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Culinary Care 2

Culinary Care

Client: Culinary Care
Roles: Design Researcher and Content Strategist
Timeframe: 3 weeks 

Chicago-based nonprofit Culinary Care delivers free restaurant meals to cancer patients and their loved ones during chemotherapy sessions. The organization has one full-time employee, a couple of part-time employees and a team of dedicated volunteers. Despite the small team, it’s a mighty organization that has delivered thousands of donated meals.

The Challenge

In our first meeting, our client made an assumption that users needed more transparency around the service.  We learned once a user applied to the program by filling out an online form, all communication including questions, changes to delivery and food orders were done over the phone and email. This was very taxing on a small team of employees. We also noticed Culinary Care’s website attempted to do a lot of things; communicate a mission, appeal for donations and enroll people into the meal service. Users validated this. They were also confused about the service. Did they qualify? How did it work? What if they needed to make a change to a delivery time or location? Our client needed a solution to better communicate Culinary Care’s service and empower users to request and edit an order on their own.


An adaptive web design allowing for unique desktop and mobile experiences. We designed a mobile onboarding, enrollment form and a portal for ‘on-the-go’ changes to orders. The portal allowed existing users to edit delivery dates, times and personal information such as food preference. Additionally, we provided a suggested redesigned Culinary Care home screen. During user interviews we asked them to walk us through the current home screen and identify points of confusion. There was many. We also believed redesigning the homepage would help users better understand Culinary Care’s mission and how the service works.


Qualitative Interviews

We needed to understand what daily life was like for patients and caregivers. We wanted to understand what it’s like to receive chemotherapy. How long does it take? How does it affect taste buds and appetites? What are the emotional, physical and mental challenges patients and caregivers are experiencing? My colleague and I spent days interviewing cancer patients, caregivers, and medical professionals. I took the lead during this process writing up questions and interview scripts. I drew on my journalism experience of asking tough and delicate questions. It was our duty to get an accurate picture of what life is like for these folks, and that kind of honesty often comes from hard questions, asking for details and sometimes uncomfortable silences.