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Sept - Nov

Leaf is a small touch screen projector that attaches to the kitchen walls or cabinets. It encourages users to maintain a sustainable kitchen through gameplay. 

Our research showed that people have a hard time staying sustainable because it is a time and effort consuming process with little direct rewards. To tackle these issues we designed a game experience that would foster growth of sustainable habits in the kitchen. 


Jae, MS HCI student 

User Research, ideating, Wire framing, Game element Design, user testing

of total national energy 

consumption constitutes to food production

$940 Bil/yr

global economic loss as a result of food loss and waste


of consumer energy use accounts for cooking

Knowing the extent of negative impact a considerable amount of us have on our environment just by going about a regular day of cooking, we ask the question, 

"How might we make our kitchens sustainable?"
An interactive game that brings together people, encouraging them to collectively maintain a green kitchen
Play for Points

Play challenges with friends for game-points and view how well you are doing within each ingredient house. 

Track Inventory

View items you have and add to list when use them. Update the ingredients when you have time. 

Master Recipes

Learn how to be an efficient chef by repeating recipes. Browse recipes based on available ingredients. 


Self Observation

My teammate planned a meal, bought ingredients and cooked a regular American meal. We made observations of the detailed tasks in cooking and discovered potential pain points.


We planned out a survey that focused on asking users their 

understanding of sustainability and their current kitchen behavior. We received 73 responses.  

Contextual Inquiry

We planned out a semi-structured contextual inquiry, We recruited 6 participants who we observed cooking a regular meal in their kitchen. 

Brainstorming - desk research

Buying Ingredients

cooking Meals

Cleaning Up

Contextual Inquiry - Affinity Map

Research Insights 

People lack environmental awareness and information.

People can't see personal benefits of being sustainable. 

People have habitual kitchen behavior that is difficult to alter and change. 

People tend to improvise recipes more often. 

People store food but mostly end up throwing it away. 

Design Goals


The solution must motivate users by providing environmental awareness.

Show Progress

The solution must measure and evaluate sustainability in the kitchen.


The solution help users break old habits and foster new sustainable habits.

Ideation & Concepts

Ideation - Brainstorming

Concept 1 - Haptic protege handle control and visual display. 

Concept 2 - A small projector screen with the projector 

Concept 3 - A counter top digital device for recipes.

Final Concept

An interactive game that brings together people in an virtual space encouraging them to collectively maintain a Green Kitchen. The game is projected from a small control device. The user interacts with the device to play.

Motivate each other

Users play challenges with friends so it is collaborative and community based. 

Track Progress with points

The solution shows progress through sustainability points. Different aspects of the game  contribute to the points

Repeat to gain points

The game also tracks consistency and gives users opportunity to repeat challenges. 

Concept use cases to discover potential failures and pain points


Information Architecture

Organizing information on two displays (projection, game controller), understanding unique user interaction method and designing gameplay were the goals of making a detailed information architecture. 


We made the wireframes for the three features of the game and figured how the screens would display gameplay.

Visual elements

We wanted the visuals to be playful, yet communicate its purpose of keeping the user sustainable, We were inspired by isometric monotone designs and created our assets with a language.

Controller Physical Design

We wanted to have an idea of how the game controller (projector)  would look and understand how it would fit in the kitchen environment. We rendered the design for the product. 

Visual elements for home screen

3D model of game controller (projector)

Level up to a Greener Kitchen

We recruited five participants in the age group 23-27. The testing was done in person if possible or remotely. We prepared a testing protocol beforehand. We used miro to organize the test comments and prioritized them to implement for the next iteration. 

Testing Insights 

Updating Quantity is time consuming 

People wanted to have a view of all inventory items rather than in only specific houses 

The "more details" on the houses didn't seem to give users the expected insights

People expected "challenges" to be  a main feature in the home page

People wanted to know exactly when in the game they can score points


Overall information on houses

The first iteration design of the dashboard showed the overall view. It compared the weekly grocery expenditure and wastage percentage. The users did not find this information useful to track sustainability. 

Focus on weekly sustainable progress in a house

in the second iteration we focused on visualizing the sustainable progress for the week. We split the view into an overview, weekly data and historical data. 

"Challenges" are found under friends tab

The first iteration design featured the challenges in the last tab (Friends). We got a lot of positive responses on the challenges. Users did not expect the challenges would be under friends though. Since its a game experience they wished it was priority. 

"Challenges" in home page (Kitchen)

We moved the challenges to the homepage and changed up the main tabs to be more meaningful. The kitchen features the houses and the challenges. There is a separate tab for inventory and another for recipes.

Users can see level points in top bar

The first iteration displayed the points user gained on the top bar which is a fixed component on every screen. They could also see their points when they complete milestones. 

Users can find leaf points throughout the game

We wanted to make the points system more transparent. The game ui now shows where in the journey users can gain points. Their food wastage, recipes, inventory updates & challenges are tracked.


Leaf is our final project for an interactive products studio class. It was my first time working with one other partner. We both had interests spanned across the design process so we challenged each other to work on the parts we were not comfortable with. I understood how to structure, conduct and analyze research better. The main challenge was to figure out the information architecture and wireframes given that our concept featured a novel interaction method. We worked collaboratively to jump past these hurdles. Creating the visuals and the product video for leaf took time and effort to get right. We had significant insights from testing teaching me the importance of testing and iterations. We were happy to get positive comments on our final deliverables. The project helped improve my skills on Adobe illustrator, Figma and designing information flows.  

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