Nutrismart Dining App
Industrial Design Thesis Project.
Design for Public Health Nutrition by increasing self-efficacy.
How might we encourage students to make healthier food choices through digital point-of-sales systems?
The Nutrismart Dining App encourages students to make healthier food choices through increasing self-efficacy.
A crucial gap in Public Health Nutrition lies in inadequate environmental support for intrinsic healthier eating motivations. School canteens are one such food environment. Therefore, Nutrismart provides personalised nutrition literacy at the point of food decision-making. It features a new dynamic nutrition indicator among other clever nudges so that users are inclined to make better-informed choices.
Supported by NUS Healthy Campus Initiative.
Summary of Approach
In my design process, I addressed three key barriers:
1) Complexity about Nutrition
2) Setting actionable goals
through introducing the following features:
1) Dynamic streamlined Nutrifacts scale
2) Collaboration with canteen vendors
3) Call-to-action App Notifications
Design for Public Health Nutrition
Public Health Nutrition refers to the promotion and maintenance of nutrition-related health of a population, through organised efforts and informed choices of society. It deals with both under (deficiency) and over-consumption (toxicity) of nutrients.
Despite national health promotion efforts, national statistics show a worrying increase in the prevalence of nutrition-related chronic diseases, which reduce our quality of life, and also burden society with unsustainable healthcare costs. Meta-analysis has shown compelling evidence that healthier diets can prevent the onset of chronic diseases.
However, our compliance to dietary recommendations is relatively low - I saw this as a behavioural design challenge.
The design of food ordering systems can play a pivotal role in nudging students to choose healthier food options.
It’s not that people don’t want to make healthier choices. In fact, 90 out of 100 university students I surveyed want to eat healthier, but less than half of them feel confident in their ability to do so. This preliminary survey reveals low self-efficacy among the students, and perceived high barriers to behaviour change.
Upon discovering that NUS is looking to digitise its point-of-sales systems across all canteens, I felt it was a prime opportunity to redesign the current NUSmart Dining Application, in a way that would encourage students to make healthier food choices.
Existing food labels do not effectively communicate nutritional information, hence perpetuating confusion and misinformation. I designed ‘Nutrifacts’ as a new streamlined nutrition indicator for prepared food. It is interpretive as it aligns with students’ current behavioural patterns and intuition.
The App is programmed to provide personalised nutrition literacy, even optimising nutritional parameters for students, such that the user experience increases students' perceived self-efficacy. Through a series of experiments and user testing, Nutrismart Dining (App) redesigned is evidence of great potential to leverage digital systems to support public health efforts and individuals' personal motivations.