Journal,  User Experience Design

UXD and Me

My Major Project is to make a Japanese Home Cooking Learning Website. Since this is the topic I am interested in, many ideas have emerged from the beginning. However, this website is going to be made for others. I hope that people interested in Japanese cuisine can start cooking at home after exploring my website. It would be great if my audience could also feel the joy of cooking and the satisfaction of eating Japanese food. Therefore, User Experience Design will integrate into my project, and it may help me think and design my web pages better.

How to integrate User Experience Design into my project?
First of all, it is divided into four phases.

Phase 1 – STRATEGISE & DISCOVER: User Research
Phase 2 – DEFINE & IDEATE: Determine features and solutions
Phase 4 – TEST: Usability testing


Since Cooking and Japanese food are my hobbies and I have been studying them for the past few years, I am not worried about the design of the recipe content. Therefore, what I need to do is User Research. Knowing what the user thinks allows me to know how to present the website. I will first collect quantitative data online and then collect qualitative data directly with users.

Collect quantitative information (Online Data Mining)

To have a preliminary understanding of the eating habits and thoughts of people in the UK about Japanese food, I will refer to a website that provides restaurants’ information and rating by the public, i.e. There are lots of customer reviews of Japanese restaurants.

On, I could find a lot of review pages for Japanese restaurants of all sizes and in different parts of the UK. Thankfully, I am familiar with the different kinds of Japanese restaurants in London as I have worked in three Japanese restaurants in London. Therefore, I will be looking at various restaurant reviews, including fast-food chains, chain restaurants, takeaways, ramen restaurants, barbecue restaurants, cafes, cake shops, and more. The data could help me understand the acceptance of Japanese food of the people who live here, the level of pursuit, favourite and consumption patterns of diners.

In recent years, Japanese food has become more common in supermarkets. Many large-side supermarkets in London have Japanese food counters, mainly selling sushi. We can also find some Japanese Ready Meal, instant products and seasonings in many supermarkets. Nowadays, their online stores have review and rating functions for most products. I can find some reviews from people who have bought Ready Meal at the supermarket and then go back home to eat and even some reviews for Japanese seasonings.
For example, City Kitchen Chicken Katsu Curry (Ready meal) and Yutaka Miso Paste 100G (Seasoning)

In addition, some cooking videos that are spoken in English can be found on YouTube (e.g. YouTube Channel: Cooking with Chef Dai ). Some viewers will leave comments in the videos, and some of those comments might have reference values. For example, it is hard to buy Japanese-style ingredients and seasonings in the area where they live (PAIN), and whether there are substitutes (WANT).

Collect qualitative information (Interviews)

After integrating the information and data found on the Internet, what qualitative data I should collect will become clear. I plan to find at least five people to do interviews in this phase.


Based on online comments and my observations, in London, if people want to eat Japanese food, a majority of them would go to Japanese restaurants to eat or buy takeaway, i.e. cooked food. Only a minority would cook it from scratch.

Research objectives:

From the interviews, I would like to learn the following things.
what factors would encourage the interviewees to start cooking Japanese food at home;
what difficulties do they think they will encounter when trying it out;
what aspects of cooking they value, such as pursuing the authentic Japanese taste / fast and simple cooking method / convenient to buy ingredients;
what problems have they encountered when they usually learn to cook online.

Target audience:

Initially, I wanted my website to benefit more people, so the target audience was set as all over the UK, including England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

But after some online research, I found that most Japanese restaurants are located in England, especially London. I believe that people inside London and outside London will have a big difference in the acceptance and awareness of Japanese cuisine.

Thus, I have changed my mind, and the audience I want to attract first is the group of customers who usually visit Japanese restaurants and buy Japanese food. After exploring my website, they might be encouraged to cook Japanese food at home.

After that, they may share their cooking experiences and results with family and friends. It may help me to expand the scope of my audience in future.

The demographic of the preliminarily speculated target audience:

  • 20 – 40 years old
  • live in England
  • commuters / remote workers
  • housewife
  • customers of Japanese restaurants


The target number of interviewees is at least five people. Among friends, I can find 2-3 people to do interviews. They are all non-Japanese living in England who like Japanese food. They include housewives and commuters, with beginner to intermediate cooking skills.

In addition, I plan to do interviews with people who patronise Japanese restaurants or buy Japanese food at the supermarket. The target is 2-3 diners who patronise Japanese restaurants and 1-2 people who buy Japanese food at the supermarket. I will prepare some Japanese snacks to thank them.

In the case of Japanese restaurants, some people would be waiting outside the restaurants during peak hours. I will invite some diners who seem to be my target audience to do interviews. Because I think they are more willing to accept interviews while waiting.

In the case of supermarkets, I will find a supermarket with a Japanese food counter and wait nearby. It may not be a suitable place for a detailed interview here. So I will prepare a condensed version of the questions.

One important thing I must know is their cooking skill. For people with basic cooking skills and people who are complete novices, their pains may be very different. There will be different reference values for the answers they give. Therefore, when choosing interviewees, I will avoid picking people who similar backgrounds.

