User Research – Planning – Setting the Goal Posts

Step4 - User Research MapRonan and Liz developed this mindmap to highlight the goals of the user research developed from an intial mindmap of Ronan’s that highlighting hypotheses of where this application might go. It is a well assumed fact that social connection plays a role in the decision making of food – and that self reporting of understanding and reading nutrition labels can be somewhat dodgey.



We wanted to find out the following from our participants

  • Their current behaviours surrounding variety in their food intake – where they might be open to 3D printed foods
  • Can they even tell if it’s 3D printed or not if shown in the right way – or presented nicely?
  • The role of social – is it motivators in the change of diet?
  • Can the role of convenience in keeping or breaking a diet be understated?!
  • What information do people seek, if any?

We particularly wanted to pay attention to anyone that might have gone on a Low Glycaemic Index or Plant Based diet in regards to Type II Diabetes management as this corresponded well to the brief as its symptoms can be triggered by some carbohydrate consumption and plant based diets have been found to help bring diabetes under control.



Brainstorming – Initial Refinement (Mindmap, Affinity Diagram, Product Ideas)

We summarised the 3D food aspects as follows from our research

Step1 - Food printing mindmap

(Yes, we’re quite aware that ‘meat’ is spelled wrong, but this photo is too nice)

Next Steps – Who to focus on?

As you will have noticed from our previous blog post, we sort of ran wild seeing all sorts of academia and media out there surrounding 3D food printing, wanting to break free, somewhat, from all the media given to use from the OZCHI organisers.

Affinity Diagram

Step2 - Affinity Mapping

Ronan directed us to make a list of all the potential problems we foresaw in order to access the best user group with the best potential right now. He pushed us not to think of the potential mechanical problems that might occur (exhaust, chemical contamination from a new and somewhat thoroughly untested method of food production). These ideas stood out:

  • Edible QR codes – are people really interested in the journey of their food and food sustainability?
  • Where the opportunities lie – gamification, a potential way of building a new relationship to food in the future currently not explored? Unnatural?
  • Customized food intake – is that something people are interested in?
  • How can we better integrate this into technology that we currently possess to make it relevant?

Potential Products

Step3 - Product Ideas


Here we explored how we would explore ideas and why, it had to be relevant to a user group in need right now. Although Liz wanted to focus on a combined experience that students might use in dorms so they wouldn’t have to think about their nutrition, Frederik and Ronan were in favour of a broader user scope so that we might explore the issues involved in “users wishing to change their diet”.

What we learned

  • Neatly summed up the potential benefits and problems associated with 3D printing of food that aren’t restricted to technological challenges that could be overcome in the next 5 years or so.
  •  Closer to a core user group but there are still questioned to be answered – we could dream up scenarios where this might be advantageous, but who would actually want custom made food if their current solutions may actually work just fine?


  • User research! Who are these people who ‘want to change their diet’ and what do they need? What could 3D printing give to them?