Mealthy: Software & Appliances for the Heart of the Home

Completed

2017

Role

Product Designer

Platform

Web, Mobile, Physical

The Challenges

I was the first person on board for this project. That in and of itself is definitely a challenge. Seeing a product through from ground floor vision to launch is an exhilarating and often stressful responsibility. Hiring, making recommendations for best-practices and having hard conversations with other designers were all very challenging to me. Being another recipe site was a challenge at first. We embraced our ability to overcome that saturation with physical products and things have been humming for the team at Mealthy. I’m very proud of the work we did and they continue to do.

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.

A collage of bad ideas
Work through the bad to get to the better

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.

2 cell phones showing the saved recipe button on one and the actual saved recipes screen on the other
Saved Recipes were a tier 1 feature.

Empowering People

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.

the progression of the recipe page over several months
The progression of the recipe page over several months and transitioning team members.

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.