Interviews’ questions:

Interview questions will be based on the research objectives to design. But for different interviewees, the questions may be slightly different.

When I am doing interviews with my friends, I do not need to ask about their backgrounds because I already know. I may explain my project to them in detail because they are my close friends and willing to help me. Hopefully, they could answer my questions in detail and give some comments and suggestions for the project.

As for restaurant diners, who are probably the closest target audience because I want to entice them to cook at home. Apart from questions designed for research objectives, I would also like to know their background. For example, the habit of cooking at home (those questions might be “how often do you cook at home?”, “who cook for you normally?” ) so that I can speculate on their interest in cooking.

As mentioned earlier, the supermarket may not be the right place to do a detailed interview, so the question may revolve around the difficulties they may encounter when learning Japanese cooking and what information they expect the webpage to provide.

Phase 2 – DEFINE & IDEATE:
Determine features and solutions

After collecting quantitative and qualitative data, data collation and analysis are required. The analysed data can help determine the design direction, especially the featured users and my solution. Empathy map canvas, user profiles and journey maps will be used here.

Empathy map canvas:

After finishing all the interviews, I will perform empathy mapping as soon as possible. According to the observations during the interviews, a deeper analysis of users’ genuine thoughts, pains, and needs.

Empathy mapping does not necessarily be done for each interviewee. At that time, users may be classified into 2-3 categories according to the results of the interviews. For example, it may be people who have basic cooking knowledge and novice, or commuter and remote workers. When conducting interviews, I will try to find fascinating viewpoints as much as possible.

When 2-3 categories of users of my website have been classified, I will try to play each role. Get an in-depth look at their behaviour, attitude, current product information they can receive, pains, gains and motivations, etc.

Since the design and presentation method of web content will be determined by users’ viewpoints, pains or needs, Empathy mapping should be one of the most important processes in the project. For example, if users value an easy and fast cooking process, the recipe needs to be designed to be simple. If users prefer authentic Japanese taste, I may need to explain ingredients and cooking methods in more detail.

User Profile:

After completing the empathy mapping, a user profile will be made for each category of users. The first part will contain basic personal information and a brief description of their classification.

The second part will include an assessment of the users, such as their awareness of Japanese cuisine, their level of general cooking, and their interest in the topic; then their attitudes toward cooking Japanese food, the pain they want to solve, and the motivations to let them cook.

Journey maps:

It is time to design journey maps, after completing the user profiles. Journey maps could be of great help when making prototypes. It helps me to ideate my plan of the solution.

To make the journey map, I will select 1-2 personas that can represent most users, and set their scenarios according to the interview results.

For example, assume the character is a remote worker who usually cooks but has never cooked Japanese food. Recently, she has been thinking to learn how to cook Japanese food to increase the choice of dishes. She may first need to search for relevant information online, find a recipe, buy ingredients, and then open the webpage of that recipe again to start cooking.

According to the above scenario, I will pay attention to every touchpoint with her. In addition to the user experience when she read the recipe while cooking, I will also pay attention to what keywords she will be attracted to in the research phase, and what information I can provide to her to increase the credibility of my website.


My current plan is that my website will be content-based, and I will also open a YouTube Channel and an Instagram account as promotion tools and interaction tools. Because the comment function of those social media platforms can be used, the required technical level of the website and backend skill should not be high. Therefore, I will focus on the design of the web content.

First of all, I will decide the minimum content and recipes that need to be contained in the website when it opens to the public. However, before completing the prototype of the whole website, I plan to start a YouTube channel first. In addition to attracting subscribers first, the most important thing is to gain experience in content design and creation. At the same time, there may be some viewers who would leave comments to me. All those comments and feedback do come from my actual audience. It would benefit future content creation.

When the visual content of the web content is almost finished, I will start making the prototype of the entire website.

Phase 4 – TEST

Usability Test

As mentioned above, since some YouTube videos will be released first, the usability test can be started at this time. I will ask my friends and family to do the usability test. Ask them to watch my videos and see if they can cook the dishes without a hitch. And then ask them to point out areas for improvement and make some suggestions.

The second thing that needs a usability test is the separate webpage/landing page for each recipe. In the same way, by using the web page to see if they can cook the dishes successfully or not. Also, I need to test the interaction and connection between web pages and social media platforms. This time, I may need to find another friend for the test.

Finally, when the prototype of the entire website is completed, I will find 1-2 friends who have never participated in the usability test. It would be best to ask current MA classmates to test, as they can give comments on improving web design.

Likewise, I will take every comment and suggestion they gave in the usability test very seriously.

The above is a new challenge and attempt as a web design student. After planning the project, I realised that making a good website is not easy. I am fortunate I have tutors who guide me and classmates who study together and support each other. Thanks to everyone who help with this project.


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Tesco (2021). Tesco :: Online Groceries, Banking & Mobile Phones. [online] Available at: (2019). Waitrose & Partners. [online] Available at: (n.d.). Cooking with Chef Dai – YouTube. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2022]. (n.d.). User profiles – Digital Guides. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2022]. (n.d.). Journey maps – Digital Guides. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2022].

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