product .............................................................................................................. 60
7. Project Evaluation and Future Development....................................................................... 61
7.1 Project Evaluation ...................................................................................................... 61
7.2 Future Development .................................................................................................. 61
8. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................ 63
9. References ........................................................................................................................... 66
10. Bibliography ....................................................................................................................... 69
11. Appendices......................................................................................................................... 71
11.1 Appendix 1: Information Sheet - Interview ................................................................. 71
11.2 Appendix 2: Consent Form – Interview ....................................................................... 72
11.3 Appendix 3: Initial Questions – Interview .................................................................... 73
11.4 Appendix 4: Online Survey Results ............................................................................. 74
11. 5 Appendix 5: Low Fidelity Screens................................................................................ 79
11.6 Appendix 6: Finished App Screens ............................................................................... 81

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11.7 Appendix 7: Promotional Posters ................................................................................ 84
11.8 Appendix 8: Demo Day Poster ..................................................................................... 87
11.9 Appendix 9: App Walkthrough ..................................................................................... 88
11.10 Appendix 10: Breakdown of Work ............................................................................. 89

Table of Figures

Figure 1 Researching food apps on the iOS store .................................................................... 16


Figure 2 Poster advertising the event ...................................................................................... 19
Figure 3 People enjoying the street feast ................................................................................ 20
Figure 4 Members of FoodCloud about to make a delivery .................................................... 21
Figure 5 Responses from one of my survey questions ............................................................ 27
Figure 6 Students checking out the food stalls in the UL Courtyard ....................................... 29
Figure 7 UL Rooftop garden being cultivated by volunteers ................................................... 30
Figure 8 Posters promoting the food share boxes from CLS ................................................... 31
Figure 9 UL Environmental Society Installation ....................................................................... 34
Figure 10 History of food initiatives and significant events ..................................................... 35
Figure 11 Two students trying to cook at the same time ........................................................ 39
Figure 12 Fridges are often unorganised and no indication of what is fresh .......................... 39
Figure 13 The sink area with and overflow of cutlery ............................................................. 40
Figure 14 Writing out individual tasks ..................................................................................... 45
Figure 15 My user tasks in full ................................................................................................. 46
Figure 16 Drawing out potential app screens .......................................................................... 47
Figure 17 Using Adobe XD to develop my app ........................................................................ 48
Figure 18 Developing my initial app design ............................................................................. 49
Figure 19 Final logo design ...................................................................................................... 53
Figure 20 Inverted colours for my logo .................................................................................... 53
Figure 21 Font types I considered ............................................................................................ 53
Figure 22 Some Early Possible Colourways For My App .......................................................... 54
Figure 23 My chosen colourway .............................................................................................. 54
Figure 24 The App name and font style ................................................................................... 55
Figure 25 The final app design ................................................................................................. 60

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1.Introduction
1.1 Overview

The issue of food waste is connected to and influences the biggest threat to life on our
planet, which is climate change. Food waste causes harm to our environment due to
food being produced, which can involve the use fossil fuels or other energy sources,
but also to food being dumped. According to Foodcloud.com, 300 million barrels of oil
are used each year to produce food that is wasted (FoodCloud, 2017). Tackling this
issue isn’t easy, but there are many people who want to make changes. Through
certain organisations, government incentives, or even individuals, new technologies
are being mobilised to tackle this issue. Raising awareness is one of the most effective
strategies, as people become aware of their consumption practices, which can help
them alter their consumption patterns and create efficient and sustainable means to
lessen food waste and live in a more environmentally friendly way.

We, as individuals, recognise food waste as an issue in our society, and yet we find it
difficult to reduce the amount of food that does go to waste. Unintended food waste
occurs in many areas across the supply chain - from growing, cultivating and
transporting, to managing, consuming and disposing of food waste. An estimated one-
third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted around the world
(Chainey, 2015). According to data from Foodwaste.ie, in Ireland there are over one
million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year. Each year, approximately one-
third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted,
according to estimations from Food and Agriculture Organization (Food wastage
footprint, 2017). The matter is not just a financial or environmental concern for
everyone; we, as humans, must consider how we deal with food as our actions are
severely harming the planet, situation we can avoid by making changes.

With regards to my Final Year Project (FYP), college students are part of an age group
that can be taught good practices when it comes to food and waste, as for most it is
their first taste of independent life. Each year, the number of secondary level students
entering higher education increases. Here at the University of Limerick, there are

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approximately 12,500 undergraduate students and over 2600 postgraduate students
(Iua.ie, n.d.). Most of them live in student or shared accommodation - either on
campus or in the surrounding areas.

For most students, dealing with food waste has not been a major concern, as this
would usually be dealt with by their parent(s). As students must learn to cook meals
for themselves in college, they must also take on the task of grocery shopping and
figure out what they need and how much they will need on a day to day basis. Most
students would travel home each weekend also, so shopping must be planned on a
week to week basis, and this can be difficult to figure out, as perishable food that
remains by the Friday would usually need to be thrown out.

Students must also consider the others they share a house with. Each person in shared
accommodation must prepare food, and this is typically done on an individual basis,
instead of shared meals. Understanding the patterns of individuals within a household
and their planning, buying and cooking habits, along with the lack of collaboration
between people when it comes to food waste, plays an important part for
understanding and identifying reasons for food waste. Undertaking observations,
focus groups and interviews played a big part in my effort to understand these habits
amongst students.

1.2 Motivations and Influences

The growing problem of food waste in industrialised countries and its effect on the
environment is a major concern for every person, not just government leaders and
activists. It is a major concern for every person, as each person can influence the
problem by reducing the amount of food they waste each day. Being a student in
college myself, I see the alarming amounts of food wasted daily, and how it can be
avoided by changing basic habits. This is a big motivation for me wanting to contribute
to this topic with my Final Year Project and I feel I can influence and reduce the
negative impact revolving around food waste. By studying the literature around the
topic, I feel I can tackle this problem and create a system that could be easily adopted
by Universities, Colleges and the student body.

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From my experience of living away from home over the past four years, I have faced
many situations and issues with food waste with people I have lived with in shared
housing. Learning what food to buy, how to cook it, and how to manage it to prevent
it from going off was a big learning curve in my development towards being an adult.
To this day, I still find it difficult to keep a very low level of food in the house that will
eventually go to waste. It is easy to pick up on other people's habits when it comes to
food waste, and everyone’s skills vary in how efficient they are when it comes to
buying and using their food. Being quite observant of these behaviours has benefitted
me while undertaking this project, and I feel I learnt a great deal from conducting my
field studies, which has influenced my thought process for creating a technological
solution that will help to reduce food waste on campus.

Another factor of influence for me choosing this topic had to do with the course I am
studying. I have learned that being a designer or creator is not just about making new
things, it is primarily about understanding what people need or want, which leads to
creating things that can improve everyday life for individuals and society, and this
includes environmental issues. Throughout my time in college, I have learned how
technology applications can influence and have a positive impact on people and the
environment. During my cooperative education, I was tasked with producing short
videos of businesses and organisations and their activities that were used for their
online presence. I could witness these videos reaching a wide audience, providing
detailed information on these organisations’ activities.

1.3 Project Aims & Objectives

The first protocol was to gain insight into the food consumptions patterns of my target
group, students in shared accommodation. My aims are to take notes of how students
plan their trips to the grocery shop, especially if certain technologies or methods are
used to aid them in the process. Planning meals seems like an obvious way to reduce
food waste, but students have a lot going on in their everyday running and
understanding how planning meals can have an impact is important.

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Through my field studies, I was interested in finding out what students thought of
sharing food and whether they feel other students would be willing to do so. I wanted
to examine food storage in student residence to see how they are utilised and
investigate if there are problem areas. As my design is aimed at students, I wanted to
make sure I had a deep understanding of their mindsets and what they would like to
see done to improve their food usage patterns.

The next objective was to identify existing sustainable consumption strategies. By


researching existing literature, along with videos, studies etc. I could gain a deeper
understanding of the methods and approaches that have been taken so far to tackle
the issue of food waste by people, communities and government initiatives. Exploring
the existing technologies related to food sustainability was crucial, as this gave me
valuable knowledge of what has been already achieved in the field, and what I could
possibly aspire to create for my FYP. Learning how people are encouraged by
incentives to reduce food waste allowed me to apply these to my project.

The findings from my field studies and literature research played a big part, influencing
my design, along with user evaluation once my prototype was designed and built. The
overall design of the prototype was focused centred on the end user, and on its
effectiveness in reducing food waste on campus.

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2. Literature Review

To undertake this project, I needed a profound understanding of the reasons why food
goes to waste and how this can be prevented through existing methods, which I
learned about from HCI literature relating to the topic at hand. Through my research,
I have learned of typical causes of domestic food waste, tested methods of reducing
this waste, how certain technologies and methods were introduced to tackle these
issues and how successful they were. I also wanted to consider the power of food in
terms of bringing people and communities together, which I cover in my research into
existing initiatives and organisations around Ireland. Learning about these support
applications played a pivotal part in my understanding of how these technologies can
be used to combat the sources of food waste with regards to students living in shared
accommodation. These sources of information led me to create a prototype of my
own, which is focused around the problem of food waste and how we as students can
share food amongst each other.

2.1 Domestic Food Waste

Some statistical figures from FoodCloud, (an Irish grown social enterprise that
connects businesses with surplus food to charities in their local communities that need
it via a software platform) shows that roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted
per year globally (Cederberg et al, 2011). The combined size of China, Mongolia and
Kazakhstan is the equivalent to the size of farmland we use to grow food that is never
eaten (Ward, 2014). It then seems strange to consider that in a world where we
produce enough food to feed everyone, one ninth (815 million) of people do not have
access to food (World Food Programme, n.d.), whilst 1 million tonnes of food are
thrown out every year by Irish consumers and businesses. The average deficit to an
Irish household’s budget from food thrown out is 700 euro per year. Reducing food
waste has been recognised as one of the most important challenges of our time
around the globe (FoodCloud, 2017).

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2.2 Food Sustainability Practices and Strategies

There are efforts being made to combat food waste around the world. 200 countries,
including Ireland, have committed to making changes and tackling the problem by
2030. This means that concerted efforts must be made by individuals, businesses and
organisations. The Food Waste Charter for Ireland was launched and signed by Mr.
Denis Naughten (Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment) in
March 2017. “The Food Waste Charter is a public expression of our commitment to
achieve an Ireland where food is consumed, not wasted” (Food Waste Charter for
Ireland, 2017). The aim of this charter is to bring people together to lower their food
waste through different means, in all parts of the country. To tackle the problems
described, we need information, communication and collaboration amongst everyone
willing to make a difference.

