The case of missing vegetables

Research Methodology – User Research

User research involves the process of interaction with the users, understanding these needs, wants, and limitations of theirs and converting them into meaningful insights that will further help us design a better system.

  1. Research Objective.
  2. Hypothesis: Assumptions
  3. Research Screener
  4. Interviews
  5. Synthesis – Archetypes
  6. Insights
  7. Value proposition – System map
  8. Scenarios.

Research Objective:

In a metropolitan city like Chennai which is surrounded by a good agricultural landscape the COOK and SEE challenge aims to understand how the city’s vegetable diet has changed. It aims to use the ‘Samaithu par’ book as the base to investigate why we do not find a big number of the vegetables mentioned in the book regularly in our kitchen.

Is it not strange that we have such a wide choice of vegetables, but we stick to only a few? Hence the challenge also involves user research and insight development to invite people to offer their opinions, to find the right questions to be asked.

Hypothesis Generation:

The idea was to cook with underused vegetables using traditional recipes suggested in the books and through the experience trace the answers to these questions. We believed that cooking with them will help us understand from the consumers perspective, the difficulties faced by them in procuring these veggies and cooking with them.

Hypotheses – Home cooks:

1. There is a gap in the transfer of recipes and food knowledge from the previous generations to the current generation. The more people look up to blogs and vlogs for recipes, the more distant they are from the unique heirloom recipes in their families.

2. Absence of meal planning is the reason why we resort to only a small group of vegetables when we have such a wide range available. Planned meals and planned shopping can help us explore a variety of vegetables, instead of repeating the same.

1.Identifying the target group

Screening Parameters

20 – 60 Years old


Interest in vegetables and cooking

Motivation to cook at home

Target user: Home cooks

Location: Chennai

  1. The research focuses on the group of users who cook regularly at their homes.
  2. To understand if there are any difficulties faced by the home cooks in buying the desired vegetables.
  3. To understand if any vegetables are left out consciously or forced by external factors.

2. Location


3. Research Screener


1.Identifying personas

After Interviewing about 25 Home cooks from different age groups, professional and personal backgrounds we started noticing patterns and common stories emerging out of their answers. As we developed personas out of their answers these patterns became more evident. Since patterns are based on behaviors, we started grouping users with common behaviors that were relevant to our research into Archetypes.

2.Putting them on the Matrix

In order to group them, we needed a matrix along which they would fall into groups. A matrix that is built with parameters that are key aspects that have emerged out of our research so far. In the first step, the matrix we developed has two axes which relate the source from which the users learned to cook with the variety of vegetables present in their diet. As the next step, we started arranging the interviewees along with the matrix based on their behaviors and stories. Slowly user groups started emerging out of the matrix.

3.Coming up with the User profile

Slowly user groups started emerging out of the matrix. We named them based on the key characteristics of each user group. These user profiles would become personas, fictional characters that are easy to relate to and to explain their behavior patterns. These user profiles would help us better understand different behavior patterns among users that cover a wide spectrum. This would help us generate key insights and opportunity areas that we can tap into.

4.Coming up with insights and opportunity areas

To be continued….