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FreeBites Mobile App Case Study

FreeBites is a community-based mobile app that focuses on eliminating food waste. This app addresses food insecurity by encouraging free food discovery while helping to share surplus food and building an inclusive community to “share more and waste less”.


My Role:

UI/UX Designer (Addressing Food
Insecurity experience)

Time Frame: 

Six weeks (Oct - Nov 2020) 

Team Members: 

Briana Omori, Nadia Anees, Miranda Wong

Challenge Statement

How might we streamline the food sharing experience so communication within the food community is more intuitive,
cohesive, and accessible? 

The Problem

1 in 9 people in America today identify as food insecure. The main goal of this app is to reroute food waste from businesses and help community members to find free food.

Overview of FreeBites app



Onboarding - Individual

In the user onboarding phase, our goal was to integrate a smooth
and straightforward process that clarifies the app's purpose while introducing new features that augment its capabilities.


View Map - Resource

To address the issue of overwhelming users with a multitude of food resources and events, we streamlined the interaction by introducing filters and customization options. This allows users to selectively add or swiftly locate the resources that are most relevant to them.


Home - View Posts

We revamped the home page to include features such as displaying availability status for each food event, indicating the event's location and distance from the user, and allowing the addition of multiple photos per post. These enhancements are intended to assist users in efficiently browsing posts and identifying the food items they are interested in picking up.


Home - Create New Post

Our aim was to provide users with the option to input additional details when composing a post while ensuring a straightforward and speedy process. In addition to incorporating photos, location, and descriptions, we introduced filters for food restrictions/categories, resource type, and event time availability.


Profile - View Saved Posts

Based on our user interviews and research, users expressed a high appreciation for the ability to access their past posts as a point of reference. Surplus sharers and organizations that have shared or posted food can now conveniently retrieve their posts for reference through the profile tab.


Profile - Edit Profile

There are two distinct views based on user type: Individuals represent those dealing with food insecurity, and surplus sharers and organizations undergo a slightly different onboarding process. Food-insecure user profiles include the functionality to save posts for future reference, while surplus sharers and organizations have their profile page replaced with "My Resources."



To enhance user satisfaction and promote communication between food surplus sharers and individual users, we introduced a messaging feature that prioritizes simplicity. We improved accessibility by incorporating easy access to the messaging feature through the persistent center navigation.


Messaging - From Post

Enabling communication through posts offers an easy and efficient means for users to connect via comments. However, our research indicated that many food-insecure users prefer to maintain anonymity. To address this concern, we implemented a messaging feature directly within the posts, allowing users to view profiles and communicate privately.



To stay informed about comments, messages, and saved posts, we introduced a notifications feature. Users can conveniently access these updates directly from the home page, ensuring they don't miss any important posts.


Design Sprint Timeline


User Research

Identifying User Types

To understand our users, we initially identified 3 user types along with key user pain points. 

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Competitor Analysis

We familiarized ourselves with other companies with similar missions within the food sharing industry to determine the scope of the industry and determine key customer benefits and what each company lacked that could allow FreeBites to stand out among all. We found that having an organized flow, a community involvement, and having customizability would allow for an efficient app flow.


User Interviews

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Empathy Mapping

As each of us focused on a different user type, we were able to synthesize all of our research from user interviews into empathy mapping to be able to understand our users by analyzing their behaviors which helped us find the key pain points. From our common insights from the empathy mapping experience, we were able to explore storyboarding and storytelling.

We chose this method rather than creating personas to allow us to visually communicate our process and directly correlate our empathy map to the next step in our design thinking process. We were able to efficiently establish our user journeys by organizing content hierarchy and agree upon a solution to cater to all of our user types with a common visual branding.

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User Flow

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Low-Fidelity & Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Design System


© Alekhya Yallapragada 2024