LaLa Lunchbox is a meal planning app for kids and their parents. It was featured on the App Store and a design blog SwissMiss, and it got reviewed by The New York Times.
LaLa Lunchbox has two distinct groups of users simultaneously - parents and children. Parents manage children’s accounts, food items and browse through a grocery list. Children use the central part of the app, the lunchbox, to prepare their meals for the week.
The former part had to be efficient and organized. The latter had to be fun and engaging like a game. It was quite a challenge to combine two opposing directions so we spent a lot of time sketching and prototyping.
This was also one of the first projects that we did with a new process, where we create concepts and explore different solutions without anything being built by developers until much later. We wanted to make sure there are no miss-understandings once we start with development, as any bigger issues at that point would be very expensive.
Designing the main screen with a game-like experience was the most time consuming part of the process. We introduced a hungry monster character that kids can feed and that way fill the lunchbox for the week. We had to design characters that kids could relate to. We have a couple of monsters to choose from, and different color themes that change the look of the app. Consequently, everything had to be designed to be agnostic to the change of colors.
On the other hand, there was the parent part of the app, which had to be designed around quick access to the lunch boxes. Parents had to have control over the choice of food that kids can choose from, and a list of groceries they need to buy for the coming week.
We had to implement a lot of custom elements and interactions, and did a lot of tiny tweaks to achieve the best experience, so there was a lot of collaboration with developers in the design and development phase. Lunch boxes had to be synced across the devices.
Highlight of the app are little monsters. There is a story behind each one. I created a set of characters with similar visual characteristics. They had to be colorful and fun, and kids had to react positively to them. Monster, as well as the choice of colors throughout the app, were tested with children, so there was little left to a chance. :)