I participated in a 6 week Human Centered Design course through Acumen + IDEO with some of my XD teammates. We chose to ideate on providing healthier options for food in our parks and journeyed through the process of getting to sketched prototypes. We realized how important “human-centered design” is for a successful product. Keeping users as the focus of your design is key to creating a usable product that meets the user’s needs.
Certification Received: DESIGN KIT: THE COURSE FOR HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN
User Research
Learning From People
Who: Family of Dietary Restrictions, Gluten, Egg and Diary. 
The family with Dietary restrictions learned about Allergy friendly menus available at Disney through a friend. The Mother and the 18th month old daughter both have special dietary needs that limit the food selections that they can eat. When at Disney Parks, the family needs to request a special Allergy friendly menu that only specific cast members have available. When ordering, they received a reservation pager to know when their food is finished as it takes a significantly longer time for the food to be prepared in comparison to what is available on the regular menu.

Who: Family with Multiple Children with Celiac Disease
The Mother feels like she has taking her children to Disney down to a science to make sure she can get food that complies with her children’s dietary needs. She goes on blogs and other websites and has an online network to learn about what options are safe at Disney for her children. When at the Parks, she does not order food at QuickService locations as she cannot guarantee that the food, even if pre-packaged, isn’t contaminated. She struggles with her kids not being able to pick from regular menus and always needing to isolate them with their food options because of their restricted dietary needs. If there was a way at Disney to make the food that is available for dietary needs look as special and Disney-branded as all the other options at Disney, that would help improve the experience.
Learning From Experts
learn more about Disney’s approach to providing healthy options for Guests. One of the biggest challenges is to create “Healthy” food because “Healthy” is something different to everyone.
When considering what types of foods that are considered to be added to menus, the items that are considered are:
1. How this item will fit into the Disney Story
2. Ingredients
3. Cooking process
4. Skill set needed to execute meal
5. Equipment available at site
The goal is to be able to operationalize the meal and ensure that, when making it over and over again, that it can be executed as expected as it needs to meet the diverse needs of guests.
Immersion in Context
We walked through the park looking for healthy options at snack and quick service locations. We were focusing on low calorie/lean options as well as vegetarian friendly options. We discovered that it was more difficult to find healthy options than we initially anticipated.
The only snack location offering fruit and/or vegetables was the Anaheim Produce stand, and the only healthy option at the other snack locations was the Sugar Free Strawberry Fruit Bar (which wasn’t prominently advertised). As for the Quick Service meals, vegan/vegetarian substitution options were not advertised on the menus and only one location (ABC Commissary) indicated Kosher options available. Although vegan/vegetarian options were not advertised, we know through outside sources (such as the Vegan Disney World Blog) that they are available. Additionally, Mickey Check meals (kid’s healthy meal options) only included 3 total items across all of the QSR locations we visited: Uncrustables Sandwich, Turkey Sandwich, and Power Pack. Several locations only included one of the three options on the menu.
Out of all the options we visited, Anaheim Product provided the most healthy options despite being only a snack cart.
Seeking Analogous Inspiration​​​​​​​
Yelp has structured their web experience to allow users to navigate in an easy way to search and locate for items that meet their needs. When you want a specific type of food or type of service, it allows you to customize what you are looking for to filter down to what you need.
Yelp’s filtering capabilities have visual indicators and many other attributes that can be adopted on our digital platform that helps users find exactly what they need.
Some benefits of Yelp that we can learn from:
- Has a quick, easy to find “healthy food” filter – bright, colorful iconography (eye catching)
- Filters down by location and rating
- Also price, hours, delivery
- Decision making is made much easier
- Can also filter by vegan and vegetarian
- Lots of pics from crowd sourcing – know what you are getting into before you even try it
Ideation-Synthesis
​​​​​​​Theme 1- Lack of Advertising
 Insights:
1. Inconsistent advertising across locations
2. Lack of nutritional info to share about each food item
3. Guests use third-party apps/site for information
4. Guests are drawn toward popular options, they trust the nutrition/ingredients
How Might We:
How might we make it easier for guests to find food options that meet their needs?
Theme 2- Poor Guest Experience
Insights:
1. Lack of consistency in theming/branding of healthy options with other food options
2. “Healthy” means something different to everyone
3. Operationalizing healthy options is difficult, smaller scale distribution
4. Guests feel isolation when ordering for a dietary restriction
How Might We:
How might we improve the experience of guests with dietary needs so they have the same experience as those without dietary restrictions?
Theme 3- Limited Availability
Insights:
1. Statistically, when on vacation guests want less healthy options
2. People have to look elsewhere for information on healthy options
3. Forced to eat at sit-down restaurants where there isn’t risk of contamination
How Might We: 
How might we empower guests and allow them to make the decisions they want to make regarding their health?
Prototyping
Prototype by me
Implementation
Short Pitch
In our Theme Parks, Guests struggle to easily discover options that meet their varying personal preferences and dietary needs. By adding the ability to filter and search by these preferences, we can allow our guests to affectively and easily find food options that will meet their needs. This will, in turn, increase guest satisfaction and revenue in the parks.
Back to Top