Overview

Anna is an English teacher and a certificated city guide, passionate about good food and a big fan of Warsaw.  She loves organising picnics for a small group of friends in remarkable locations and telling people about the history of those places. The popularity of those meetings encouraged her to make her dream come true. In 2020 she started her own, unique business that combines her key strengths - storytelling and food: Warsaw Food Stories.  Anna asked me for help with her blog design.

Goal

Modern food and the history of Warsaw are  not obviously related. The challenge was to combine the functionality of culinary art and city guide blog. Anna says that both storytelling and cooking, to be good- must spark curiosity, intrigue and fascination, but above all they must be well balanced and fit the tastes of listeners or consumers. It's how we wanted Warsaw Food Stories to be: a well-designed fresh and surprising alternative on the digital map of Warsaw.

Process

-Research

-Strategy & information architecture

-Site map

-Test

-Wireframe

-Design

Research

Bearing in mind Anna's words about meeting her clients' needs I decided to start with getting to know Warsaw Food Stories' potential users by asking them a few questions about their needs and preferences.  Just as we thought, respondents' answers turned out to be very valuable pieces of information which helped us understand and define Warsaw Food Stories Customers' needs better. 

What we have learnt from the survey:

Respondents use the web to find out about new restaurants in their area, places with healthy food, places with vegan food and to find recipes. To get that information they mostly use Facebook, Instagram, culinary blogs and TripAdvisor. They are more keen to visit a new place with good online reviews and nice pictures of the food/restaurant on their website/social media profiles.

After getting to know more about the customers I wanted to expand my knowledge of current trends in culinary and city guiding blogs, so I plunged myself into online research.

Strategy & information architecture

After collecting information from potential users and online research I was ready to systematise my knowledge. I defined the target audience and their psychographics. That helped me to create user personas and finally name users and client needs.

Target audience

Gender

Slightly more women than men

Education

College education or higher

Occupations

Office workers, academics, business owners, creative industries,
medics

Age

Late 20s to 65

Location

Warsaw, tourists visiting capitol of Poland


Psychographics

Personality and attitudes

-professionals

-curious about the world

-open to new experiences 

-eager to learn

Lifestyles

-meeting people

-travelling

-dining out

-visiting museums, 

theatres, art galleries

Values

-liberal

-openminded

User personas


Kasia (29)

-an accountant in a global company 

-mother of a six-month-old boy 

-family- oriented

-moved to Warsaw from a small town

Dominika  (32)

-an entrepreneur, PhD student 

-loves to travel

-marathon runner





Tomasz (52) 

-a stylist/fashion designer 

-liberal

-loves social events

-easy-going


User / client needs

User needs

-subscribe to newsletters

-get questions answered 

-events booking, information

-read Anna's articles

-restaurant reviews

-watch Anna's videos

-access to Anna's recipes



Client needs

-growth of subscribers database

-a hub with content produced by Anna, easily accessible to users  

-events sales increase 

-growth of social media channels' popularity

-attract potential sponsors


Site map


After defining strategy I was ready to create a sitemap of Warsaw Food Stories website.

Tree testing

To verify the sitemap a tree testing study was conducted using the Tree Jack tool provided by Optimal Workshop. The participants were ask to complete three tasks.

1. Find an article reviewing a Vietnamese restaurant. Success- 90%,
directness -80%, average time to finish the task- 17,8 seconds

2. Send an email. Success- 90%, directness 90%, average time to
finish the task- 4,9 seconds

3. Find the plum cake recipe. Success- 90%, directness 90%, average
time to finish the task- 6,8 seconds


Wireframe

Now was the time to start thinking about Warsaw Food Stories' design. I did some drafts and discussed them with Anna. After a productive ideation session we came with a general direction we wanted to focus on. The next step was to produce wireframes in Balsamiq.  

Design

After typing "Warsaw" in Google you are likely to be bombarded with lots of images of the Old Town or the Royal Castle. This is what most tourists usually want to see and this is okay. However, if you want the road less travelled, join Anna's city tour and- you are more likely to experience "the local way": enjoying a cup of coffee at the roof of Wedel's Chocolate Factory (definitely the best view in the city!), tasting honey freshly extracted from the beehive placed at the top of a Soviet style blockhouse, or spending a whole day exploring vibrant local markets. 

This is how we wanted Warsaw Food Stories to be: vivid and fascinating, but at the same time, totally 'Warsaw'. My inspiration came from the colours of Wojciech's Fangor paintings and posters, the subtlety of Tadeusz's Rolke photography and shapes from modern capitol's buldings.

Wojciech's Fangor paintings and posters

Tadeusz's Rolke photography

Modern architecture of Warsaw

The core of WFS has three elements.

1) Warsaw Food, where Anna's posts her articles about the capitol's culinary scene.

2) Warsaw Stories, where you can find relations from events and articles about the History of Warsaw.

3) Recipes: blog section where readers can find Anna's finest recipes. 

Each section has assigned one colour inspired by Fangor's work. From a UX point of view this is supporting navigation. From a UI point of view, this makes the design more attractive.

Main menu animations

Post default & hoover states

Search box

In the article section I put spaces for quotations. Here Anna can add some interesting facts about food, places, etc. Due to the limited spacing in the mobile version that section is covered under the box icon so users can open it if they want to.

Key learnings

1. Thinking outside the box is always a good approach when it comes to design. Different and distinctive angles can make your work outstanding and fresh. 

2. Look for inspiration everywhere! Sometimes it's good to get off the beaten track. When you are doing research, don't focus only on mainstream solutions.

3. As creatives we tend to drift away with our creativity and at times deviate from the end goal. Outstanding design? Yes! Unique functionalities? Why not! But only when they are responding to customers, readers or clients' needs.


Design is like cooking- it's easy to cover up the freshness of the meal just by adding to much spices.

 

Using Format