Pocket Chefs is a food tech startup that connects personal chefs with customers to cook food out of their refrigerator for an affordable price. They offer their services in three main areas — meal preparation, special events, and cooking lessons.

I worked with Pocket Chefs for three weeks on a team with two other UX Designers where we designed and delivered a native iOS application. My role was to manage and design the user side of the app while my teammates were responsible for the chef and administrator sides. In the end, we completed user personas, a feature prioritization list, process flow charts, and high-fidelity mockups which were all handed over to Pocket Chefs in our deliverables.


Establishing confidence with customers

Due to Pocket Chefs being an early-stage startup, they were experiencing problems in establishing confidence with customers. One pain point we found to be a major issue was the booking process featured on their website. If a customer were to decide on booking a chef, there would be very little details on what was to be expected before and during the cooking session.


Increasing transparency and setting expectations

By increasing transparency regarding how their service works, customers would more likely use Pocket Chefs due to their comfort in knowing what to expect before an appointment. Our MVP (minimum viable product) that we focused on for this project was their customer onboarding screens and booking process. Through research and testing, we felt that it played an important role in establishing confidence with customers.



72% of people cook leftover food

We started off this project looking to identify our target user base to get a better grasp on who we were designing our solution for. Initially, we were not able to get in contact with any current Pocket Chefs users, so we broadened our scope and conducted a 150+ person survey to better understand people's cooking habits. Through the results, we discovered that:

72% of people intentionally cook leftover food
86% of people disliked the amount of time required to cook
64% of people preferred to cook because it was healthier


We continued our research by conducting interviews with 8 people from ages 23-51 to investigate the nuances of our survey results.

We learned that people cook leftover food in order to save time for themselves. Although this was a more efficient way of cooking, it still didn't address the amount of time people were spending in the kitchen, which ranged from 60-90 minutes per cooking session.


We wanted to conduct usability tests on the Pocket Chefs website to see what people thought of how the site was currently set up.

3 out of 4 people we tested on expressed mixed to negative feelings about it, as they felt hesitant about proceeding to the booking page. They claimed that there wasn't enough information on the site that explained how their service worked, which made them feel uncomfortable.

When revealing the booking page to our testers, they remained to feel tentative, as details about the appointment were scarce and limited to just the calendar date and time.


Investigating personal space

Through our user interviews and usability tests, we learned that people felt wary about a chef coming into their home to cook food in their kitchen — let alone one that had little to no information about who he or she was.

We investigated services like Airbnb, Lyft, Couchsurfing, and Zeel to better understand what these companies were doing to instill confidence in their users when strangers would enter their personal space.


Transparency matters... a lot

After conducting more interviews with people that used these types of services, we identified that transparency played a major role in why people trusted strangers coming into their personal space. Ratings, reviews, and photos were all factors that contributed to the feeling of people's safety and assurance.



The development of our user persona began to take shape at this stage in the project. Our goal was to gather all the data from our interviews and synthesize it into a person that Pocket Chefs could target their service towards. Enter Glen, someone that:

Didn't have enough time to cook
Preferred to eat healthier foods
Disliked spending money on eating out
 Frequently used services like Airbnb, Lyft, etc.



Introducing Glen to the project informed our user journey map, as it helped paint a clearer picture as to what the pain points of our target user base were.

Three areas of opportunity we wanted to address were:

 User onboarding
 Booking process
 Consultation before appointment


We interviewed a few Pocket Chefs to which they informed us of the most common questions they ask customers during the consultation:

 How many people to cook for?
 Any dietary restrictions?
 What would you like to cook?

Implementing these questions into the booking process would improve customers' consultation experience as the chef would be better prepared to speak with them.


The moment of truth...

The decision to create a native iOS application for our solution was based on a long-term business goal of Pocket Chefs — to feature all communication between the customers and chefs in one location.

We created a first version of the onboarding screens and MVP booking form via paper prototype and tested it out on people to see if they felt well-informed throughout the entire flow.


60% of people were overwhelmed

The feedback we received was generally positive as most people felt confident in understanding what the service provided and what they were getting themselves into.

However, 60% of people we tested claimed they were overwhelmed by the amount of text on the booking form. After multiple iterations and usability tests, we decided to nest details of each field into separate screens so customers could better track their flow.

Booking Process


Design for the low-hanging fruit

Communication and transparency didn't just end up in our design solution — it played an essential role for our team as well. Since all of us were frequently working on different sides of the project, it was important for us to communicate regularly and keep on the same page with each other.

My biggest takeaway from this experience was learning to not spend so much time thinking of a solution that tries to persuade people that are skeptical about the product or service into using it. Early on, I spent too much time mulling over a solution that would convince skeptics to use Pocket Chefs, when I could have spent more time designing a solution for people that required no convincing at all — the low-hanging fruit, so to speak.