2.3 Promotion of good food practices

People will have many different experiences with food and how they buy and use it,
whether individually or shared alongside others. Knowing how to effectively use food
leads to less food being unused. This can be done in several ways, either through
sharing, group meals, donations etc. In a community environment, there are more
opportunities for this to arise, as people can come together and create good food
practices. And even if people don’t know each other personally, social media has
opened a door for communication to happen in communities of place and
communities of interest. Food has the power to bring people together. “People build
relationships and connections over the experiences offered by meals, a comfortable
commonality” (Gross et al., 2011). The likes of Foodmunity use digital interaction to
bring people together around a shared meal, which allows for easier face-to-face
interactions to take place.

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology undertook a three-month


study to examine the impact of decision-making behaviour regarding food and

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wastage by consumers. The conclusion of this study was that most wastage
behaviours rose from poor information availability regarding food storage (Farr-
Wharton, Foth and Choi, 2014).

More recent in-depth studies were conducted to examine the everyday food practices
around the reasons for food waste to occur in homes. Ganglbauer, Fitzpatrick and
Comber (2013) carried out a study in 14 households. From the analysis of the data
collected, it resulted that food waste is the unintended result of multiple moments of
consumption dispersed in space and time across other integrated practices, such as
shopping and cooking, which themselves are embedded in broader contextual factors
and values. In the article, participants described how food was wasted, determined by
unpredictable circumstances. Some members of the family did not eat as they were
expected to, and over-buying food was a common practice in the households. Based
on the outcomes of the study, food waste is frequently described as an unintended
outcome.

Other studies have attempted to promote awareness around food practices. For
example, Ganglbauer, Fitzpatrick and Güldenpfennig (2015) report on a mobile food
waste diary application that was made available on the App Store and Google Play
Store, with the aim of enabling motivated people to reflect on their food waste
episodes and to explore the causes. The researchers aimed to bridge the knowledge
gap between the moment of throwing food out and the previous experiences before
that food was thrown out. By recording instances of food being wasted, people could
begin to reflect and question why so. And from this, they could be more aware of what
they were doing and if their food practices could be improved over time.

Ganglbauer (2013) demonstrated that there are many possibilities when it comes to
promoting positive food practices. As food waste is one of the key problems in the
range of bad food practices, this is often seen as the first issue to tackle. Kolko (2012)
described how food waste can be considered a wicked problem with no single fitting
approach and solution.

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2.4 Mobile Applications on Food Waste

Initially, I intended to create a mobile


application for my project. To
understand what mobile applications
related to food waste, practices and
sustainability have been developed
and tested, it was important that I
checked through both the Google
Play Store for Android devices, and
the App Store for Apple devices, as it FIGURE 1 RESEARCHING FOOD APPS ON THE IOS STORE
is common to have various apps in each. I was fortunate enough to have access to
both an Android device and an iPad to test apps from these app stores. Studying these
existing apps and seeing how effective they are giving me a good insight into
possibilities of creating a mobile application of my own that would serve the chosen
purpose.

I have tested and evaluated the apps that I found related to my project area and took
notes on the different aspects of each app that were important. The design of the app
was not the most important factor, but played a part in giving me ideas for how an
app could look for this area. The most important aspect of the applications I
considered were their features and functionalities. This was essential, as I needed to
see how an app could possibly help reduce food waste and improve practices; I also
intended to find a gap in the market to avoid duplicating an existing app.

PantryPlan (Madeline Cameron 2017)

PantryPlan is a useful tool for using up a handful of ingredients that might be laying
around in the household. The tool can generate a meal plan including a combination

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of meals that
can be
prepared from
the ingredients
put in by the
user, which
helps reduce
food waste, as many of these ingredients in cupboards and fridges may have
otherwise ended up in the bin. Other features of this app include automatic grocery
lists, custom recipes and pantry tracking. Pantry tracking is useful as it informs the
user of what they already have in their pantry so they don’t buy duplicates when
shopping.

No Food Waste (Boomit Solutions 2017)

No Food Waste is an app that supports businesses willing to


donate excess or unwanted food from the food service
industry to qualified charities that work with those in need.
Users can find charities near to their location and have the
option of delivering the donations themselves, with a route
indicated on their mobile to help them reach the
destination, or they can take a picture of the food they want
to donate and upload it to the app; a notification will be
sent out to the charities, which may then choose to contact
the business to pick up the food. The user can track the delivery of their donated food
to ensure it reaches the appropriate destination.

Wise up on Waste – (Torch B2B, 2014)

The Wise up on Waste app is primarily intended for businesses that want to audit the
amount of food they waste, including spoilage, preparation, and customer leftovers.

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It works by calculating the average waste
generated per day over a certain period. The app
easily allows the user to keep track of the amount
of waste occurring, which is presented to the user
with various graphs, comparisons and
visualisations. Other features of the app include
information in the form of advice and “action tips”
for spoilage, saving, storing and using various
foods. Although this app is not aimed at
individuals and is better suited to businesses, it
could still be a useful tool for those who would like to track their food usage, as it has
some useful and insightful features, and it is a good tool to set goals for reducing food
waste.

GotFood (Koodammatty, L., 2015)

This app is very useful, as it can be utilised for an annoying occurrence and one of the
main factors of food waste, which is the visibility of food whilst stored in a house.
GotFood allows the user to simply input the names of certain perishable foods, and
add the dates of expiry for each item of food. It then generates a simple list, which
shows the inputted food items ordered by days left
before expiry. This makes it easy for users to check
what food item is approaching their expiry date and
allows them to use these items instead of letting
them go to waste. Other features of this app include
the use of the smartphone camera to scan the
barcode of food items, which can help identify every
food item. If the item of food is not in the database,
the user will simply be asked to input the data
manually, which can then be saved for later use.
Another feature of this app is the ability to advertise
unwanted food for donation, which can be showed
on a map within the app.

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2.5 Irish Food Sharing Organisations

In Ireland, there has been a long tradition of charitable events and activities when it
comes to food donation and sharing. From soup kitchens to food banks and drives,
these activities have become more visible due to the
recent period of austerity. One of the most prominent
organisations present in Ireland is the Simon
Community, who have been providing food to the
homeless since 1969 with their nightly soup runs.

Urban Co-Op is the first co-operative grocery store in


Limerick owned, controlled and operated by its
members. They held a not-for-profit event, titled
“People’s Kitchen” in August 2017, and another one in
December 2017, inspired by the Volxkuche movement FIGURE 2 POSTER ADVERTISING THE
EVENT
(Das Volxküchen-Kochbuch, 2011). The aim of the
event was to bring people of all nationalities and backgrounds together in celebrating
the power of food, especially for bringing people together.

The Capuchin Day Centre provide food free of charge to homeless people and those
experiencing poverty. It is run by a Christian order of monks. Crosscare, the Social
Support Agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, runs many food services for
those in need, including food banks, meals on wheels and community cafes. (The
Journal, 2013)

Today, technology has dramatically altered the way in which we interact, both
positively and negatively. It has expanded the reach of communication with other
people, which has created new forms of giving and sharing that are often referred to
as the “collaborative” or “sharing economy”.

The concept of “food sharing” is much more than just exchanging food with
somebody. In Dublin, there has been a huge increase in the number of community
gardens involving urban growers, along with a network forming between them. These
community gardens are hubs for sharing land, tools and knowledge, and are becoming

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increasingly common across the globe, with Dublin being one of the most popular
locations for them.

Urban Growing in Dublin has done more than provide food, it has formed and
bolstered community ties and provided a social impact. In Dublin’s Northside, the
Change Community Garden in Coolock offers a space for local people to connect with
nature. They also aim to address some of the issues that come with food poverty
through horticultural training and by providing locally grown produce to community
members and garden volunteers.

Since 2009, a campaign titled The Stop Food Waste Challenge has been designed and
developed by a team of independent facilitators in collaboration with the Stop Food
Waste Campaign (Stop Food Waste, n.d.). The programme, which is funded by the
Environmental Protection Agency, was developed as a response to the request from
Environmental Awareness officers who wished for a prevention programme around
food waste, which would correlate with the introduction of the brown bin waste
collection service. The reason for this prevention programme was to highlight the
notion that the brown bin shouldn’t encourage or facilitate food waste. The
programme helps householders to identify and practice small changes in their
behaviour that would reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.

One of Dublin's largest community gardens, Our Farm, is set up in a formerly derelict
site next to the National College of Art & Design. It provides educational workshops
and an ecological outlet for both students and wider liberties since 2014. (Ourfarm.ie,
n.d.)

Street Feast is Ireland’s annual day of


street parties & community lunches.
Street feast is supported by the Local
Authorities, with their partners are
ChangeX.org, Scouting Ireland, Irish
Men’s Sheds Association, GIY Ireland
and Volunteer Ireland. Teaming up
with ChangeX was very beneficial, as FIGURE 3 PEOPLE ENJOYING THE STREET FEAST

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they are an Irish organisation that makes the process of registering and planning a
Street Feast simpler for those who are interested. The event is in 9th year of taking
place. In 2017, over 130,000 people took part in 1,280 Street Feasts. (Street Feast,
2018)

Urban Farm, a Dublin-based agricultural start-up that began by running a rooftop


potato project that has amassed a collection of 160 heritage potato varieties, some
dating back to 1768. They have progressed into different areas, including selling a kit
that allows you to grow mushrooms on your coffee leftovers. “URBANFARM creates
projects to disseminate knowledge about urban agriculture, circular economy, food
sharing & waste management. Through participatory learning and action,
URBANFARM aims to inspire people to adopt sustainable practices in their everyday
lives”. (URBAN FARM, n.d)

FoodCloud is a community-based
social enterprise that brings food
businesses and charities together
with an easy-to-use and reliable
platform (mobile application),
matching those with too much food
with those who have too little.
FoodCloud has teamed up with FIGURE 4 MEMBERS OF FOODCLOUD ABOUT TO MAKE A
DELIVERY
Tesco, Lidl and Aldi here in Ireland,
who all have large excess of food that is taken off the shelves because their use by
date is approaching, even though this food is fine for consumption. This food can then
be distributed across charities who need it. Even though they have retail partners
which make up a lot of the numbers for food distribution, FoodCloud also works with
small businesses or stores that would still have unused food fit for consumption. One
of the main positives for the charities involved is that the funds that would have
originally be allocated for food supplies can now be re-allocated towards their core
service and support their underlying mission.

