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CookUp !



A platform that connects foodies via meetups for cooking experiences.  

CookUp: Cooking Experience Sharing Platform


UI/UX, Experience Design, Mobile

Background: it is an individual project as part of Behavior and Experience Design Studio, under the mentorship of  Prof. Kristian Kloeckl. This course elaborates human-centered design in the context of information visualization and experience design with a focus on the theme: “Experiencing Platforms”





Sep 2017- Dec 2017



Individual project

Product Designer

Visual Designer



Competitor Research

Interview & Persona


Experience Mapping


Usability Testing



Adobe XD


Pens / Paper  

- cookup allows individuals to hold cooking classes -

Find a cooking class in your city!

CookUp filters allow you to find the

best-fit cooking class。

Checking hoster's profile

allows you to better understand

her/his cooking style.



Post a cooking class in your city!

Post your cooking class to the public!

And you can decide who will

receive your post on CookUp platform.



CookUp ensures your privacy and

safety during the cooking class. 




- The opportunity -

Food itself is a Platform


Food is the best platform for communication that connects people together. Cooking is much more than words and pictures, cooking is about the experience behind food. 

The goal of cooking experience sharing platform is to generate communities and people with common interests and consensus. Cooking varies from different cultures. By creating meet-ups only for cooking, the city could be explored by sharing its culture and lifestyle.


01. Competitor Projects Research


Epicurious provides online recipes sharing. User types: recipe creator and recipe seeker.


Pros: it is a digital brand for consumers interested in food and cooking-related topics, everyone can find and create a recipe on it.

Cons: the social function is unclear, and the recipes are all recorded in words and pics.



Meetup provides online matching & offline meeting. User types: Meet-up creator and Meet-up seeker.


Pros: it brings people together to do, explore, teach and learn the things. But it is not a professional platform for learning cooking. 

Cons: it is not a professional platform for the cooking experience.



02. Findings: What Types of Users Will Be on this Platform?

According to the competitor research, two types of users on the platform: the cooking event creator & seeker/participant. So, why don’t we create a platform that shares cooking experiences online and offline together? It iCOOKUP! A platform for cooking meet-ups!

event creator


ON-LINE recipes sharing

OFF-LINE cooking experience sharing

03. One-on-One User Interviews

Since I found cooking is a lifestyle generated from cultures. I interviewed 12 people, most of them have an international background. Considering they have different diets and culinary culture backgrounds, they will be the main target user group for my platform and content creators. 



The interview outline includes Background, User's daily life, User's benefit / Motivation, Attitude toward strangers. The following are the main questions I asked them.


  • Have you ever posted/blogged your cuisine recipe online or share with others?

  • Will you be happy to teach others to cook your recipe? At home or somewhere public?

  • Are you willing to invite strangers to your home or public space to share your food? Could you tell me what is your concern?

  • Will you like to try offline activities about food and cooking?


04. Pain Points Extracted from the Research

Here comes the main pain points extracted from the user interviews:

Matching is a Problem

if I am the participant, how do I know I am capable of this event?

It is a cooking class; I can not just come with my stomach.

Privacy is a Problem

If I am the event creator, how can I trust the people on the platform, and even invite them to my home? 

05. Two Personas for Two User Groups


As a cooking class participant:

I tried online dating before, I think cooking could be a more natural starting for meeting some new friends for me.  😉

As a cooking class hoster:

I personally can’t really trust people from social media, but if the profile can convince me that this person it not harmful, I might be willing to invite and teach them how to cook. 🤔


- Ideate -

01. Ideation: Define the Platform Main Features

I kept reading the Geoffrey G. Parker's book Platform Revolution during my design. It helped me a lot on understanding how platforms use technology to match users in a multisided marketplace, unlocking hidden resources and creating new forms of value. Based on competitive analysis and user research, I decided to include the following features that provide the most value to users in the MVP:

To solve the problem

of privacy

  • The filters are needed to protect user privacy when creating an offline event 

  • Activity records can make the user profile be more credible

  • It is an experience sharing platform, online sharing serves for the offline cooking activities​

  • Creators and participants can switch side anytime

Core interaction &

two-sided network effects​

  • Records & Feedback provide a comprehensive background of the creator


  • The filter is needed to provide some special needs when seeking for an event

To solve the problem

of matching

02. Sketch: Design Concepts Earmarked for MVP

Creators and participants can 

switch side anytime.

Filters are needed

to protect user privacy when creating an offline event.

Filters are needed to provide some special needs when seeking for an event.

Records provide a comprehensive background of the event creator.


- System Layout & Development -


01. Alignment Diagram

& It Helped Me Get Urban-level Suggestions

To begin with, I made this alignment diagram based on the MVP main features. It shows the service flow of the entire platform: from online searching, matching, reaching agreements, to holding the offline cooking events. After the event is completed, the cooking content is recorded and uploaded to the online creator's profile (it is shown in the past events' category, but it is also a video-based recipe). This virtuous loop system between online and offline platform can inspire more event creation and more participation.

