Track to Thrive

Simplifying the process of logging meals to help you succeed in your health journey through behaviour change

Through semistructured interviews, crowdsourcing, and literature review, we designed four features, grounded in behaviour change theories, to help reduce the effort required to track meals. The features were evaluated for perceived efficacy, receiving a positive reception upon preliminary evaluations.

This was a four week long project executed as part of a HCI methods elective.


Researcher & Designer


Team of 4




Semistructured interview


Affinity mapping

Systematic brainstorming

SUS based descriptive qualitative analysis

Kano Analysis


Logging food requires a lot of effort


Users know that a good diet will help them achieve their fitness goals. But they are unsure about what to change in their diet because of an unestablished baseline.

"And if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."


A new feature within Fitbit's food tracker to simplify the experience of logging food, enabling the users to stay motivated and aware through their fitness journey.


Final application design & solution

Over four weeks, we understood the pain points associated with logging meals on health applications, and designed fixes that systematically tackled the challenges encountered. These designs were prototyped using Figma, with preliminary evaluations demonstrating higher desirability from users to log their meals.


Simplifying access

Notifications and widgets that directly take the user into the flow that allows them to log their meals were introduced. This reduced the number of clicks required to begin logging.


Simplifying logging

Users are provided three simple modalities to log their meals - camera with AI detection, voice annotated logging, and an even more simplified text search.


Presenting logged meal

Users are shown their logged meal as a designed card that accounts for the method they used to log. This also provides supportive feedback by presenting their meal in a positive light.


Motivation through information

Incorporating nutritional and health-related information in the form of ‘Smart Cookies’, adds an element of interest and entertainment. Users may find learning new things about nutritional value or health benefits engaging, which can enhance their overall experience while providing tips and tricks to improve their habits.


Social stimulus

Encouraging users to share their stories can be a motivating factor in logging their food, as it fosters a supportive community. Sharing stories can also provide inspiration to continue engaging in the behavior.



The Snapshot provides a visual record of their meals as well as offers daily weekly and monthly statistics on the consumption of macro-nutrients. This enables the user to to reflect on their behaviors, identify patterns in their diets and make informed decisions.

How did we realise these features were needed?

User research

We started this project by conducting semistructured interviews with participants (n=5; ages 22-35) about their fitness goals and how they integrate dietary targets into their daily lives.


Desire a good diet

Users believed a good diet would help them in all aspects of life


Lack of direction in achieving a good diet

While dietary goals varied in responses collected, the common culprit was users not knowing what change to make in order to achieve said goal

But this was information we got from only 5 user interviews. We decided to corroborate this information using crowdsourcing, asking a number of people to fill in the blanks for the statement below.

I want to _______ my diet so that I can achieve _______.

This made it clear that users had varying goals, ranging from just wanting to make a change in their weight to eating only certain macros. Some users were very knowledgeable about nutrition and dietary management, and other users less so.

So why aren't people able to keep track of their dietary needs?

Secondary research

Logging meals everyday is highly laborious

We reviewed several academic papers that conducted surveys on user perception of food logging apps and found that they do not make the task of logging meals easy. The amount of information asked up front either deters users from attempting the task, or the number of steps involved to get an accurate representation decreases the user's self efficaciousness in completing the task.


Said it takes too long to enter the data


Felt apps did not hold their interest long enough


Found existing apps confusing to use


Wanted control over data sharing


Left app because of hidden costs like features hidden behind freemium models

Target users were defined

They were going to be users who had tried tracking and found it cumbersome, but who still wished to understand what they consume to make the necessary improvements to their diets.

In order to get existing users to regularly partake in the activity of logging their meals, we would need to design for behaviour change. One of the main challenges identified from our research was users giving up on tracking because of the high cost of involvement, which had to be addressed through our intervention.

Behaviour change model

Social Cognitive Theory was employed to improve self efficacy and adherence to logging

The theory suggests that if the capability to change one’s behaviour exists, enabling self efficacy, making the recipient aware of the potential health outcomes, and reinforcing these two aspects will help achieve one’s behaviour goal.

Project goals


Simplify meal logging

Reduce the barrier of entry to tracking the foods eaten in the course of a day.


Reward the activity of logging food

Reward users with informational tidbits about the food they logged to reinforce the outcome expectations.


Enable social engagement

Providing social proof, and using engagement to drive the motivation to log.


Reflect on food habits

Allow for a reflective analysis of foods consumed, giving the user agency in determining how they wish to modify their diet to meet their health needs.


Ideas focused on simplifying targets and increasing motivation

The brainstorming process involved two key objectives: 1) finding ways to simplify meal logging and 2) devising strategies to encourage users to consistently track their meals. Through various methods and approaches, our team worked to develop solutions that would streamline the process and increase user engagement.

Fidelity of information collected was reduced to ease the effort required to log

We realised we needed to make a compromise on the fidelity of the information users would be allowed to log in. Highly detailed information would translate to more insights regarding how to improve one's diet, but it also would increase the effort required to log.

Given that our target audience was quite broad, it was likely that they needed to be initiated into learning about the details in their meals. This also meant that they were unlikely to know about the details in their foods. Therefore, we chose to ease the effort by collecting information of lower resolution.

The structured brainstorming allowed us to weed out irrelevant ideas. The final user flow captured the most critical aspects of the design and provided a clear and coherent path for our design.


Usability tests were conducted with 5 participants

System Usability Scale based qualitative descriptive analysis through semi-structured interviews were conducted to evaluate the prototype with users. We also conducted a variation of Kano Analysis to understand which features were the most desirable.


Food logging

All users chose to log in using the camera function, thought it as very simple way of doing things.


Smart cookies

Users like the fact that its informational, useful and fun, but had trouble recognizing it and associating it with nutritional knowledge.


Social engagement

Users may not use the feature and share stories themselves, but like to look at others’ stories.



Central to the app, and most important feature for all user, most users found it clear, concise and useful.


Cookies feature is useful but needs improvements. Users love looking at their data! Even if users do not directly engage with others through stories they find it useful to stay motivated. Accuracy of AI image recognition could be potential pain point.


User-friendly experiences are born out of continuous improvement and research

Our focus has been on finding ways to increase user engagement while maintaining accessibility. We have explored various approaches, such as improving input options without sacrificing simplicity, incorporating Smart cookies to reinforce outcome expectations, and utilizing social stories as a motivator. While these efforts have shown promise, they have also revealed areas that require further research and exploration. For example, while social stories have been effective in motivating users, they have not fully met the needs of all users, such as accessing recipes. We will continue to evaluate and refine our designs to create optimal user experiences.

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