Mealthy: Software & Appliances for the Heart of the Home
Web, Mobile, Physical
My time at Mealthy was interesting and challenging. Preemptively building a digital platform to coincide with physical product releases is a very meaty problem set. I’m going to highlight a few specific parts of my 8 months working with the team. I had the opportunity to be an early contract hire which allowed me to grow and lead a very talented team as the organization scaled up.
Starting from Scratch
As the first contractor for Mealthy I was able to help the CEO define systems and processes to create a product-focused culture. Being the first and only designer for a while meant we were working through a lot of bad ideas. I worked with the CEO to bring in the first engineering contractors to work with the editorial team. We tackled a lot of the crazy early stage work - like branding, defining a basic visual system and helping build and evolve a brand bible.
Beginning with Data
Coming into working with our CEO I was adamant that we have a company mandate to be - at the very least - data informed. He agreed to set aside budget and allow us to set aside time for the collection and use of both qualitative and quantitative data. I wanted to make sure we had a clear picture of what was happening on our platform. Our CEO went one step further and hired a Business Intelligence and Customer Experience Analyst. Having a dedicated team member to run guided usability tests on mock ups and staging servers for our site and app was an immediate game changer. We were able to use that data and some of her recommendations to iterate early-on and avoid potential experience challenges. As we launched the the early versions of the site and app her ability to tie qualitative and quantitative data analysis to features we were building was invaluable.
Mealthy products are built around the joy of eating well and sharing it with others. We hoped that sense of community was carried through the products and digital experiences. Working with Business intelligence we did some competitive analysis to see what kind of saving experiences others were using. While some other recipe products at the time had saving there were limitations. Caps on how many items can be saved, a bad UI for those saved recipes and sometimes the saving function flat out didn’t work. Knowing those things we set out to build V1 of the best recipe-saving feature on the internet. The business impact of our work on the recipe box section were felt immediately. People were coming back repeatedly to save, share and rate recipes. Engagement on the platform increased quickly and was incredibly helpful in pushing sales of physical products.
Leading and Growing a Team
As our team grew, I found myself taking on more and more responsibility. I continued contributing day to day as designer but more and more I was defining design and front-end coding processes, having 1:1’s and reporting back to the CEO. I was overseeing these kinds of high level details right up to the point that we hired dedicated UX designers to work directly with the CTO and our Business Intelligence Researcher.