In 2016 FoodCloud Hubs (formerly Bia Food Initiative) joined FoodCloud to fight food
waste in Ireland. Working together enables FoodCloud to offer the first farm to fork
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solution for surplus food in Ireland. They work with food businesses nationwide who
have volumes of surplus food, such as farms, manufacturers and distributors to
manage ad-hoc and regular supplies of surplus as efficiently as possible. FoodCloud
Hubs has three warehouses around Ireland, which can store and redistribute large
quantities of food. Through their “hubs” or warehouses, the food is tallied and
segregated into storage in safe conditions. The hub team then organise the
distribution of food with the charities, typically with next day delivery. (FoodCloud,
2016)

2.6 Cradle to Cradle Design

From doing some research online, I came across Michael Braungart’s approach to the
design of products and systems titled ‘Cradle to Cradle’ (Braungart, 2009). From
reading this book taught me a new perspective on the products and materials I use,
and on what happens to these once I dispose of them. The book considers rethinking
the process of making everyday products. Most products in our lives are used, then
thrown away and have no use anymore (cradle-to-grave). But what if we began
creating products in a way that after we are finished with them, they could take on a
new purpose, which could be by being stripped of its materials and developed into a
new product, or even disposed of in a way that it biodegrades and benefits the soil
and the environment. “A misuse of material resources is not just suicidal for future
human generations but catastrophic for the future of life” (McDonough and
Braungart, 2009). Most of the materials we use in manufacturing are not regenerative
and so will run out. And using up these precious materials has a detrimental impact
on the environment.

I read the book whilst pondering around the area of food and what goes with the
process of us buying it and eating it (packaging materials, etc.), and anything that could
be possibly done to reduce these negative implications. We are all aware of how
important recycling is but there are still so many materials that aren't salvaged and
ultimately go to waste. The same goes for the actual food we throw out, which
typically ends up in a huge landfill that has little benefits and produces CO2 through
decomposing. A quote from Albert Einstein explains this well, “The world will not

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evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the
situation” (McDonough and Braungart, 2007). The use of compost bins in homes is a
step in the right direction, as food waste is converted to compost, but more can be
done on the bigger scale of towns and cities. There are some cities that are taking
initiative in this area, San Francisco being one of the leaders. The city is aiming to be
‘waste free' by 2020, an ambitious, but achievable goal, which they are very much on
track to accomplish. (SF Environment, n.d.)

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3. Methodology

3.1 Breakdown of steps

As part of this FYP, I had to familiarise myself with existing HCI literature on food waste
and research similar initiatives. My objectives included undertaking field work
(interviews, focus groups, observation etc.) and design a prototype for an
application/system allowing to organise and monitor food donations. The prototype,
once created, will be evaluated with potential users and go through a redesign cycle.

3.2 Target Group

The target audience for this project are the students in my college, the University of
Limerick. The desired aim would be supporting all students, but especially those who
have an interest in the conservation of food and improving their food practices. The
students who are interested will give an example to others and hopefully the concept
will spread and be widely adopted. The studies show that as much as food is wasted
carelessly, people are aware and want to cut down on the food that they let go to
waste, both for their pockets and for the environmental issues.

The target group for my research on this project are students who live in shared
accommodation. These made up most of the participants in my field studies into the
area, through observation, interviews and focus groups. The sole purpose of the field
studies was to elicit the typical behaviour and routines of a student when it comes to
food practices. I also wanted to gather their thoughts and opinions on the issue, and
their thoughts on what can be done to reduce food waste and promote better food
practices amongst students. Based on my experiences in shared accommodation,
students typically carry out tasks related to food individually. This can lead to
overbuying food that won’t be used within the period of a week. Also, sharing storage
space can cause issues, as a lack of sufficient storage means that more food gets
bunched together and it becomes harder to see what everyone must use. Learning
how to manage food-related relationships plays an important role in a shared

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household, as this can affect the will to collaborate with housemates when it comes
to having shared meals and shopping together.

Being a student myself, I already had extensive knowledge and first-hand experience
as I have observed over the past few years the routines and behaviours of students
when it comes to food practices; my own experience was an important starting point
for data collection. It helped me when speaking to other students, as I already had a
detailed understanding of their situations and mindsets. My findings from organising
the focus group played a pivotal part in coming up with technological solutions to
tackling food waste and instilling positive food practices.

3.2 Field Study Methods

The focus of my field studies was on the student body. Their relationships with one
another within a shared household, their prior approaches to food practices and
awareness of potential food waste were key points I uncovered in my field studies.
Both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered to answer my queries and gain
a deeper understanding with regards to my project. Many techniques were used
throughout the course of my field study. Once my ethics form was approved, I began
carrying out interviews with individuals. I also sent out a short survey to get some
scope on students’ opinions around food sharing on campus. My research became
embedded in my daily life, as I could observe and discuss with colleagues on the
matter whenever I wanted to. I undertook daily observations, as living in shared
accommodation with other students meant I could easily keep track of habits and
routines that my fellow housemates had when it came to food practices.

The timeline for my field study was roughly from week 2 of starting my project to week
10 of the semester, lasting about 8 weeks. Most people I interviewed were students I
knew and I had spoken to before. To get a better understanding of their food practices,
I wanted to make sure they were staying in accommodation of different standards, as
I was curious to see if this played a part in how effective they managed their food. The
idea behind doing focus group with students was to allow thoughts and opinions on
food practices and waste be discussed amongst one another and gain a deeper
understanding of these thoughts and opinions.

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3.2.1 Self-Reflection

Researching the literature and examining the existing sustainability strategies and
technologies has given me some inspiration for reflection surrounding my own
experiences, habits and thoughts of food waste. I have always been quite aware of the
scale of food waste that goes on within college lifestyle. This is due to the fact that at
home, I would rarely see food go to waste and through obvious planning of meals and
appropriate storage methods (freezing, sealed containers etc.), there was much less
food going to waste anyways. Coming to college, it is apparent that these food
practices are not inherent, and more awareness and some planning are required,
along with the appropriate tools and supplies, for them to come to fruition. Some
students will take less notice of the food they let go to waste because of their busy
schedules or simply because of not caring much about it. But for others like me, they
will notice this and will reflect on what changes they could make to reduce this.

In terms of my own food practices, I share a house with three people who also go to
college here in UL. Throughout my four years, I have had different experiences on food
practices due to being influenced by those who I am living with at the time. I find that
this plays a massive role in our everyday food practices; for example, if I lived with
people with whom I shared certain items of food or meals, there would have been less
waste occurring and would help build the friendships with housemates through
sharing food items. This year, I wanted to include planning meals in my weekly food
shopping routine, which makes the practice of cooking much easier and quicker as I
know what meal I will be having each night and thus I can gather these ingredients
and cook immediately, and reduce how much food that will be unused.

In the past, I wouldn't plan meals or my weekly shop and this led to me getting stuck
some nights for making a dinner, and would then be followed by me buying a
takeaway or having to revisit the local supermarket for food, which can be time
consuming for students without a car. I would typically do my shopping with my
girlfriend, and we would help each other pick up the items we need. I rarely went food
shopping with my housemates, and this often led to an excess of food supplies within

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the house. It also led to insufficient storage space in the fridge and freezer, which
resulted in perishable goods going to waste.

Cooking separately from my housemates was also a common problem for me as I


would have to usually cook my food before or after they were finished, which resulted
in a lack of consistency for cooking meals at the same time daily.

Reflecting and considering the various mitigating factors, along with the factors that
make food practices worse, is something that was important to map out. Creating a
technology that would take all these factors into account was one of my priorities with
this project.

3.2.2 Online Survey

Creating an online survey was a quick way for me to get responses to some general
questions I had around the topic. Although the answers I received were of lesser depth
than during interviews, the advantage was that I could reach more students and get
responses in a quick turnaround of time. The survey I created was sent out to students
in UL at an early stage of the research. I wanted to collect some initial thoughts on
students’ food practices (without going into too much detail about what I was looking
to achieve from my FYP). It gave me some focus on what needed to be taken into
consideration
going forward.

After collecting a
total of 40
responses and
analysed the data, I
was surprised by
some of my
findings. As seen by
FIGURE 5 RESPONSES FROM ONE OF MY SURVEY QUESTIONS
the image above, 29
of the 40 students said that they wouldn’t share meals, which was significant.

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3.2.3 Observations

Observation was one of the earliest techniques I used to gather the information I
needed for my research. It was one of the first, due to the fact it was a relatively simple
method of collecting data. The advantages of doing observational research were that
it gave me access to situations involving students where questionnaires or interviews
wouldn't have suited. It also gave me access to real-life situations where I could see
first-hand some of the food practices and routines students had. Gaining an in-depth
understanding of the routines and habits of students with regards to food was
essential for me to come up with something that would aid the situation. In total, I
observed 12 students who lived in shared accommodation. The students I observed
were people who I lived with, people from my course and some of my friends. It was
important that I had a neutral stance and didn't let my own opinions or thoughts on
food practices affect my task of observing others.

Techniques I used for observing others such as "shadowing" were valuable ways for
me to see first-hand how the students I observed interacted with food. It gave me a
beneficial insight into the habits, routines and how much food they might waste. To
fully observe some routines of food practice for students, I would ask them if it was
ok for me to travel with them as they went grocery shopping. Through doing this, I
had the opportunity to ask questions in a non-scripted, colloquial sense. Routines
varied between students, some kept the same routines week after week, whereas
some worked less around a set routine. It seems that students’ timetables affected
their weekly shopping habits, as the students with more hours seemed less prepared
to do a shop run.

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3.2.3.1 UL Farmers Market

One event I was keen to observe


was the famers market, which is
held in the courtyard on campus
and takes place every Tuesday.
The initiative was developed by
the UL Environmental Committee
FIGURE 6 STUDENTS CHECKING OUT THE FOOD STALLS IN THE
and supported by the Strategic UL COURTYARD
Innovation Fund (SIF). A range of
local produce is available at this weekly event including organic local fruit and
vegetables, speciality breads and pastries, organic meats, jams and chutneys, freshly
pressed juices, local cheeses and vegetarian ready-meals.

