* The primary goal of this project was to create user-oriented solutions to a researched problem, rather than on the visual components of the products. Products that are beyond the scope of present technology were not off the table.

Allergy Interaction Design

UI/UX, App Design, Product DesignFall 2023

Product mockup, App
4 weeks

Interaction Design: Health and Wellbeing
Advised by Elizabeth Kramer &  Annemarie Spitz

Adobe Illustrator

UI Design

Those with food sensitivities deal with a myriad of struggles that affect their daily living. I was tasked to design a screen-based high-fidelity mockup and a non-screen based alternative that would address a specific challenge I found in my two weeks of intensive research regarding this topic.

Road to the Final Product
Initial Research TakeawaysImmersion Experience

For one week, I avoided foods that contained my assigned allergy, nightshade. I fully immersed myself into the shoes of a person with food sensitivies in order to formulate a greater sense of empathy and understanding. During this week, I avoided nightshade plants, which include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, red pepper flakes, eggplant, and paprika.

I found that one of the greatest issues I was coming across was cross-contamination. Many dining services, especially at my college, do not have heavy protocol in regards to equipment usage and cooking processes. Our school’s build-your-own salad bar was a prime example of an area where a person with a nightshade allergy would likely avoid. Although each ingredient is placed in a seperate bin, food from one container can easily transfer to another. Each bin I observed had traces of other ingredients in them from nearby bins. Thus, a person with a nightshade allergy would have to cut this out from their meal options, limiting their range of healthy meal choices at school.

Another issue I found was that many unexpected foods contained the ingredient, including a wide variety of sauces. I had to prioritize checking the ingredients list for any trace of nightshade plants.

Interview Experience

I interviewed three people who had a range of diverse allergies. One cited that their quality of life was decreased due to their gluten intolerance, and that there were always limited options for them to eat in the school dining halls, during social events, or restaurant outings with friends. From her experience, most people are uneducated about what a gluten allergy is, and many cannot give a hard yes or no on whether something is gluten-free. I also confirmed that cross-contamination was a large factor, and even a small trace of an allergy-containing food can trigger unwanted symptoms. I also gained further understanding about the importance of checking the ingredients list. For more common allergies, such as peanut, one of my interviewees stated that most products had obvious indications of whether it consisted of that ingredient or not. However, for my interviewee with a gluten intolerance, she had to check for more obscure ingredients that contained wheat, such as barley malt or yeast extract.


I created storyboards for each concept on Adobe Illustrator. My goal was to illustrate a situation where the user might need the product, and show how the product could be solve their problem.  
Goodeats: Screen-Based Mockup

Optically: Non-Screen Based Mockup

Screen-Based Mockup

For people with allergies, it can feel impossible to find restaurants that cater to their dietary restrictions.

This review-based app provides detailed information from users to other users to provide first-hand experience and insight on the allergy-based aspects of specific restaurants. One of my interviewees stated that the biggest issue with having an allergy is eating out in social situations. She feels like a burden when the restaurant others choose does not match her needs or simply does not have enough information online to feel secure in eating there. With this app, however, she could search through it beforehand to see how well it matches her allergy restrictions and receive information from trustworthy users.

Users would interact with this app by inputting their allergies (can edit later in settings), which will curate all restaurant suggestions to match their allergy needs. It will then take the user to the main home page, which essentially suggests filters and allows the user to search for specific restaurants or categories. After filtering, it gives users a list of restaurants that match those filters. Under each restaurant, it provides a plethora of allergy-related information about the restaurant, notably including reviews for different categories of how allergy-friendly the restaurant is, with a main review that averages the subreviews.

Non-Screen Based Mockup

Optically is ideal for allergy-containing users who are eating out and are unsure of their food content.

From the research phase, I heard extensive criticism on the nature of a large spectrum of restaurants, many of which are unsure or misinformed about if their food contains the allergen the user has. One of my interviewees stated that with her gluten allergy, many people cannot give a hard yes or no as to whether something is GF, and cannot eat at places that refuse to clean their equipment.

Additionally, even if the food does not directly contain that ingredient, it may very well be likely that cross-contamination has occurred. Thus, these users cannot eat at these locations and must look elsewhere, limiting the options they have due to their lack of information about the food.

With this product, those who have such a high sensitivity that they cannot, for instance, touch surfaces containing their allergen, could spot the danger before they encounter it first-hand.

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