ChefSteps Inc.

Defined the Current User, recommended ways to better engage this user, determined ways to increase conversions, and designed experience for new customer segment (non-Joule owners)


ChefSteps Inc. is a globally-recognized brand known for stellar food content and the Joule Sous Vide device. I was an early member of the Joule Ready Sous Vide Starter ™ Sauce product team and jumped in with the goal of helping the team understand the customer, design experiences to engage new customers (especially those with different sous vide devices), and increase conversions.

Joule Ready Sous Vide Starter™ Sauces are delicious sauces designed specifically for sous vide cooking. The product package contained a QR code that when scanned, would direct the user to digital content (Featured Recipes, Visual Doneness feature etc.) in the Joule app.

Photographs by Reva Keller

Photographs by Reva Keller

Foundational User Research for Joule Ready product

When I joined the Joule Ready team, the product had already launched to the ChefSteps community. However, there were still numerous unknowns about who was actually purchasing the sauce, why, and if their understanding of the product matched with our intended value proposition.

After the interviews, I determined the core similarities or differences between the customers and developed a customer framework / segmentation to help inform the team at a high level. In addition to this research, I studied existing survey data on customers who did or did not purchase, and previous research notes to draw out additional insights about each customer group (example below)

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Since this research was meant to be a longer term project, we had a series of customer segments that had not yet been interviewed. We developed hypotheses about these groups for future interviews and were specifically focused next on understanding the needs and motivations of users who owned a non-Joule sous vide device. 

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Determining and Prioritizing Next Steps

I developed and prioritized several recommendations to share across the team about how to better engage with current and future customers. Many of the proposed updates or changes for content, marketing, brand strategy, and design were adopted and/or in-progress of implementation.

Designing a new scan-to-website experience for Non-Joule owners and/or users without the Joule app

For users with the app and a Joule device, one scan of the QR code would take them to the recipe guide in the Joule app. From here they could immediately access time and temperature information for numerous proteins, and start pre-heating their Joule sous vide device. 

The experience for a user without the app / without a Joule was not quite as seamless. At the time, if a user with a different sous vide device scanned the bag they would have been redirected to an error page.

My main design goal for this experience was to create a no-fuss way for new users without a Joule to cook with Joule Ready. We wanted these users to feel comfortable using this product without the app (as we did not want to force users to download), but also make sure they understood that the in-app experience was just a bit more robust (regardless of whether they owned a Joule).

Therefore, I determined that at MVP the user needed to be able to at minimum:

  1. Enjoy and cook with Joule Ready without having to download the app

  2. Use the featured recipe

  3. Understand how to use the sauce with a few other proteins

  4. Discover other ways to use the sauce or side dishes to cook

  5. Understand that the option to download the app is there for them, and why it would be different

Below is a quick representation of how this process would work for the Non-Joule User

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To view full clickable prototype for what a non-Joule user would see after scanning the sauce package,