Anna is an English teacher and a certificated city guide, passionate about good food and a big fan of Warsaw. She loves organising picnics for small groups of friends in remarkable locations and sharing the history of those places. The popularity of those meetings encouraged her to make her dream come true. In 2020 she started her own, unique business that combines her key strengths - storytelling and food: Warsaw Food Stories. Anna asked me for help with her blog design.
Contemporary food and the history of Warsaw are not an obvious pairing. The challenge was to combine the functionality of culinary art with a city guide blog. Anna says that our food and storytelling content must spark curiosity, intrigue and fascination. Above all we must have variety and have a balance to cater for all our customers and audience tastes. It's how we wanted Warsaw Food Stories to be: a well-designed fresh and surprising alternative on the digital map of Warsaw.
UX and UI design
Bearing in mind Anna's words about meeting her clients needs I decided to start with getting to know potential users of Warsaw Food Stories by asking them a few questions about their needs and preferences. Just as we thought, respondents answers turned out to be very valuable pieces of information which helped us understand and define Warsaw Food Stories customers and audience needs better.
What I learnt from the interviews:
Next step was creating personas which helped me in the design process
After collecting information from potential users and collating together my online research I was ready to systematise my findings. I defined the target audience and their psychographics. That helped me to create user personas and finally name users and client needs.
After getting to know more about the customers I wanted to expand my knowledge of current trends in culinary and city guiding blogs, so I performed some further online research and did some detailed competitor analysis.
After defining strategy I was ready to create a sitemap of Warsaw Food Stories website.
To verify the sitemap a tree testing study was conducted using the Tree Jack tool provided by Optimal Workshop. The participants were ask to complete three tasks.
1. Find an article reviewing a Vietnamese restaurant. Success- 90%,
directness -80%, average time to finish the task- 17,8 seconds
2. Send an email. Success- 90%, directness 90%, average time to
finish the task- 4,9 seconds
3. Find the plum cake recipe. Success- 90%, directness 90%, average
time to finish the task- 6,8 seconds
Now was the time to start thinking about the design for Warsaw Food Stories. I did some drafts and discussed them with Anna. After a productive ideation session we came with a general direction we wanted to focus on. The next step was to produce low-fidelity wireframes
After typing "Warsaw" in Google you are likely to be bombarded with lots of images of the Old Town or the Royal Castle. This is what most tourists usually want to see and this is okay. However, if you want the road less travelled, join Anna's city tour and- you are more likely to experience "the local way": enjoying a cup of coffee at the roof of Wedel's Chocolate Factory (definitely the best view in the city!), tasting honey freshly extracted from the beehive placed at the top of a Soviet style blockhouse, or spending a whole day exploring vibrant local markets.
This is how we wanted Warsaw Food Stories to be: vivid and fascinating, but at the same time, totally 'Warsaw'. My inspiration came from the colours of Wojciech's Fangor paintings and posters, the subtlety of Tadeusz's Rolke photography and shapes from modern capitol's buldings.
1. Thinking outside the box is always a good approach when it comes to design. Different and distinctive angles can make your work outstanding and fresh.
2. Look for inspiration everywhere! Sometimes it's good to get off the beaten track. When you are doing research, don't focus only on mainstream solutions.
3. As creatives we tend to drift away with our creativity and at times deviate from the end goal. Outstanding design? Yes! Unique functionalities? Why not! But only when they are responding to customers, readers or clients' needs.
Design is like cooking- it's easy to cover up the freshness of the meal and it's ingredients just by adding too many spices.