The Food Rescue Robot

Facilitating the food waste donation experience.


The Food Rescue Robot is a Colorado-based but multi-city scheduling/tracking tool created by a team of volunteers from the Denver Food Rescue to help coordinate the pickup and delivery of food to and from locations. The volunteers need a mobile app that allows them to pick routes and optimize their shift while on the go.

Feb 2021 - Mar 2021
Product Design • Visual Design
Jin-Hong Jung, Katie Silverstein,
Parima Sahbai

The problem

The Food Robot already has a solid backend that supplies volunteers with locations of routes and contact points, but it would be a stretch to call the system “good”, as it lacks clarity and makes it hard to volunteer without existing insider knowledge.

Our task was to package its existing data into a more accessible mobile app that makes it easier for people to volunteer, and for volunteers to optimize their efforts.

User interviews

I conducted user interviews with stakeholders and current volunteers who access the service regularly to gain a better understanding of my target audience. The following are several key takeaways.

Skimming instructions while driving

We discovered that it was crucial for drivers to skim through drop-off instructions as they were driving to target locations.

Viewing upcoming and available shifts

Users also had a difficult time finding the shifts they volunteered for and struggled to view any available shifts posted by other volunteers.

The current experience

Users find getting off the website to navigate to target locations inconvenient, where they are forced to slow down the process of deliveries. They are often left confused when information is also lost in the process (e.g., when the browser refreshes).

Homepage not having CTA
Shifts are not displayed concisely
The need to switch platforms when navigating
Difficulty logging completed shifts

Volunteers mainly enter the website to view their shifts. The current system does not offer that feature when the volunteer logs in.

Viewing shifts is the main reason for using the platform. The current system offers almost the opposite, causing volunteers to read and scroll with more effort.

When delivering and nearing a target location, users were forced to look at their phones and pay a lot of attention to where they needed to arrive. This left volunteers feeling dangerous and unsafe while driving/biking.

Users most often had to return to their desktop computers to log deliveries they have just completed. Sometimes, they even forget to log them down.

Exploring solutions

Our research findings and insights defined our key design question, which would guide us through the entire process: How might we reduce the number of actions users need to take to navigate to target locations?

Have one central hub for upcoming shifts
Integrate a map in order reduce time spent on mobile device while driving.
Assure users of their delivery process, reducing confusion.
One call-to-action at the end of the drive to log delivery.

Updated flow

Our research findings and insights defined our key design question, which would guide us through the entire process: How might we reduce the number of actions users need to take to navigate


I moved forward by designing mid-fidelity wireframes, focusing on screens that volunteers run into most often.

According to feedback and user tests, our group spotted key elements that can be reiterated when polished to high-fidelity prototypes.

Crowded components were reducing visual focus

The main idea of the homepage was different from what we imagined. Users preferred a collection of shifts, not an entire calendar.

Unclear Next Steps

A CTA wasn't available when this screen was intended to be the most important stage of starting a shift

Safely getting to locations

Driving wasn't the only method of getting to target locations. Users repeatedly wanted to know every step of the navigation experience.

Design System

Before fixing the issues that I have encountered, I created a style guide to make every screen a consistent experience and to portray a clear brand that reflects the organization’s mission.

A simplified homepage

Volunteers can now view their shifts in one central location. They have the option to expand the calendar for a monthly view.

Easily start your shift and view notes

The Food Rescue Robot provides immediate access to important information with one swipe. This creates a seamless and convenient experience when it is time to start their shifts.

Log deliveries on the go

Completing deliveries can be done in a matter of seconds, allowing volunteers to move on to their next shift without having to remember completed deliveries.


Volunteers praised the idea and were willing to integrate the look and feel of the designs we presented.

As it was my first time creating a design system from scratch, I was challenged in stretching my knowledge to think systematically, instead of creating new fonts, colors, and elements as the product expanded. There are plenty of things to improve upon in this project since we weren't given enough time for usability tests and iterations upon feedback, but it has been something that our group wishes to accomplish in our future projects.