A simple and flexible meal planning system

Following on from my post about stealing ideas, here’s the first instalment from my Coursera design project. I’ll share this work as I go along and then I’ll open source the project properly once the course is over (in seven weeks).

Design problem definition:

I am developing a simple and flexible meal planning system that generates a shopping list to help people reduce their food bill and cut down on food waste.

A list of  user needs derived from interviews and observation

Exclamation points indicate potentially latent needs using the Kano Model. These are basically the things users may want, but may not realise they may want; a chance to over-deliver and delight.

The planner and shopping list is flexible

  • The planner and shopping list is suitable for a weekly food shop
  • The planner and shopping list is suitable for a fortnightly food shop
  • The planner and shopping list lets me count breakfast, lunch and dinners separately
  • The planner and shopping list doesn’t make me chose which meal to eat on each day
  • The planner and shopping list is adaptable if I see something on special offer at the shop
  • ! The planner and shopping list can be changed after the shop if something was out of stock
  • The planner and shopping list works if I only want to plan for a few days
  • The planner and shopping list let me add items that are not part of my recipes, like washing liquid

The planner and shopping list is helpful

  • ! The planner and shopping list reminds me of meals I like to cook
  • ! The planner and shopping list learns from my behavior
  • The planner and shopping list estimates how much my shop is going to cost
  • The planner and shopping list helps me review the cost of my food shop
  • The planner and shopping list helps me reduce my food bill
  • The planner and shopping list helps me reduce waste
  • ! The planner and shopping list gives me ideas for things to make this week
  • ! The planner and shopping list lets me review the things I eat most often
  • The planner and shopping list can be reordered to group things as they appear in the shop
  • The planner and shopping list reminds me of meals I haven’t made in a while

The planner and shopping list is practical

  • The planner and shopping list has a list of meals and a list of ingredients
  • The planner and shopping list can be cross-checked with the contents of my cupboards before I shop
  • The planner and shopping list lets me add things as I think of them during the week
  • The planner and shopping list lets me tick off items as I’m doing my food shop
  • The planner and shopping list organizes enough meals until my next food shop
  • The planner and shopping list lets me cross of meals as I make them
  • ! The planner and shopping list can be printed and crossed off as I use it

The planner and shopping list is suitable

  • The planner and shopping list affordable
  • The planner and shopping list works on my laptop, iPad and husband’s Android phone
  • ! The planner and shopping list works even if my phone or iPad is offline
  • The planner and shopping list is saved so I don’t lose it like my paper shopping list
  • The planner and shopping list works as I’m walking around the supermarket
  • The planner and shopping list can be shared with my husband
  • The planner and shopping list can be used in the kitchen, living room and at the supermarket
  • The planner and shopping list lets me prepare list and give it to my partner
  • The planner and shopping list works on my computer but can also be printed

The planner and shopping list is simple

  • The planner and shopping list is easy to use while I’m shopping with my children
  • The planner and shopping list is easy for me to use
  • The planner and shopping list is better than my scraps of paper
  • The planner and shopping list is preferable to writing a list on paper
  • The planner and shopping list is secure but easy to access
  • The planner and shopping list is not complex or confusing
  • ! The planner and shopping list is fun to use