Theory and Design

Smartphones have become our go-to device for many things, whether it is checking the weather, social media, reading, gaming, texting, or even to make a phone call. So it is no wonder that the mobile device is the perfect platform for the MY Healthy Meal application. The smartphone is the ideal device to use to read recipes, on the go or in the comfort of your home. As Gerard Goggin and Caroline Hamilton stated, “As mobiles become ubiquitous as a central form of contemporary media, reading itself has become sharply into focus.” (Goggin 2012, pg. 103). These devices have risen to power atop the technology-pyramid because of their mobility and multi-functionality. MY Healthy Meal is designed and targeted for a specific audience, although there are no restrictions on who can use the application. Its goal is to help those who are less fortunate, whether by location or financial restrictions, put together a healthy and affordable meal for their family by providing recipes and nutritional information on foods that they are able to fit into their budget.

Another popular smartphone feature is its ability to connect to social networks. While social networks are accessible on other devices other than smartphones, such as tablets and computers, mobile devices as a whole are one of the most widely used variations. In fact, Facebook reported that 350 million users, which accounts for almost 45% of all users, access the service through a mobile device (Humphreys 2012, pg. 3). Despite social media’s popularity and networking features, it will not be a part of MY Healthy Meal. The reason for this is that I do not want to make this a social application. I do not want to take away from its core purpose, and by making the application social I feel that could possibly occur. I am not completely ruling out adding social features at a later time, however it is not in the plan right now.

In conjunction with not having social media capabilities built into my application, location and private information will not be required, or even a part of the application. Due to the fact that this application is targeted towards those who are less fortunate, I feel that they will be less likely to use the application if private information is required because they might not want people knowing who they are, and I do not see a need for users’ personal information within this type of application. In terms of location services, I am choosing to not make this a part of the application because I know, personally, as well as from friends and family, that applications requiring that you use your location will often turn them off from downloading and using the application. As Brian Fung stated in his Washington Post article, “As a result, according to the ACLU, authorities have been able to gather location information on too many individuals too easily.” (Fung 2014). This quote supports the notion that many people do not want their location made available through an application.

Accessibility is an extremely important aspect of a successful website, application, or service. It needs to be user friendly in terms of text, navigation, and organization. Along with the MY Healthy Meal application, there will be a website available that can be accessed on a public or personal computer for those who do not have a smartphone or mobile device to download the application onto. The website will mirror the application, the only difference being that the website does not utilize the touch commands that have become so popular on mobile devices. In an article from mobiforge.com, there is a list provided of twelve tips that will make your website more accessible, such as making the site easy to read, allow zooming, content before style or graphics, and not to rely exclusively on touch events (Soederquist 2012). MY Healthy Meal application and website will take advantage of the tips that apply and make our service as user friendly as possible.

The key ingredient that makes MY Healthy Meal functional is user input. The user plugs in the types of fruits and vegetables that they currently have in their house, or that they are able to purchase due to locational or financial restrictions, and the application searches through its database to compile a list of recipes catered to the specific individual. The application will also provide nutritional value, as well as information on how to store the food and for how long it will stay fresh to eat. The only information about the user that the application or website will ask for, optional of course, is that you create a username and password so you can store your favorite recipes in your virtual “recipe book.”

MY Healthy Meal is a mobile application and website that has taken accessibility, mobility, and user privacy into account. This service has been designed for and targets a specific audience, but also has the functionality and beneficial content to reach all people in different locations and financial situations.

 Works Cited

Fung, B. (2014, June 3). How hard should it be for cops to track your location? A new lawsuit revives the debate. Retrieved March 29, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/06/03/how-hard-should-it-be-for-cops-to-track-your-location-a-new-lawsuit-revives-the-debate/?wprss=rss_technology&clsrd

Goggin, G., & Hamilton, C. (2012, January 1). Reading After the Phone. Retrieved March 29, 2015, from https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/goggin-gerard-reading-after-the-phone.pdf

Humphreys, L. (2012). Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative Practices on Mobile Social Networks. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 494-510.

Soederquist. (2012, September 13). Why mobile Web accessibility matters – best practices to make your mobile site accessible. Retrieved March 29, 2015, from http://mobiforge.com/design-development/why-mobile-web-accessibility-matters-best-practices-make-your-mobile-site-accessi

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