My Hungry Buddy helps people stay healthy

Post ten
By Marie Good

Speaking with a peer member about my proposition allowed me to gain an idea into how she understood my proposition and feedback was received into the ways she felt the proposition could be improved to increase it’s chances of success. Her feedback allowed me to reconsider, and consequently, completely redesign my proposition, as she, as well as my tutor bought up some interesting points that I had overlooked or not put too much thought into. These were the following:

  • What would the main influence or take home value be
  • Be more specific about the target audience or it may be hard to influence everyone
  • How could you create a more obvious motivation to get people involved
  • How could you create surprise in the minds of the audience to influence a bigger impact
  • Could this turn into a game somehow

Taking this feedback into consideration lead me to completely scrap my original idea and come up with another, that had been highly influenced by my earlier research. I also realised this idea was, in reality, less of a design solution to educate and more of an event for entertainment. The line I wanted to draw was somewhere in between this crossover.

As mentioned before, the key insight from my research that assisted me to create this new design proposition came from an interview with one of my classmates who disclosed thoughts on the stereotype of being unhealthy as someone who is overweight. I found this interesting at the time because of existing ideas I had about metabolic and genetic differences affecting the breakdown, distribution and storage of energy cells, thus affecting the visual side effects of consumable intakes. This insight prompted me to ask myself the question, what if the elements affecting weight gain were the same for everyone and solely determined by the nutritional breakdown of consumables placed into the body? I also drew on research surrounding the power of edutainment; which is education taught through the emergence of technology, particularly games such as phone applications or game consoles. Here, I was able to create the basis for my game proposition and My Hungry Buddy was born.

Revised proposition

My hungry buddy is a service design and part generative system that aims to educate people on their food choices in an attempt that the consequences of physical weight gain or loss and potential future health problems may influence the individual to make wiser food choices.

My Hungry Buddy provides a personal logging system and education platform on eating behaviours and encourages people to make sensible nutritional choices. The game works firstly by the user creating a customised avatar and profile of themselves, including height, weight, age, body type (if known), and basic activity level. The game then creates their character and uses this information to calculate intake requirements and basic vitamin requirements. The user then logs their food intake by meals, like in the existing app, My Fitness Pal and this information is then placed against the intake requirements and influences the user’s avatar by either placing weight on or off the character. It also analyses the meal for nutritional or vitamin imbalances and warns the user of potential future health complications if this type of eating persists.

In addition, the user has the opportunity to scan barcodes while shopping and place these into their intake to see if a particular food is healthy or not healthy. They have the opportunity to store this information of items in a catalogue called a ‘food pantry’ for future, quick go to uses and can also share this information on a forum platform provided, to connect with other users.

My Hungry Buddy hopes to educate solely on nutritional requirements and therefore does not take fitness into account at this stage of the proposition process, however there is potential to include this in the future. Edutainment in this regards, is a private journey by participants that can have the power to promote healthy choices and educate on healthy living.

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