Hosted weekly, UL Farmers Market brings local food producers (from across counties
Limerick, Clare and Tipperary) into the centre of the university campus. The Farmers
Market initiative is part of a broader movement to encourage ethical consumption
and sustainable development within the university (Limerick.ie, n.d.). Seeing the
attention and interest in these food stalls was interesting, as the courtyard would get
very busy with students who are curious to see what goods are on sale. The cultural
diversity of food was also interesting, with some Indian curries and other foods
available which students seemed to have a keen interest in. The market is important
as it sells local farmers produce but it could also be further developed to introduce
foods from other cultures to the students on campus.

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3.2.3.2 UL Rooftop Garden

Another initiative which I felt was worth observing was the UL rooftop garden. The
idea for the UL
Community Roof
Garden was the idea of
the Environmental
Committee and was
designed and
constructed by
Buildings & Estates
FIGURE 7 UL ROOFTOP GARDEN BEING CULTIVATED BY VOLUNTEERS
during the remediation
work on the space which had begun to leak into the lecture theatre below. A group of
enthusiastic volunteers from across the campus community came together during the
Autumn 2012 semester to discuss how best to utilise the space (The UL Community
Roof Garden, n.d.).

The garden is open to everyone and hosts a variety of plants including vegetables,
flowers, fruits and herbs. It represents a model for urban farming and the hope is that
it will be grown upon within the campus as it is the only source of food grown for
consumption within the campus.

3.2.4 Interviews

Interviews were an important field study method for me, as inquiring about people's
opinions was a primary factor for me going forward into the design process. My
interview process looked to understand students’ food practices from their own
perspective and see if there were certain trends based on the people they lived with,
their experiences at home etc. Another important aspect I wanted to understand from
conducting interviews was to see what kind of technological solution(s) would the
students like to see me implementing on campus, as my goal was to create something
that students would use and not what I thought they would want to use. When

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conducting interviews, I thought it was important to speak to officials or staff within
or associated with the college, as they too were important in my study and had
influence on my final product. Speaking with the likes of the on-campus village
manager was important, as they are an integral part of the college through the six
villages which house over 2,500 students. Because of their reach and connections with
a large section of the student body, I thought that they could play a vital part in my
final design, whether it would be through promotion or support.

3.2.3.1 Interview with the Manager of Campus Student Residences

I met with the Manager of Student Residences on Campus. I wanted to meet with her
as I heard that she was in the process of implementing a system for food sharing in
each of the on-campus student accommodation villages. We met for a general
discussion on the matter, firstly discussing what her system for food sharing was. Her
plan was to introduce two boxes for students to share food. One box was for non-
perishable goods that could be shared all week long and the other, a perishable goods
box that was aimed for use on Fridays for when students would travel home, allowing
food to be picked up by students staying down for the weekend.

FIGURE 8 POSTERS PROMOTING THE FOOD SHARE BOXES FROM CLS

We discussed student’s mind sets when it comes to their food practices, agreeing that
from our own personal experience, students typically are quite lackadaisical when it
comes to managing their food. We played out some ideas of what could be done to
change this mind set. We talked about communal dinners that had been tried in the
past through the student villages, but according to my interviewee, these didn’t have

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great numbers of students attending. We talked about the idea of a mobile app that
could be used in correlation with Campus Life Services, and possible events that could
be run. The main point of interest to note from our meeting was promotion of the
final idea, and how this would be best carried out. Also, to note is the fact that she
was kind enough to offer support for my idea in any way possible. It was good to speak
to her and get ideas and opinions from somebody who wasn’t a student, but worked
for students and knew from experience how students interact with certain events etc.

3.2.3.2 Interview with UL Students Union Welfare Officer

After talking to the Manager of Student Accommodation, she recommended me to


talk to the current UL Student Union Welfare Officer. My reason for meeting with her
was that I was curious about the contacts and connections she could have from her
role, contacts that she might think would be a good idea talking to. I was also
interested in seeing what ideas she might have and discussed the possibility of certain
promotional events to take place on campus. The idea behind the promotional events
was that it would be a good way to generate interest around the benefits of eating
together and improving food management within houses. It would also lead to the
opportunity for me to speak to many students during the event to get a sense of what
they thought of the event and if it made them think about their own food practices
and the food that they let go to waste. The original idea for the event was based
around a cooking demonstration using random ingredients left around a house that
were brought to the event by students and cooked by a celebrity chef. She gave me
support with any events I would like to hold which was good to know going forward.

We would meet two more times, with one meeting involving the Students Union
President and Academic officer to discuss the possibility of organising an event. The
role of the Students Union would be promoting the event to the student body to
gather interest and to get their opinions on how the event should be run, along with
contacts to help me with other aspects of the event.

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3.2.3.3 Interview with a Student Campus Accommodation Staff Member

Campus Life Services (CLS), the company in charge of providing on-campus student
accommodation to students, also employ students as staff to help with this service in
numerous ways, typically as reception assistants. As they had a keen interest in my
project, I thought it would be valuable to my research if I were to interview one of
these student staff members. My reasoning for this is that as students, they see things
from a certain perspective, and from working as staff members, some of their
preconceived ideas might be altered by this experience. I managed to get in touch
with someone who I knew was working with Campus Life Services.

During the interview, we discussed the mindsets of students when it comes to their
awareness of food waste and their food practices. Before becoming a staff member
for CLS, my interviewee was quite aware of the food that would inevitably end up
being unused in her accommodation. Now that she worked with CLS, she believed that
students could be taught about effective food usage - from shopping and planning to
cooking, as many students arrive to college with little knowledge of all these aspects.
There are many events that take place in the first few weeks of a new year semester
to inform students about certain skills or tips to aid them through college and the
challenges that present themselves. She believes that events around food could be of
huge benefit to incoming students who have moved out of home to college.

3.2.5 Focus Groups

Along with the interviews, focus groups played a big part in gaining some insightful
information about what the students would like to see being done when it comes to
food sharing. Even though I gained a lot of information from conducting interviews, I
felt that doing focus groups would allow for a less structured, more general discussion
about food sharing, and by passing around different ideas and opinions, I could gain a
deeper understanding of students’ mindsets on the topic, along with other individuals
interested in the issue of food waste.

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3.2.5.1 UL Environmental Society

Looking at what was already being done on campus, I realised that some societies
would be good to talk to. In particular was the UL Environmental society, which held
meetings every week to discuss certain topics relating to the environment and the
University.

When I contacted them originally, I discussed the outline of what I was trying to
achieve with my FYP. Having e-mailed them, I was kindly invited along to one of their
meetings to discuss my FYP topic. I was fortunate as it turned out that they were
already considering food waste and what could be done to tackle it. I suggested that
the members take part in a focus group and gather their thoughts and opinions on
what could be achieved as they would have previous experience in attempting to
implement changes or installations such as the one pictured.

The society was responsible for building a wooden structure in the shape of letters UL.
The structure allowed
students to deposit
their water bottles
within it, and as you
could see the bottles,
you realise how many
plastic bottles are used
daily by students. It
was a great idea, which
gave me inspiration
FIGURE 9 UL ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIETY INSTALLATION
going forward with my
own project. Having people who were passionate about the environment and having
a situation like the one I had where the members of the society were gathered around
a table in heavy discussions was great for my research.

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3.2.5.2 Open Campus Studio

On the 21st of February, I attended the first workshop of a new initiative within the
college called Open Campus Studio. “Open Campus Studio is a design-led process
aimed at resetting the starting point for thinking about the future of the UL campus.
The output will be a new set of ideas to propel the future of the campus, illustrated
with maps, diagrams, and models.” (Ul.ie, 2018) I felt it was a good opportunity to
partake in the workshop and see it as a type of focus group as the issue was around
food on campus.

The first workshop focused on food and nature. There was a good turn out with a mix
of people from many different departments within the college, along with some other
students and
representatives of
certain companies and
organisations. A large
part of the discussion
was around food and
what can be done to
tackle the issue of food
waste and distribution.
It was great to get a
deep understanding of
the running of the cafes
and restaurants on
campus and figures
such as what and where FIGURE 10 HISTORY OF FOOD INITIATIVES AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
students eat daily and how much food is grown on campus.

One thing that stood out to me during the discussions was the lack of food grown on
campus, even though a large part of UL’s grounds is green. A staggering figure from a
presentation at the workshop showed that the campus of UL was approximately 320
acres, yet only 0.01 percent of food consumed within the college is grown on campus.

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In comparison to University College Cork, where their campus equates to
approximately 88 acres, yet 200 tonnes of food are cultivated within the area of its
grounds. This made me think about what could be done in terms of changing these
figures as it was a shock to think that so little was cultivated on campus when there is
so much green acreage.

There was a period near the end of the workshop where the persons who attended
were giving the opportunity to speak about their thoughts on the issues of food and
nature. During my section, I raised my concerns about the amount of food that goes
unnecessarily to waste in student accommodations and the lack of importance
emphasised around times when food is consumed, whether it be students eating in a
communal sense or taking the time out to sit down away from their studies and make
healthy meals. The workshop was recorded live at the time, which was then uploaded
online. (I spoke around 3:14:30) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOXuBvLdyRs

3.3 Field Study Conclusions

Once I had completed my field studies, I had gained significant information that would
prove vital for developing my finished product. I was happy with my collected
information and the people involved in my studies gave very insightful information
which was of tremendous value to my study. Although I am a student myself and I feel
I have quite a good understand of students and their habits and mindsets, I was
surprised to learn how important the problem of food waste was to most students I
was involved with.

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4. Findings

4.1 What I’ve discovered to this point

Up to this stage, the main goals were to decide on an FYP title and briefly describe
what the aim of doing this project was. I then researched my topic area and its existing
literature effectively to get a better understanding of what issues they have been
through time, and what has been created and implemented in this area to try and
address the problem. Gaining a better understanding of this area helped me to
progress towards my field studies. The field studies were aimed at getting a deeper
understanding of my chosen topic and the people that it could affect. It was important
to obtain an understanding of what the users’ requirements are and their thoughts
and opinions on what is viable for them. From doing my field studies, I wanted to see
what I found out from my collected data and how this could be implemented into a
practical product. These findings played a decisive factor in what I ultimately decided
to create.