"Cook-up celebrates the City! "

Not only the platform can benefit from the city by using the spare space, the city can also benefit from the platform, such as the ingredients in farmers market can be used directly, some fewer-visitor restaurants can rent out their spare space and kitchen. What is more, tourists can get a better understanding of the city culture through cooking experiences, etc.

02. Lo-fi Design Concept & Does It Tell the Story?

First Round Usability Testing and Design Implications:

Too much content on the search page. I only come to this platform for cooking events. I hope it just presents what I want here. 😮

I always like the "nearby" function. Hope I can explore my community through it. can even become a dating platform. 😳

Implication: Yes, recipes should serve for the offline cooking events.

Implication: A map-based search mode can be added for searching an event.

I like the settings before event post. Especially the function that you can let only specific groups of people see the event. This makes me feel safe. 🙂

This user profile convinces me. What if I am interested in the events that this user has held in the past? 🙂

Implication: More design focus will be here:

set up detailed filters for users on both sides

(creators and participants)

Implication: You can leave a message... But an "interested" button makes your voice louder!


03. Information Architecture After Usability Testing


I convened what I learned from user research and sketch & Lo-fi prototype feedback sessions into this design concept and system layout. (Please click on the following image to expand them.)


04. Mid-fidelity Prototypes & Put Them in the Storyboard

Second Round Usability Testing & In-story-prototype Feedback

I found this test method is very efficient and comprehensive. The storyboard allowed me to involve more users in a limited time. I printed the storyboard out and showed the story in a 5 mins video and got a lot of feedback from 22 people. More importantly, when given a user context, under the guidance of the story, the testers gave me more details.


Key findings for next steps:


  • The homepage can have two browsing modes: a map mode and a cooking theme mode.

  • Advises on privacy protection process, such as which groups receive event reminders.

  • Two user-flows, but encourage event posting is always a good way to keep and gain more users.

  • How to verify the participant's identity to ensure safety?

  • The cooking event/class could be recorded as video or photo by smartphones in the APP.


Design Flow1

- Design -


01. Participants' Flow: Find a Cooking Event



Two Browse​​ Modes

Two browse modes allow the users to explore events in different scenarios. The user could

also set its filters when searching for events,

such as "the event doesn't require any skills

for participants."


Event Card

Details of the event could be viewed on the Event card. After clicking join button, user will receive a confirm notification telling more details (like the real location. User can set a notification push about the event.


Check Hoster's Profile

User can get a closer look at the host's profile: recipes, event host, and event attended. This function helps the participants to make a better decision on the event. Users could also view the past events as recipes and get more understanding of the host.


Moreover, this encourages every user (hosts & participants) to better manage their profile: host and attend more events.


02. Hosters' Flow: Post and Hold a Cooking Event

Design Flow 2


Event Setting before posting

The event host can set specific filters for the event. Besides the basic information about the event, the filter of "who will receive this post" helps to prevent users privacy. Actually, more filters setting will bring more accurate matching.


Before a Cooking Event

Scan the participants' QR code ensures the event safety. And this helps CookUp collect users' activities.

CookUp APP can record the cooking process during the event. After synthesizing the records to a video-recipe, hoster can post it to her profile. Thus the user can generate more attention and trust.


During a Cooking Event


03. Consistent Visual Design



Consistent event cards 

Visual Design

- Evaluation & Iteration -

It was not easy to put two types of user flow together, but the usability test on the interactive prototype showed people love CookUp! One suggestion I got was to change the "content" icon to "create" icon at the top right of the interface. I made the change on both participant 's and hoster's page. Although it was just an icon, two users said: "it can encourage me to post an event."  

One of the most frequent questions in CookUp is the event record part. I think it is because I saved a lot of time on building this flow on the interactive prototype, the steps and actions in context are unclear. Besides, the record and edit function may be too much for this platform, but I feel smartphone streaming could be the future steps.


- Reflection -

Platform design? Open to see the big pictures!

Platform design is complicated as it connects various user types and both online and offline activities. It was a big challenge for me but I found things became clear and exciting when I try to think in an urban perspective! I learned that users are part of the society, design can make an impact on our city.

Always validate design assumptions with users
I am glad I keep the design process user-centered. Had I not tested my early iterations with real users, I would not have changed my focus from how I can allow users to find recipes and cooking events based on that recipe, to how I can encourage them to trust other users and find the suitable events on the platform. Moreover, I found that the storyboard was always welcomed by the participants when validating my design : )

All cooking photos credit to my favorite ins blogger: akipinnote

Next: Design @ Philips Lighting

Mobile & Web UI + UX Design

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