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Interactive Design Student 


Executive summary 



For this prototype, we used the GDD method to help bring this to life. Goal-Directed Design (GDD), coined by Alan Cooper, is a user-centered design approach that focuses on understanding and addressing the goals and needs of users. Rather than solely focusing on features and functionality, GDD emphasizes the importance of designing products and experiences that help users achieve their desired outcomes effectively and efficiently.

Ladle is a Mobile app prototype that helps users gain and maintain healthy eating habits, discover new recipes and overall obtain more knowledge and cooking skills for themselves, friends and family. 

I am very proud to introduce a mobile prototype app that I had the pleasure of completing along side my 3 other team members to help guide users and help them discover new cooking skills. With our carefully curated collection of recipes and features, we're here to inspire and empower you to embark on flavorful journeys right in your own kitchen. Here on the Process Page, we take you by the hand and guide you through each step we took forward in creating this prototype by using the GDD (Goal-Directed Design) method introduced by Alan Cooper. I was required to read About Face 4th edition which helped immensely on this project. This includes 6 phases- Research, Modeling, Requirements, Framework, Refinement, and Support. For my group's prototype Ladle, we spent two to three weeks on each phase to accomplish our users' needs and goals.  


Carissa Dolby (Me) 

Richy Camarillo 

Nia Montgomery 

Jhayden Poole 

Team Leader

Team Member

Team Member

Team Member

Research Phase 

Kickoff meeting: 

The first step in this was the kickoff meeting, the initial meeting to really understand what were looking at. My 3 team members and I discussed many different assumption statements to try to address and and focus on different behaviors and attitudes users might possess, in order to better understand our users needs and goals. Throughout this meeting, we were able to narrow who our user type(s) would possibly be alittle more.

Lit review:

 The second step is the literature review. In this step our team did extended research of reviews, blogs, journals, websites and different social media opinions mainly on struggles individuals might have with cooking or finding recipes. This new knowledge and insight from the research really helped understand what our users struggle with the most, and what we could do to improve that.

Competitive audit:

The third step is the competitive audit. Competitive audits are a process of evaluating and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of competing apps or companies in this field. 

It involved gathering and analyzing certain information such as different features an app has. 

This process helped us gain insight into their strategies and performance. For example, I reviewed the popular recipe app tasty, and went over what they were super successful at, but also what could use improvement.

User interviews: 

Our last step in this phase was the user interviews. We were able to interview 5 different people to gain more personal insights on our products domain. After each interview, our team members discussed what we heard and performed a affinity map to help organize our findings better. Throughout this process, we were able to understand the needs and struggles real people face while cooking or planning a meal on a daily or weekly basis.

The Research Phase plays a vital role in the design process, enabling designers to gather essential information about the product domain, user demographics, and the overall vision for the product.

 The next phase in this process is the modeling phase. This phase helped us Identify behavioral variables andIdentify significant behavior patterns. Through this process we synthesized characteristics & defined goals of our user types as seen below. We had two different persona types; A primary persona and a secondary persona. 




Modeling Phase 

Primary persona 

Our main user , Joel Jackson, is designed to embody individuals who have limited cooking experience. Through our research, we identified other interviewees who share similar traits to Joel and expressed a desire to cook more often. However, they feel dissatisfied with existing recipe websites and applications as these fail to cater to their specific requirements. Drawing insights from our primary user persona, we determined that our app should prioritize meal planning, and recipe discovery. Furthermore, we recognized that it is crucial to address the needs of users seeking a balanced approach to their eating habits, based on the life goals reflected in our primary persona

Secondary persona

Our secondary user,  Emily Myth, embodies individuals who have sporadic engagement with the app. This persona was constructed using data from interviewees who indicated that they already have  cooking experience and primarily seek recipes when preparing meals for their families. The main objective for this persona is not only to uphold a healthy lifestyle, similar to the primary persona, but also to explore a wider range of recipes. After identifying the desired outcomes, we concluded that the life goal for this persona should revolve around empowering users to unleash their creativity in the kitchen.


Golden silverware on a white plate
Chard leaves
A hand holding a cocktail

In conclusion, I take immense pride in the accomplishments of my group, as we successfully achieved our objective of developing a distinctive recipe app feature applying the Goal-Directed Design (GDD) process. I personally really like how the prototype turned out and I had alot of fun creating it with my team members! 

The following phase in this process is the requirements phase. In this phase we were able to create problem/Vision statements, identify persona expectations and construct context scenarios.


During this phase, we underwent a process of refining our problem statement based on extensive research and persona development. Subsequently, we crafted a comprehensive vision statement for our app Ladle, outlining its purpose and how it would accomplish the objectives of achieving balanced diets, and efficient kitchen/pantry management. The vision statement emphasized that our goals would be fulfilled through features enabling culinary exploration and structured eating habits



Following this, we engaged in brainstorming sessions to construct a context scenario—a narrative roadmap illustrating how users would interact with our product. To create the context scenario, we drew upon brainstormed ideas to determine the specific use cases and integration of our app into users' daily routines. 

Having completed the vision statement and context scenario, the next step was to generate ideas on the visual design and functionality of our app. These ideas were divided into two categories: data needs and functional needs. In the data needs category, we identified the necessary features to store and retrieve specific types of data. 


Requirements phase 

Refinement Phase 

The Refinement phase marks the final stage of the GDD Process, during which we conducted usability testing on our prototype and gathered feedback to enhance our app.

For the usability testing, we invited select interviewees to participate in person, closely observing their interactions with the app and noting areas for improvement. Participants were directed to follow specific pathways within the prototype. We carefully analyzed any challenges or insights that arose during the testing session. We came across a few changes that needed to be done, such as the community feature and the navigation bar. 

Frameworks phase 



During the creation of our wireframes, our team deliberated on the essential user journey based on the Context Scenario we had established. Since our context scenario revolved around a user scheduling a meal, our main focus was on designing the navigation flow to the scheduling page and enabling the addition of a meal. During this, we were able to identify our key path scenerio and our valadation scenerios.  

The next phase is the frameworks phase. This is my favorite phase of the whole process. The framework phase is where we put all of our research and findings into a framework. During this process we were able to lay out different frames and interactions, to give us an idea on how our app should look and work. 

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