4.2 Conducting my field study

After my FYP title was submitted, I went on to research existing literature and try and
gain a better understanding of the topic area. There were numerous papers I found
which revolved around technologies that were implemented to try and tackle the
problem of food waste and promote food sharing. These previously made products
helped me see what has been done in this area, and more importantly what hasn't
been done. I obviously don't want to replicate what has already been done in the past,
so tracking what areas that I could tap into and make a difference was the goal. One
of the reasons why I was particularly interested in the FYP topic I chose was due to it
being directed at a college campus and the students who are present on it. I felt this
was an area that there hasn't been much done in terms of encouraging and promoting
positive food practices.

Along with researching published papers, I researched websites and website articles,
videos and books which all revolved around this area. Surprisingly there was quite a

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bit of information around the area in different media and situations, but there was no
literature that I could find around existing systems or products that are implemented
in colleges to tackle the issue at hand. It was important that I had a good
understanding of the area as the next stage of the FYP was performing field studies,
so I wanted to know what I’d be looking to find out from my chosen participants, and
answer any questions that they might ask me around this area.

From undertaking my field studies and using the methods I did, I learnt about the
students’ habits around food and some of the reasons for these habits. Throughout
my field studies, I was constantly contemplating what would be the best course going
forward towards the design stage of the process. Unsurprisingly, there were a
multitude of ideas that came to mind by speaking to students, staff and other persons
on campus.

4.3 Influences of others

Being a student myself, I am aware of the influence fellow students around me can
have on the everyday running of things, from cooking to participating in social
activities. So, I felt this was an important aspect to bring up in interviews that I
undertook with students. Trying to understand the considerable influence of others
when it comes to food practices was important for me as my project is aimed at
students who share accommodation, and thus would be influenced by others in the
house and their actions. From speaking with my interviewees, I found that
housemates had some influence on the food practices of others.

4.4 Planning meals

The planning of meals was an area that was of obvious importance, as this activity
could promote positive food practices. From my surveys and some interviews, it
seemed as if most students didn’t engage in the planning of meals, but there was still
some structure and routine to students’ food shopping. It seemed that most students
would typically shop once a week in one of the larger supermarkets located around
the campus (Aldi, Lidl, Dunnes Stores, Supervalu). As they did their shopping, they

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would have some idea of what they needed, and certain items such as dairy and
vegetables were often picked up without much thought as these were common items.

4.5 The living circumstances

One area that emerged naturally from my research


was the effect of the students’ living conditions. It
seems that this is an important factor in determining
whether students would have shared meals
together and could lead to issues with suitable food
storage. One recurring response I got about the
issues with cooking in kitchens was that the
cooker/oven was a problem area when it came to
cooking meals. Most houses accommodate an
average of 6 people, and when the cooker has only
FIGURE 11 TWO STUDENTS TRYING TO
4 cooking hobs, it can be difficult for everyone to COOK AT THE SAME TIME
cook at a similar time each day. The use of the oven
itself is also limited as the shelving typically allows three items of a meal to be in the
oven at any one time. And as the time it takes for something to cook in the oven is
usually around the average time of 20
minutes, it makes it even harder for
students to cook at the same time.

I also found that fridges were of


inadequate size for the capacity of
houses, which often led to fridges
being overpacked with food, which
makes it very difficult for students to
know what they have within the FIGURE 12 FRIDGES ARE OFTEN UNORGANISED AND NO
INDICATION OF WHAT IS FRESH
fridge, leading to food expiring.

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Other areas such as around the sink were often another major problem area as once
students were done cooking, they would have to clean what they used and it would
often pile up for drying as most houses
had no dishwasher. If students cooked
as a group, this problem could easily
be avoided as two students could
oversee washing and drying.

There seems to be a common problem


of assigning tasks to certain people,
such as changing the bins and cleaning FIGURE 13 THE SINK AREA WITH AND OVERFLOW OF
CUTLERY
appliances such as the microwave and
oven.

4.6 Cooking and Sharing meals

The cooking of meals was one area that appeared to play a significant role in one's
food practices. Most students based their day’s schedule around their college
timetable. Depending on the structure of their hours and the free time available, many
students would fit their meals in between these designated times. For students I
interviewed who had busy timetables, it became apparent that they were struggling
to find the time to have proper meals, and would often resort to eating out, whether
it be fast food or a more nutritious meal in one of the on-campus restaurants or cafes.
For those who had more free time built into their timetables, they were more inclined
to cook and make meals at home, as they had spare time to do so.

Other activities also had to be considered, such as students’ hobbies and their
involvement in any clubs or societies. As students had various timetables and extra
activities, it was difficult for those in the same house to cook a common meal at a
designated. Even if there was some involvement in planning the shopping amongst
students in a household, they would not carry this cooperation through into their
cooking. From undertaking my interviews with an array of students, it seems that the
overwhelming majority response to the question about sharing meals together was
negative.

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4.7 The relationship between students

The relationship between students can be broken down into different aspects, one
being how well they got on with each other and participated in events and activities
together. The other is the relationship that is built by studying the same course. If one
of these aspects takes place between students who live together, it increases the
chances for food to be shared amongst the students in question. Although it was not
common, there was a case from my observations where there were four students who
were in the same course and lived together. From my observations of this group, their
timetables were very extensive, with long, continuous hours spent away from their
house doing activities related to their course. When they returned home each
evening, they would regularly cook together and share the same meals so that they
could all eat at the same time, instead of taking turns cooking separate meals which
would take much longer. There is a sense that these four students built a strong
relationship around the fact they had to endure long hours in the same course
together, and it led to them doing activities, such as cooking food and sharing meals
in a collaborative manner. It made it much easier for them to cook together as their
long day limited the time they had to make meals. Watching them making their meals,
I saw that each person took a role in the preparation, which led to more time saved
by sharing the preparation process.

4.8 Food usage practices

From my observations and interviews, I found that the students’ practices around food
varied quite significantly. Some students had positive food practices such as using
Tupperware to put leftover food into and reuse at a later stage, whereas some
students tended to cook portions that were too big, and the leftovers would be thrown
out instead of being reused. It was hard to pinpoint any valid reasons for positive or
negative food practices, as the behaviour of students seemed to be an indicator, but
there was no clear correlation which would suggest that a certain type of behaviour
ties with that person's food practices.

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From speaking with some of the students I interviewed, it seemed that they believe a
person's activity does correspond with their food practices. What I mean by this is that
if a student had lazy tendencies, they would likely adopt bad food usage practices,
whereas a student who is very active in their everyday life might be more inclined to
have positive food practices. From my observations, there is some evidence that this
might could be a valid statement to make, but not everyone I observed fitted this
scenario.

4.9 What students feel can be done

Because of the various design options I had going forward, I wanted to get the opinions
of what my interviewees and colleagues felt would work best, whether it be along the
lines of a physical installation or a mobile app. The responses I received were mixed,
as there seemed to be no concise argument for either option to be a favoured
approach over the other. Some of the students believed that a physical installation
might be difficult to maintain on an everyday basis, and that could also be too
complicated and thus ignored. Other factors such as its properties, such as being
weatherproof and the energy it would take to operate were also mentioned.

With regards to the mobile app, some students believed that a mobile app might be
well received by students at the beginning, but they felt that the continuous use of it
might be problematic, as students can be very busy and won't have time to use the
app or that they just find it hard to stick with using it.

4.10 Field Study Conclusions

Conducting my field studies was an important process as it allowed me to see first-


hand what my target audience and others thought about my area of interest and along
with their experiences and perceptions. After the process of reviewing existing
literature on my topic, it helped me gain insight into the area of food waste and food
sharing much more than I had before doing so. From partaking in my field studies, it
allowed me to see how my results compared to what I had read. As literature sources
focusing on food waste amongst students were scarce, this was something I was keen
to understand by speaking to as many students as I could. Similar to the literature I

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reviewed, some of the findings from my field study showed that common reasons for
food waste were unplanned grocery shopping, insufficient storage both in cupboards
and the fridge shared by students who lived together, over-cooking and not reusing
leftovers and cooking separately were all problems that arose. It became apparent
that food waste was common amongst students who lived in shared accommodation
when there was a lack of cooperation in cooking, storage and overall habits around
food. It seems those who I interviewed who were more likely to collaborate with their
housemates when it comes to activities such as shopping, planning, cooking, cleaning
and reusing were more likely to have reduced food waste because of these activities.
Many students I spoke to would have food to spare by the end of a week and although
it could be used by others in the house, they would throw it out because they were
unsure if it would be used.

Most participants agreed that their habits could be improved, especially when it came
to shopping and reusing foods. Some things that were less avoidable was the visibility
of food in cupboards and the fridges, which led to foods going off. It became clear that
communication was a key and influential factor on the level of food waste that would
occur.

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5. Design Process

5.1 Overview

After collecting my findings, I moved onto the design process. I began to narrow down
my design ideas by creating illustrations that would give me an idea of how my end-
product would be implemented within the campus environment. This included
understanding the interaction people will have with the finished product. As I
sketched possible scenarios, it gave me a clearer understanding and helped me
determine what was feasible and what was not. I had invested in a drawing tablet so
that I can create digital sketches, which I could develop further once I narrowed down
my idea. I began to play out the possibilities of what my final product would be,
whether it would be a mobile application or a physical installation.

From here I created low-fidelity prototypes that would give a rough outline of how my
product will work. The low-fidelity prototypes were useful as they helped me focus on
the key elements and behaviours necessary for my product to work. I could then test
my prototype with users, as they would be the ones who would end up using the
finished product. Based on their feedback, I made changes and implemented
additional features to the existing prototype as I looked to make it more user-focused
and friendly. This led to me creating an improved prototype, which will be of higher
fidelity to the previous design. Once again, I performed user testing to see what
improvements must be made and move me closer to a finished product. From here I
performed a cooperative evaluation of my product and moved towards creating my
final design.

5.2 Selection of Specific Technology

The primary goal of undertaking this project was to develop a prototype technology
that will encourage food sharing on the college campus. The first thing to consider
moving forward was the kind of technology would work best as the prototype. The
main choices I considered were a mobile application, a physical installation within the
college grounds, an event or a website. Throughout the process of research and

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findings, I was actively contemplating which form of technology would be best. I often
shifted from one idea to another, however I came to a conclusion eventually. The idea
of making a physical installation on campus intrigued me greatly, but the practicalities
of making it an achievable reality would be quite difficult. This was partly down to
mapping out all the problems that would arise if it were to happen, and seeing if there
were solutions to these problems. Quite often, there were problems without
appropriate solutions so the idea of creating an installation became less of a reality.

