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Kinoko is a family foraging application that aims to reconnect families with one another through nature and good food.

Kinoko has many features to make the foraging process simple, informative, and most importantly - fun! These include a wild plant identification scanner, safety information, suggested foraging locations and delicious family-friendly recipes.

The idea for this project came to me whilst working at my part time job one day. I looked around and noticed that the majority of the children in the restaurant were paying more attention to a screen than they were to their family. Witnessing an obvious disinterest in human connection and conversation bothered me a lot, and I decided that I wanted to create a product that would help parents to encourage their children to take some time away from the screen to be present with one another.

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The Process

For Kinoko, I started out with user research. This research was conducted by sending out a survey to twenty one parents, and then compiling the results onto a table. From here, I created user personas and empathy maps so that I could better understand the users' needs. This helped me come up with a plan for the application, which included making a feature list, site map and user flow diagrams.

Once I was happy with my understanding of the users, I conducted competitor analyses to see what other foraging applications were doing - and what I could do better. I looked at their strengths, their weaknesses, what they were missing or what features seemed to be most important. This exercise allowed me to further develop my feature list and come up with a user journey map.

I also did some contextual research. I am a big lover of nature, but foraging was something that was new to me. I wanted to better understand the ins and outs of foraging before I would feel comfortable with sharing advice and safety information with others. This part of my research process was quite extensive, as I wanted to ensure that my safety information was accurate.

Next came iterations and branding. Beginning with sketching out some lo-fi wireframes onto paper (and my iPad when I forgot my sketchbook), and then moving on to mid-fi wireframes. After refining my mid-fi wireframes, and doing a few different iterations, I was happy to move on to adding my branding and finally designing the hi-fi prototype. Like with the mid-fi, these wireframes were refined more than once as I wanted to ensure that the design was intuitive, accessible and consistent. I then conducted three in-person user tests with parents to make sure that everything worked the way that I wanted it to, as well as double checking that the application would be easy to navigate through.

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The Outcome

The Kinoko family foraging application allows families to reconnect with one another in two different ways. The foraging itself being the main way, with a fun AI identification scanner for kids to use, and helpful tips and safety information for the parents. Getting outdoors together to explore will also encourage children to use their imagination, and expand their knowledge about nature and wild plants. Kinoko also features a recipe section, which provides users with family friendly recipes to cook and eat together, bonding as they make something delicious with one another.

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