jennifer allen
user experience
research & design
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The GroceryMate
CHI 2008 Student Design Competition Finalist

Designers: Jenny Allen | Rajasee Rege | Bob Molnar | Eric Drewski

Design Problem:

"Design an object, interface, system, or service intended to support the state of living without a house. Use methods of ethnography and contextual research to understand the problem space, and develop user-centered design solutions to support, assist, enhance or otherwise benefit your target audience. Your solution could address the environmental state of being without a house, including issues of physical sustenance and safety, or it could investigate the emotional, social and cultural needs of this group of people." [CHI 2008 Website]

Design Process:

Through an iterative process, my team and I conducted primary and secondary research, narrowed the scope of the problem space and identified a target group. We developed over 20 design concepts based on insights from our research. After selecting a final concept, we created multiple iterations of our prototype based on feedback from concept and usability testing. The pictures below document some of the activities that were conducted during the design process.

Research and Design Methods Used:

  • Literature Review
  • Focus Group
  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Interviews
  • Fly-on-the-Wall Observation
  • Affinity Diagramming
  • Brainstorming
  • Storyboarding
  • Personas/Scenarios
  • Information Architecture
  • Prototyping
  • Cognitive Walkthrough
  • Usability Testing


I played an active role in each of the activities listed above. My most impactful contributions involved the primary research and secondary research activities, flushing out the concept, prototype development, usability testing, and the writing of the final paper.

Design Summary:

People who are homeless in the United States lack adequate amounts of nutritious food which is detrimental to their health. We have designed a grocery shopping assistance device that strategically requests affordable and nutritious food donations that charitable organizations need to feed the homeless. We target grocery shoppers, since doing so allows us to leverage mass participation, as well as frequent and balanced community participation. This device employs persuasive technology to elicit emotions of empathy and alter the behavior of grocery shoppers to encourage them to donate. The device provides the shopper with an enhanced, personalized shopping experience making it appealing to use.

Design Document:

The GroceryMate: Eliciting Community Empathy and Transforming It into Purposeful Action


CHI 2008 Student Design Competition Poster


Dr. Martin Siegel

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