So, the competing alternative to this was creating a mobile application. This seemed
a better option over an event or website because students were far more likely to use
their mobile phones than go onto a website or attend an event. An app is also
accessible at nearly any time in a student’s daily life as the clear majority carry a phone
on them throughout the day. As we seen from my research into existing mobile
applications, there is a vast array of apps available in the market, but I noticed that
there were no apps aimed at students in college and their food habits, sharing and
waste. This would be my focus going forward, creating an app made for students.
There were several capabilities that we could include within the app, it was just a
question of breaking these down into groups and deciding which direction I wanted it
to go.

5.3 Task Analysis

Task analysis is the process of learning about ordinary users by conducting field
studies to discern in detail how they implement their tasks and achieving the goals
they want. Performing a task
analysis allowed me to
identify the tasks that my
mobile application and aid
me in refining or re-defining
my apps features and
navigation by determining
the appropriate content
scope. The purpose of task FIGURE 14 WRITING OUT INDIVIDUAL TASKS

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analysis from my understanding of reading the Hackos and Redish’ (1998) book ‘User
and Task Analysis for Interface Design’ is that it helps the designer grasp:

• what are the users’ goals and what they are trying to achieve?
• what experiences (personal, social, cultural) users bring to the tasks.
• what users do to those goals that are set out.
• how users might be influenced by their physical environment.
• how users’ previous knowledge and experience influence: how they think
about their work/ the workflow they follow to perform their tasks.

From completing my research and field study, I wanted to collate the information I
gathered and break in down into groups to see what issues would need to be solved
and prioritise which were the most important to solve. The conclusions I gathered
from my field studies, combined with my research into existing literature were the
foundations for understanding the problem areas and devising solutions to these. To
begin my analysis, I wrote out what the possibilities of what my app could do. This
includes its objectives, inputs, outputs, user’s needs, insights and any problem areas.
Anything I felt was relevant was written onto a post-it note, which were then grouped
into
categories.
Doing this
process
helped me to
see what way
my app could
be designed to
satisfy certain
needs for its
users. Figuring

FIGURE 15 MY USER TASKS IN FULL

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out how this prototype would be implemented was the next factor to take into
consideration.

5.4 Low Fidelity Prototype: Sketches & Wireframes

For my mobile application, it was important to develop a prototype to see how it


would function. The process of developing a prototype is that it allows a designer to
consider a design concept and allow them to improve it effectively in an efficient
manner.

After completing my task analysis, I wanted to do some rough sketches of how I would
like my prototype to function. Rough sketching allowed me to play around with the
layouts and features that I could possibly use in the final design, and how I would
navigate from one screen to the next. Doing these sketches allowed me to get an
understanding of the functionality of my app without being too time consuming and
allowing for trial and errors. Some of these sketches are included in my sketch book.

After creating these sketches on


paper, I reviewed my options in
terms of what features I want to
use and which layout was most
suitable. From here, I would
begin to create more digital
designs of the screens and how I
would like them to look when it
came to their structure. This was
FIGURE 16 DRAWING OUT POTENTIAL APP SCREENS
mainly done in Adobe XD, using
a wireframe kit which was free to use and included many examples of mock screen
designs which could be reused in my design process. This was the first time I used
Adobe XD as it was a newly introduced application. Before this, my main application
of choice for designing prototype apps was Sketch and Invision. Although I was new
to using Adobe XD, the learning curve was quite simple and it didn’t take me long to
get into designing my initial prototype.

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The idea of creating the wireframes of the app was that it would give me a clear
indication of how my app would operate and look without any unnecessary
distractions at this point in the design. As I created screens, it allowed me to map out
how they would interact with one another and if there were any areas I forgot to
consider which I could then include.

The idea for the app was to allow a user to:

• Create a user profile


• Connect with friends and people around their living area
• Create or join events where students would cook meals together
• Earn rewards for sharing meals

Profile Creation

The first task for a new user


of the app is to create a
profile, which includes their
full name, student email and
id, current residency and a
password. The reason for
including a student ID was to
allow the college to track the
activity of a user (reward
points for partaking in FIGURE 17 USING ADOBE XD TO DEVELOP MY APP
events). The inclusion of a
user’s residency is to make it easy for the user to see events taking place close to
where they live.

Connecting with User’s

The idea here is to allow users to connect with their friends and make it easier for
them to create events and invite users who are good friends or that previously shared
an event together and wanted to do another one.

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Events

The main functionality of the app is related to the events in which users can either
create or join. Creating an event allows a user to invite other students (can be filtered)
to come over and prepare a meal together, typically a dinner. The idea is that students
all chip in with the ingredients for the meal, which helps students use up certain
ingredients and save money as they don’t need to buy all the ingredients for the meal
in question. Users can also join events created by other users if they prefer. If they are
looking for a specific type of meal or location, they can filter search results which will
then show the most viable options.

FIGURE 18 DEVELOPING MY INITIAL APP DESIGN

Rewards

The rewards system resulting the idea of providing encouragement for students to
partake in using the application. Considering the type of rewards to offer was quite
extensive, from food vouchers to passes to use the UL Arena.

5.5 User Evaluation

Once I was satisfied with the wireframing and the interaction I added to it, I wanted
to perform user evaluation to see how others interacted with it. Setting up the user
testing was straightforward. As I used Adobe XD, I realised they had a mobile version
for the programme. The mobile app was created to allow app designers to test out
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their prototypes on their own phone. The interaction that was added could be tested
for both the designer and other users to review.

So, once I had the Adobe XD app downloaded, I loaded my prototype onto it. This
would make user testing easy as I simply had to let the user try out the app from my
phone without having to sign up or download anything. The app was also quite useful
as during the design process, I could test the changes to my prototype in real time.
Another feature which was useful for user testing was the capability to enable hotspot
hints for my users, which made navigation through the app easier for them as some
of the functions at this stage of the design had not been programmed to have any
behaviour yet.

For my user evaluation I invited six students to take part in testing the prototype and
to give their feedback on key aspects such as the functionality, design and features of
the app. Before I conducted the evaluation with my chosen users, I gave them the
information sheet about the purpose of this testing, the aims for the app and what
feedback I would like to receive from testing the prototype with them. As previously
mentioned, I could test the app from my phone, which was an option of two for the
users I chose. The other option was to share a link which they could open on their
phone or PC which led them straight to the prototype which is fully interactive.

The setup for the evaluation was informal as I wanted the users to be relaxed and test
the prototype in their own time and without feeling observed or critiqued on what
they did. I also pondered the idea of giving my users tasks to complete within the
prototype but I decided against this, as I wanted to see how they found the navigation
of the prototype. Having a general discussion with them as they tested the app was
important for me also as I wanted to get feedback as they used the prototype, but in
a relaxed sense so that their responses were instinctive, which I believe would give me
honest feedback whether it be positive or negative.

5.4.1 Results of User Evaluation

The user evaluation was very successful and the participants were very insightful and
gave valuable feedback moving forward with my design of the app. Participants found

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navigation through the app quite easy without too many problems. But there were
some recurring issues with going backwards with navigation and getting to the home
screen. So, it was suggested that the screens past the home screen have either a
header or footer bar for quick navigation between the main functions (profile, events,
contacts etc.)

The discussion of rewards was another topic that received attention. The consensus
was that having a rewards system would be very difficult and could spoil the real
reasons for having the app in the first place. So, I concluded to scrap this idea as it
wasn’t a primary feature of my overall idea.

Another main suggestion coming from some of my participants was the inclusion of
an ‘about section’. This section would give a quick breakdown of what the app
functionality was and the steps to be followed, with visual demonstrations on doing
so. I thought this was a great idea as I wanted to see if simply flicking through the app
was enough for users to understand what the aims of it was. But the inclusions of this
“about” section makes things much clearer, especially for new users to get up to
speed.

An additional function for the app that was discussed was the inclusion of automatic
invitation to friends once an event was created. The suggestion wasn’t concrete but
the general idea was once a user had created an event, there was an option to invite
all friends (or certain friends) to come to the event. The friends of the user would
receive a premade message that would notify them of the details regarding the event.

Although this idea for a function was something I had in mind for the final app, the
discussion of adding recipes and requesting ingredients for an event came up from
testing. A possible drop-down menu with the required ingredients for the meal could
be created and the guests could choose which ingredient they would bring, which
would then be marked of the list, allowing the other guests to see what remained that
is required for the meal.

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Other small alterations for the app included

- changing the name of the messenger function to something else:


- having icons for the home screen buttons.
- Ease of navigation.

5.6 High Fidelity Prototype

Once I received the results of my user evaluation, I spent some time mapping out the
redesign of the app and how it would look aesthetically. I decided to carry on using
Adobe XD as I found it to be very reliable and made the process run smoothly.

Once I added the suggested changes from the user testing to my wireframe, I could
move onto added cosmetic features, my app logo and name, choice and font and
colourway.

5.6.1 Features and Functionality

The purpose of the app remained unchanged after the user evaluation. There were
some minor changes to the functions of the app however. After review, I decided to
scrap the idea of the rewards system as it would be difficult to implement and sustain.
In its place, I included a tutorial section, which gave the users a quick breakdown of
how the app works. The other minor significant change was the inclusion of a menu
bar along the bottom of each screen. This was suggested by one of my participants in
user evaluation, as the idea was to allow better navigation than what I had proposed
in my low fidelity prototype.

5.6.2 App Logo Creation

For my app I wanted to design a logo to represent its functionalities. A simple, clean
design was my focus and researching existing logo designs gave me a few ideas of what
my logo could possibly be. I started by sketching some rough ideas. Thinking of what
my app was for, I tried to incorporate this into the logo design. I liked the idea of using

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an item related to food (like a fork or spoon for example) and altering it to look like
something else. I had two ideas which I preferred over the rest. The first being a fork
which mimicked the shape or look of a tree. I sketched this idea in different forms. The
second option I preferred was the use of the universal location symbol with
incorporation of a kitchen utensil. Again, I sketched out alternating designs of the
same concept to see what I thought looked best.

