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Nutrition Label

Over the course of five weeks in Fall of 2016, I redesigned the nutrition label, focusing on representing nutritional data in a more visual manner to increase comprehensiveness of what nutrients were beneficial or detrimental. This was my first time following a human centered design process with user research and analysis.

The Problem

As a high school athlete, I had spent a good amount of time researching the best food to fuel my body for cross country meets and soccer games. However, it came to my attention that most people don't spend the time to understand nutrition, or are unaware of its complexity. I found the "one-size-fits-all" method of a suggested 2000 Calorie daily intake to be misleading — caloric intake varies greatly between individuals — along with the government's choice to highlight certain nutrients over others.

The first part of my project: I compared three different nutrition labels and explored their differences, mapping their customizability and educational value.

User Research

I conducted three interviews with three separate age groups, as those who have spent more time with nutrition labels are likely to have more knowledge about them. In the interviews, I asked how often they read nutrition labels, if the nutrition label affected their eating choices, and to walk me through how they read the label, noting what they thought were beneficial or detrimental nutrients. Comparing the different groups revealed the lack of intuitive-ness exhibited by the current design, as the youngest group, despite the participant stating that they often read nutrition labels, was not able to categorize the majority of the nutrients.

The second part of my project: I interviewed three separate age groups using the discussion guide. The red sections represented sections that the interviewee perceived as a detrimental nutrient, the green represented beneficial, and no color represents neutral/no comment.

Ideation

I then brought my research to my sketchbook and drafted up around 60 ideas. I took inspiration from physical products (such as school lunch trays that helped with proportioning food) and data visualization/charts. Additionally, I gathered more information from an online fitness group to gather their opinions on the flaws of nutrition labels. The ideas I chose to focus on included a QR code that allowed users to input their own information to view customized values on their phone, color coding for immediate at-a-glance understanding, visuals to represent serving sizes, and a representation of caloric and macronutrient relationships.

Final Redesign

I created two separate layouts to account for varying packaging. Some key features of the redesign include serving size visualization to better show how many servings are in one package, macronutrient breakdown as opposed to caloric, represented as bars for quicker understanding, color coding nutrients to associate nutrient values with beneficial or detrimental, and a QR code for additional (possibly customized!) nutrient information.

Reflection

Looking back, I would look more into other perspectives beyond the user, such as the manufacturer or food industry. Additionally, I would like to explore more about more layouts for even more packaging, and possibly finding a solution for color blindness and increasing accessibility. I definitely learned a lot more about design in terms of usability and beyond just aesthetics, and I enjoyed interacting with people and understanding a niche problem.

If you'd like to learn more, you can check out more details on my Behance here!