Bake and Barter

CS 220: Human Computer Interactions Project

By: Emily Faith Anderson, Beatrice Egan, and Claire Schlenker

P0: Project Proposal

Problem

Baking on campus at Wellesley can be really difficult. You often do not have the ingredients, pans, or utensils you need, and even if you do, you might not know what to bake or how to do it! There is no way for student bakers to connect with each other and share their collective resources. Because of all the challenges to baking, as well as cooking, Wellesley students do not bake frequently. This application seeks to help fix the baking problem at Wellesley by providing a resource to connect bakers: those who needs items with those who have them. Nobody wants to buy a dozen eggs when they only need two, or buy a cupcake pan to use only once, so our application will allow bakers to post what they need and have, and ultimately create an exchange to encourage more baking. By creating an application to facilitate the exchange of baking ingredients and implements, this project also seeks to change the way that baking is perceived on campus by encouraging the spread of baking information (tips, tricks, recipes), creating a community, and providing an opportunity to reduce waste ingredients. Our application relates the food experience, by adding ease to the baking experience. It also includes elements of change by utilizing mobile technology to facilitate sharing. This not only assists the users but has an element of sustainability focused on utilizing resources to their maximum potential.

Users

The target users of this application are Wellesley College students who are interested in baking on campus. The users will primarily be between the ages of 18 and 24, but some users may also be non-traditional students. The users will therefore have similar educational experiences, and are assumed to be fluent in English. Additionally, the users are expected to have strong experience with computers and mobile applications because of the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets. The kitchen facilities at Wellesley vary among the residence halls, but most residence halls have basic implements on each floor (oven, stovetop, microwave, and refrigerator). However, some of the facilities are small and have limited storage and counter space. The users are expected to have different backgrounds in baking, as well as different motivations. Some of the possible background and motivations for our users include the following:

After initial implementation of the application at Wellesley College we would like to grow the user base. We could extend reach to other college communities, neighborhoods, cities, apartment complexes, housing developments, etc.

Proposed Solution

Users should quickly be able to either post items that they have, or browse items that they want. As such, our mobile interface is very simple. After logging in, they can either update their profile information, post items, search items, or review items they've posted. Users of our application come in with a very specific purpose: they either want to find a baking supply that they don't have, or they want to post a baking supply that they do have and don't want (or are willing to lend). We want our users to be able to do this with as little hassle as possible. Thus, the design for all of the pages of our application is very concise. This sort of application is particularly suited for mobile devices because most college students consistently have their mobile devices with them. They can easily take a photo of their item with their mobile device, and post it with minimal hassle (as opposed to a web app, which would require them to take a photo, sync that photo to their computer, connect to the internet, log on to the web app, and then post an item). It is also likely that a number of users will turn to our application in the middle of the cooking or baking process, after realizing they forgot an ingredient that they don't own. In this scenario, it is far more likely that a user would have their mobile device with them, as opposed to their computer. The mock-ups below represent our initial ideas for the design of the application. After the initial login screen, users have the choice between posting an item they have and looking for an item they need. As described above, the upper-right mock-up shows a straightforward way to enter item information. The bottom two screenshots demonstrate a proposed solution for the search function of our application, as well as the options once a user finds an item they would like.