Yummy Vegetables - Creating Habit with EmailPresentation Transcript
Yummy Vegetables A week-long study by Rosemary Ehlers and Yin Yin Wu habits.stanford.edu
The First Study
In our initial concept, we wanted to focus on engaging our participants, even if we had to sacrifice some simplicity to do so.
Our study asked participants to take photos of their vegetable-laden meals and post them to Facebook. We wanted to encourage creativity and fun with the study, so we offered prizes to the individuals with the most interesting and highest number of photos.
No one signed up.
We suspect this was in part because of the end of the quarter, so people were very busy and unwilling to take on any extra responsibilities. However, we also acknowledged that our study was a bit complicated.
We also received feedback that posting pictures of your meals to Facebook was a bit weird, and that participants would not want to have all their friends see them posting these.
The Second Study
We decided to focus on making our new study as simple as possible: we wouldn’t even ask people to eat vegetables or even think about them –we just asked them to think about food in general.
Each day, we sent an email to our participants asking them their favorite food in a category (lunch, dessert, snack, etc). We then replied to their response with suggestions on ways to incorporate vegetables into their favorite foods.
Chocolate carrots, anyone? habits.stanford.edu
Of 8 participants, 4 filled out the final survey.
The study was easy and convenient, not an undue burden on the participants. One participant reported that the study had made her more conscious of her decisions at meals.
The study was too short, and one user wished that our food suggestions had been more actionable. Three of the four final survey respondents reported that the study had not helped them eat more vegetables.
Good Friends ≠ Good Participants
One of the primary difficulties we experienced was in recruiting participants; we suspect this was due to the busy nature of the end of the quarter. Because of this, most of our participants were friends or acquaintances, and were probably not as motivated to increase their daily vegetable intake as much as more random participants would have been.
Ability to Act
Although our study focused on a small step –suggesting a way to incorporate vegetables into the participants’ favorite foods- our suggestions themselves were not always very helpful. We should have kept in mind the ability of our users to carry out our suggestions: a restaurant or recipe recommendation to a participant who most often eats at the campus dining halls is not very useful.
Unexpected Complication in a Simple Plan
I also think we should have planned out our daily question topics better –asking our participants for their favorite snack or lunch food is good (a food they are likely to eat daily, and something it will be easy to incorporate vegetables into), but asking for their favorite dessert makes suggesting a vegetable delicacy extremely difficult. We should have applied the ‘smallest possible step’ idea to our question topics as well.