After some consideration I decided to go with the second option as I felt it best
represented the functions of my app and what I wanted to achieve by creating it. To
create the finished design, I used Adobe Illustrator as this is one of the most
prestigious logo design
applications. It also
allowed me to design
the logo as a vector
graphic, which was
important to me going
forward as I would need
to resize the logo for FIGURE 19 FINAL LOGO FIGURE 20 INVERTED COLOURS FOR MY
DESIGN LOGO
different situations and I
didn’t want to lose resolution by doing so.

5.6.3 Choosing Fonts

After creating the final logo design for my app, I moved onto choosing a font to
compliment it. The style
of font can have dramatic
effect on the way an app
looks. Thinking of the
style of font I wanted to
use was difficult outside
the context of the
designed app. So, after I
created the home page FIGURE 21 FONT TYPES I CONSIDERED

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and a few other artboards (screens), I applied various fonts to see what I felt best
fitted the overall look. After much consideration, I narrowed it down to twelve font
collections which I felt best suited the style I wanted, although they do differ in ways.
In the end, I decided to go with Pacifico as I felt it complimented the design of the
logo.

5.6.4 Choosing a Colourway

Another aspect of the app


design for consideration
was the colours schemes I
wanted to use. Like the
choice of font, the
colourway can influence
how the user perceives the
app, and there was also a
wide variety of options FIGURE 22 SOME EARLY POSSIBLE COLOURWAYS FOR MY APP
available to me that I considered.

After trying the options from above, I ended up


going with something different. Figure 20 was a
colourway I felt looked very nice and the colours
complemented on another very well. The berry red
at the top of my list was my primary colour, with the
rest being fillers for different areas.

FIGURE 23 MY CHOSEN COLOURWAY

5.6.5 Choosing an App Name

The process of choosing an app name was a lengthy one for me. I tried to play out all
the possibilities on paper, which typically ended up having the words, campus, food,
share and student in it. I never really liked any of these options so I decided to think

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outside the box. I began to think of alternatives to
words, which gave me a wider range of options. I
then thought of the possibility of using the Irish
translation for some of these words. Once again, I
went through the available options but I found FIGURE 24 THE APP NAME AND FONT
STYLE
something that I felt worked well. The Irish
translation of food is bia, which I felt was my best option and that I liked most.

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6. Cooperative Evaluation

For my cooperative evaluation, I recruited 5 students to participate in interacting with


my high-fidelity app. I gave them the option to test the app from either a phone or
computer. As this was the high-fidelity version of the app, I wanted to make sure that
my participants interacted with the app as much as possible so they could give me
feedback on all the features and functionalities of the app and this was achieved by
preparing tasks for them to try and complete. Some of these tasks included adding an
event, messaging a friend and trying the tutorial.

Once the tasks were completed, I debriefed the users regarding their opinion of the
app. This was important as it allowed me to gain a real insight into their thoughts of
the app. For each cooperative evaluation, I tried to limit it to twenty minutes. Once
completed, I analysed all the participants suggestions, comments and opinions and
established what improvements could be implemented to make the app more user
friendly.

The tasks I laid out for my participants were:

1. Logging into the application


2. Adding to profile
3. Creating an event
4. Search for specific event
5. Messaging a friend
6. Flicking through tutorial

6.1 Cooperative Evaluation Results

After completing my cooperative evaluation, I found it to be very beneficial going


forward with my design process. I found encouragement from the comments I
received from my participants that I was on the right track, with only minor changes
to be made to some features and navigation of the interface, with most suggestions
being taken onboard and implemented during the redesign.

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6.1.1 Logging into the application.

To begin, the users had the option of choosing either logging in or registering. For the
next screen they would need to click on the fill in options (Name, E-mail, etc.) which
they all did. Normally a user would need to manually fill these in, but as this was only
a prototype, I had it autofill to a random person to demonstrate what would happen.
The next step was to simply press the log in or sign up button.

6.1.2 Adding to profile

Heading to the profile section and adding text to the bio was the next task for my
users. To complete this, the participants had to navigate from the home screen to the
profile section click on the pen icon to re-write the bio for others to gain some insight
about who they are.

6.1.3 Creating an event

This task required users to enter a specific date and time for their even and to choose
the max number of people allowed to attend along with the required ingredients
needed for the meal. This was a key function of the app so it was important to see
how the participants dealt with this task.

6.1.4 Search for specific event

This was a key function of the app that I wanted my participants to try. The aim here
was to simply see if they could pick a student village in which the event would take
place and how many people were invited to partake in the event. The participants had
no problem in inputting the options and searching.

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6.1.5 Messaging a friend

The message function was put in place to simply allow students to interact with one
another about events or anything they felt like. I wanted to see if the participants
could navigate to the message section and emulate the process of inputting a
message. This came like second nature to my participants and no one had any
problems with this task.

6.1.6 Flick through tutorial

The tutorial was put in place to ensure students understood what they could do within
the app. This task involved the participants flicking through the tutorial and seeing if
they could understand the features within the application.

6.2 Debrief

The debriefing stage took place after my evaluation with each user was completed. I
found it was a great opportunity to elicit additional feedback that might not have been
brought up or mentioned during the evaluation itself. It gave the participants some
time to reflect without the focus being on them completing tasks. Looking back on the
debriefing, the feedback was quite positive and the participants seemed to think it
was an app that they could see become an actual fully functional mobile application.

There were some questions I wanted to ask my participants about the app from their
own point of view. One of these questions was whether the participants could see
themselves using the app if it was implemented. The response was very positive with
all my participants said they would, and mentioning that they would have found it of
great benefit to them back if they were back in first year. They agree that if it were to
be implemented, it would be great to start with the on-campus accommodations and
develop it from there.

The cosmetic aspect of the app was something I was also interested to gain feedback
on. The participants thought the app logo was a smart and simple design which was
easy to understand. There were some suggestions about playing around with the

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design, mainly with the spoon, with one participant suggesting changing the spoon
with different kitchen utensils like a fork. The colour choice was liked by most of my
participants and they felt that it would help the app stand out and be noticed if it were
to be developed. The name of the app was something that took some time to consider
and my participants all thought that the name of the app was suitable, and they liked
how it was in Irish.

The features of the app were also commented upon. The participants appreciated the
profile section as they felt it was imperative to have this as students would want to
know about others before joining their event or vice versa. Two participants
mentioned the possibility of integrating students Facebook or Twitter profiles into the
profile section as a secondary way of letting others get to know you.

The events section was another main feature of the app, with positive comments from
my participants on this as they liked how concise it was. The mention of favouriting
certain people so that you would be notified about any future events was an intriguing
option to include. A privacy option was also mentioned in terms of having an event be
highlighted on the events home page to other students.

The inbox feature was something the participants thought was fundamental as
students would need to get in touch directly if they had any queries about events.
Again, there was mention of potential integration with Facebook for messaging
others.

The participants liked the tutorial feature as it would solve any issues for new users
who were unsure about how the app worked. Some felt that it could be developed
further with more in-depth tips and pop up tips at the press of a button.

Overall my participants were very impressed with the app. I was happy so see as
students, that they felt it would be an app that others would adopt in their daily lives.
Their constructive comments were very insightful and gave me plenty to ponder
moving forward in the future with the application.

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6.3 Final Product

From completing my research, field studies, and an iterative design process that had
the users as the focus of interaction and experiences, I created a high-fidelity
prototype of a mobile application. From initially creating wireframes for the app, I
performed user testing which
was useful for amending and
improving the design and
functionality of the app along
with making the user
experience flow smoother.
Once I created the high-fidelity
version of the app with the aid
of my wireframes, I performed
a cooperative evaluation to FIGURE 25 THE FINAL APP DESIGN
further improve the functions, navigation and cosmetics of my app which led to the
final design. The final screens are attached in the appendix, whilst the interactive
version of the application is available at: https://xd.adobe.com/view/77d271d6-a1d9-
4487-be04-8d92c37111a6/. I also created a video demonstrating the use of the
application in a real scenario, showing how it can create connections amongst
students. The video is available to watch on YouTube at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4ZVmvYPbTY&t=9s

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7. Project Evaluation and Future Development

7.1 Project Evaluation

The aim of this project was to apply what I learned throughout my four years in the
University of Limerick and from completing my Cooperative Education with the
Association of Irish Festival and Events in Ballinasloe, to effectively research a topic
area and create a technology that could be beneficial to students within the college in
the near future. One of my main aims from the very beginning was to create
something that was achievable in terms of being fully functional and implemented to
benefit students in many ways. Having the students at the centre of the design of my
prototype was essential as it would ultimately be them using it.

The research that I conducted throughout the project determined how the final
design, functionality and features of the app would be produced. The field study, in
particular the interviews in person, led to building my understanding of why food is
wasted and the habits of students when they buy, store, prepare, cook and clean.
Once I felt I had gained a deeper understanding of my target audience and their
relationship and opinions around food, I wanted to gain an insight into existing
technologies how they have been implemented, whether it be in the form of mobile
applications, installations or events.

Scanning through both the Android and IOS app stores for existing apps around my
topic area gave me inspiration for what my prototype could eventually be and it also
helped me to see what hasn’t been created yet, which had an impact on what my apps
intentions would be. The user testing was of high importance to me as I wanted this
app to be something that students would actually use, and by having students
participate in my testing meant that I could see first-hand what their thoughts and
opinions on my application were and how it could be improved for them.

7.2 Future Development

I designed this app because I really feel it could be implemented into college life. Any
further development of the app will have to keep the students at the centre of its

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design, although the app could be implemented in different environments like a
University. Speaking to certain personnel on campus, especially those in charge of
Campus Life Services, the possibility of this application becoming an implemented
technology is very possible. The likes of incoming first year students and international
students living on campus could be introduced to the app, which would help them
meet new people and learn how to cook meals that are healthy, which many have a
lack of experience doing before they arrive to college.

The app was designed to be adaptable and responsive to most phone screen sizes, but
the app could be implemented in a different format, whether it be a webpage or
integrated with social media platforms such as Facebook.

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8. Conclusion

The aim at the beginning of this project was to try and develop a technology that could
encourage food sharing amongst students. Through completing multiple processes, I
successfully created a mobile application which I feel could do that. I carried out
extensive research into existing literature on the area and existing apps and
community schemes. I carried out comprehensive field studies including an online
survey, interviews and focus groups to get a better understanding of how students
interact with food, from shopping to cooking to reusing.

