I am back to blogging! It's been awhile since I have posted here. I took Direct Research class at Pratt Institute this last spring and this place will turn into my data base platform for my Thesis project. Here's my Direct Research Design Problem Statement.
Direct Research Design Problem Statement
When I would go grocery shopping with my friends from school, I often saw them head directly to the frozen TV dinner section or grabbing junk food for their meal. So I asked them why they don’t just cook something simple and healthier than that premade crud. They said me that they are either no good at cooking or don’t know how to cook in the first place. They also told me that they have tried before, but cookbooks don’t help them, because they’re too hard to follow and they always need to go buy a lot of extra ingredients or equipment to finish. I understand that they are busy college students, but I am concerned about their health probably more than they are.
It’s not surprising to hear that eating frozen TV dinners, junk food, and fast food is not good for people. While I was researching to collect data about direct relationship between your health and the food a person eats, I found out that those who have poor eating habits like that often have serious health problems occur in their lives from high-cholesterol foods like cheap fast food. Eating cheap is great for our wallets, but what matters is if you are eating smart or not. The average person who loves eating fast food for lunch and dinner is much more likely to be overweight, compared to other people and they often have higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so they a greater chance to have a heart attack or diabetes.
Then how can we encourage people to cook more often for both themselves and their loved ones or friends? Why do they have so many problems to cook a little something? The major problem of most current cookbooks are that they are hard to read, since there’s more than often no walkthrough to assist the reader with their step-by-step help. Even on-line cookbooks also contain these problems. They’re full of text instructions on how to cook certain dishes, but they’re still difficult to read in most cases and this makes it hard to focus with measurements and using luxury ingredients that most cooks do not know much about. Most new cooks don’t know how to read the measurements properly and they get often overwhelmed, even before they start to cook. I believe that major cookbooks and on-line recipe sites don’t show enough clear and legible information step by step; too often relying only on short snippets of text, hoping that the audience understands.
However, with the current economy, more and more people are trying to cook at home, but they are still unsure where they can find easy-to-follow recipes to pair with their low budgets. I think cooking also needs a lot of practice, like anything else, but the process of learning how to cook can be simplified and we need a solution to solve this problem in order to encourage people to cook more often and to think more about their health. We, as designers, need to come up with solutions for our audience, which must be easy and clear information contained for them. I think writing a recipe is a job for a cook and creating the right format to act as our information container is our job as designers. We need to think about how we can approach our audience easily and freely, without overwhelming them.
The most common and easily accessible medium to create the information container will be web-based. It’s easy to use; one just needs to get access to the Internet through a computer or smart phone, which is common enough. With wide-open, web-based recipe data and instructions, people can easily gain access to these design solutions and learn something useful to improve the quality of their everyday lives and their health at the same time. Once you learn something basic in cooking, it stays with you for a long time, because your tongue and body will remember what you learned. Nowadays, people are into more personal health and body issues and they want to know what is in the food that they are getting from restaurants, where nutritional data just isn’t available to them. When they realize their favorite fast food contains too many calories, trans fat, or carbs, I believe that they will try to cook more at home, instead of eating out all the time. It’s a good way to save money in the current economy as well. With good marketing and branding on the design solution system, people will find out about or come across the easy, simplified design solution and find that it will give them help to improve, not only cooking skill, their lives in a healthy and positive manner.