It was important for me to reach a consensus on how students perceived sharing food
with others and getting their opinion on what they felt could be done to encourage
students to eat together and develop good food practices. Investigating the problem
areas such as student’s schedules and their allocation of time towards cooking meals
would help me going forward with the design stage. Seeing what the college had done
in the past when it came to the area of food waste led me to speaking to certain
individuals which gave me valuable information which would help me determine what
my final product would ultimately be. As a result, I developed a high-fidelity prototype
for a mobile application which will not only encourage students to share food, but will
help them meet new people in a relaxed sense, and allow students to learn new meals
and food practices from one another.

The design process and the development of my prototype was always performed with
focus around the focal point of the end user, the students, tied in with the principles
of good HCI design. To reach the end product of a designed prototype took multiple
steps, starting with a task analysis to determine what the aim of my mobile application
would be. User testing allowed me to move from paper prototypes to a low-fidelity,
which finally led to my high-fidelity prototype. A cooperative evaluation of the final
prototype allowed me to tweak any final issues with the app, with my participants
being students who were asked to give their honest opinions with regards to the
design and functionality of the application.

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To perform this project, I used all the knowledge I have gained over the previous four
years to my advantage, from researching to design, it wouldn’t be possible without
the education I have received in my time at the University. It has allowed me to
express my creative talents in certain ways which is something I always strive to do.
From completing my cooperative education programme, I gained the experience of
taking on extensive tasks such as this one, and learned how to complete them
efficiently and effectively, which I hope shows within this report. This project has given
me confidence in my abilities going forward into a career outside the University and it
is something I feel was very beneficial for not only the development of my career skills,
but also personally. It relies on you taking full responsibility for getting tasks
completed and stepping out of your comfort zone of being told what to do as you must
make decisions for yourself.

It was a project that I got very involved with from the beginning and I gained a passion
for environmental and social issues that could benefit or be solved through the use of
technology. Going forward in my career, it would be something that I would have a
keen interest in seeking out within a job description. At the beginning of the project, I
may have focused too much on the food waste issue, but through my research and
field studies, I began to expand my mind on the reasons for it and began to think about
students from other perspectives, such as the difficult prospect for of meeting new
people and making friends for some.

Not taking a narrow approach to my project was a key turning point for me as it
opened new options going forward which I relished. I realised that my final product
could have more purpose than just something for sharing food, and being a student
myself, I think that using technology is a positive manner, such as the way I have
outlines would be of great benefit to some students, as it is still important to interact
with others in person.

From the feedback I’ve got from students and staff that I spoke to during our demo
day, I feel that my prototype is valued and seen as something that could have a
genuine impact on students’ lives. The reception I got gave me great confidence and
made me believe that this could be further developed past the point of submitting this
report. Going forward, my hopes are that what I have achieved will be further
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developed into a fully functional mobile application which will be implemented on
campus here at the University of Limerick, as I truly believe that it could be of
significant benefit to students for making new friends and developing their food
practices. And if this is the case, it could be promoted in other colleges and universities
across Ireland which would be an amazing feat for me.

I will continue to communicate with members of the University, especially Campus


Life Services in the hope that the development of a finished, fully functional mobile
application could be integrated into students’ lives. I would also like to communicate
with other Universities and Colleges in the hope that they too could integrate Bia into
student’s daily lives. I feel there is a really market for something like this which
hopefully I can work on with support from others.

This project has helped me grow in many ways and I feel that it is one of the most
valuable tasks I have undertaken in my life. I look forward to hopefully partaking in
projects similar to this after I finish my time here in the University.

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9. References

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Available at:
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consumer behaviours causing expired domestic food waste", Journal of Consumer
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Ganglbauer, E., Fitzpatrick, G. and Comber, R. (2013) "Negotiating food waste", ACM
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ACM conference on Pervasive and ubiquitous computing adjunct publication -
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Ganglbauer, E., Fitzpatrick, G. and Güldenpfennig, F. (2015) "Why and what did we
throw out?", Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in
Computing Systems - CHI '15, p. 1106. doi: 10.1145/2702123.2702284.
Gross, S., Toombs, A., Wain, J. and Walorski, K. (2011) "Foodmunity: Designing
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Iua.ie. (n.d.). University Fast Facts | Irish Universities Association. [online] Available
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8.2, Available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gotfood-help-you-not-to-
waste/id984747376?mt=8
Kolko, J. (2012) Wicked problems worth solving. Austin, Texas: ac4d, Austin Center
for Design.
Limerick.ie. (n.d.). UL Farmers Market | Limerick.ie. [online] Available at:
https://www.limerick.ie/ul-farmers-market [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].
McDonough, W. and Braungart, M. (2009). Cradle to cradle. London: Vintage Books,
p.3.
McDonough, W. and Braungart, M. (2007). Cradle to cradle. William McDonough and
Michael Braungart.
Monk, A., Davenport, L., Haber, J. and Wright, P., 1993. Improving your human-
computer interface: A practical technique (Vol. 1). New York: Prentice Hall.
Ourfarm.ie. (n.d.). ourfarm.ie. [online] Available at: http://ourfarm.ie/ [Accessed 10
Nov. 2017].
Pantry Plan, (2017). Pantry Plan, [software] Version 0.0.7, Android 4.1, Available at:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.pantryplan&hl=en
SF Environment. (n.d.). Zero Waste by 2020. [online] Available at:
https://sfenvironment.org/zero-waste-by-2020 [Accessed 21 Oct. 2017].
Stop Food Waste. (n.d.). Stop Food Waste Communities - Stop Food Waste. [online]
Available at: http://stopfoodwaste.ie/resources/communities/ [Accessed 3 Nov.
2017].
Street Feast. (2018). About - Street Feast. [online] Available at:
http://streetfeast.ie/about/ [Accessed 14 Apr. 2018].
Torch B2B, (2014). Wise up on Waste, [software] Version 2.1.0, iOS 5.1.1, Available
at: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id646425536
The Journal (2013). 'I'm the CEO of the Capuchin Day Centre and my salary is nil'.
[online] Available at: http://www.thejournal.ie/capuchin-day-centre-ceo-1243488-
Dec2013/ [Accessed 19 Oct. 2017].
The UL Community Roof Garden. (n.d.). Who we are and how it works. [online]
Available at: https://ulcommunityroofgarden.wordpress.com/who-we-are-and-how-
it-works/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2017].
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at: http://www.ul.ie/international/living-ireland [Accessed 9 Dec. 2017].

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Ul.ie. (2018). Open Campus Studio | University of Limerick. [online] Available at:
https://www.ul.ie/opencampusstudio/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2017].
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10. Bibliography

Abras, C., Maloney-Krichmar, D., Preece, J. (2004) ‘User-centered design’,


Bainbridge, W. Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Thousand Oaks: Sage
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Blythe, M., Comber, R., Olivier, P., Thieme, A., Vines, J. and Wright, P. (2013). HCI in
the press: online public reactions to mass media portrayals of HCI research.
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Bowler, H. (2018). Examining what college students eat. [online] Spunout.ie.
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interactions with human-food interactions. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
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Chelsea Green.
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Shareable. (2016). SHARECITY100: Exploring Food Sharing in 100 Cities. [online]
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11. Appendices

11.1 Appendix 1: Information Sheet - Interview

INFORMATION SHEET

The Information Sheet to be provided to Participants and where appropriate, School


Principal, Teacher, Parent/Guardian, should include the following:

Dear _________

My name is Thomas and I am currently undertaking a Final Year Project at the University of
Limerick under the supervision of Gabriela Avram. The title of my proposed research is
Campus Food Share. The purpose of this project is to undertake field work (interviews,
focus groups, observation) and design a prototype for an application/system allowing to
organise and monitor food donations. The prototype will be evaluated with potential users
and go through a redesign cycle. Participants will be asked questions about their food
practices (shopping, planning, cooking, storing) and suggest possible ideas for a technology
that will promote food sharing on campus between students. All participants names will be
kept confidential and the information collected will be used to formulate an idea based on
student’s opinions and habits.

There will be no risks involved in this study for the participants. Interviews with participants
will last roughly 15-60 mins depending on their situation. This also applies to any
participants involved in the testing of the prototype. Participants have the right to not
participate or withdraw at any time. There will be no audio/video recorded during the field
work with participants.

If you have further questions regarding this research please feel free to get in touch with
either myself or my supervisor using the email addresses listed below.

If you have concerns about this study and wish to contact someone independent, you may
contact: The Chair, Faculty of Science & Engineering Research Ethics Committee, University
of Limerick, Limerick. Tel: 061 202802

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Wall, Gabriela Avram, Department


14147238@studentmail.ul.ie of Science and Engineering,
Gabriela.Avram@ul.ie

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11.2 Appendix 2: Consent Form – Interview

CONSENT FORM

Consent Section:

I, the undersigned, declare that I am willing to take part in research for the project entitled
“Campus Food Share”.

• I declare that I have been fully briefed on the nature of this study and my role in it and
have been given the opportunity to ask questions before agreeing to participate.
• The nature of my participation has been explained to me and I have full knowledge of
how the information collected will be used.
• I fully understand that there is no obligation on me to participate in this study
• I fully understand that I am free to withdraw my participation at any time without
having to explain or give a reason
• I am also entitled to full confidentiality in terms of my participation and personal
details

______________________________________ __________________________

Signature of participant Date

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11.3 Appendix 3: Initial Questions – Interview

Initial Interview Questions

1. How long have you been staying in shared student accommodation?

3. Describe how you usually plan a shopping trip.

4. Do you ever go with your housemates when shopping for food?

5. Do you ever shop together?

6.How much do you spend on food per week?

7. How often do you go home on the weekend?

8. How often do you share food with your housemates? What foods do you usually share?

9. Do make shared dinners with your housemates?

10. What are the foods you throw out the most? What are the reasons?

11.Would you use leftover food from dinners?

12. Could you see yourself using an application that would encourage food

sustainable practises and tackle the problem of food waste?

13. Would you donate your unused food (uncooked) to a convenient location for others to
use?

14.Would you pick up donated food from a convenient location if it was free to do so?

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11.4 Appendix 4: Online Survey Results

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11. 5 Appendix 5: Low Fidelity Screens

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11.6 Appendix 6: Finished App Screens

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11.7 Appendix 7: Promotional Posters

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11.8 Appendix 8: Demo Day Poster

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11.9 Appendix 9: App Walkthrough

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11.10 Appendix 10: Breakdown of Work

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