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A mobile app designed to enhance the efficiency of the American University food pantry experience.

User Research, Interaction, Visual design, Prototyping & testing
Team: Jack Tollman, Rebecca Sakagucci, Izzy Capodanno
Pocket Pantry
Education Application

Pocket Pantry


A mobile app designed to enhance the efficiency of the American University food pantry experience.


User Research, Interaction, Visual design, Prototyping & testing


Due to a wide range of circumstances many students can go hungry because they couldn’t afford to eat. An on campus study at American University estimated that up to 18% of students had inadequate food supply three to four times a semester. 

In order to combat this American University offers a food pantry, called The Market, for students suffering from food insecurities. Located at an on campus residence hall, users are encouraged to select the food items they need from the shelves, with no restrictions but consideration for others.

The Market: American University's Food Pantry


Students at American University are kept extremely busy during term time. Despite The Market being based in a residence hall it can still be far and time consuming for many of our users to visit. The last thing that you would want is to be disappointed when you arrive that there is limited stock available once you arrive. 

Because the pantry relies on donations the supply may vary rapidly, which can cause a great deal of frustration and time waste for students.


Our mission was to improve communication between admin and users by creating a space that allowed students to receive up-to-date updates on the food pantry stock. This would help eradicate time waste and improve the experience of students suffering from food insecurities. 

Feature 1


Search between the list of topics or softwares that you want to learn more about. 

Feature 2

Edit stock levels

Follow our carefully curated selection of the best free to learn online tools
Feature 3

Set notifications

Discuss topics and ask questions with other students following the same course.
Feature 4

Quick search

View listings of relevant job positions that are available for you to easily apply.



In order to understand the motivations of our users we used a wide range of research methods to understand what the users needed most. The main three methods that we used consisted of interviews, surveys and site visits.


The first step in our research process was to understand an accurate representation of our users. In order to do this we gained access to a study at American University which highlighted the different demographics of the users of the Market. This knowledge helped us to develop a range of personas that was precise to our audience. By considering the different lifestyles of students it helped us to empathize with the pain points one might experience when using The Market.


We then developed a user flow determining the most efficient paths that the users could take in order to achieve their goals. The user flow takes them from their entry point through a set of steps towards a successful outcome and final action, such as checking out a food item. We started mocking up the user flows with sticky notes on a white board before making it digital. 

User Testing

After developing our initial wireframes, we decided to test our app using the paper prototyping method. Using a mockup of our app, we sat down with six people over the course of two days to walk through our app with a number of scenarios. 

We learned that our app needed to communicate more clearly that it was a crowdsourcing app. It was important for the users to know that they cannot reserve food. Because of this we developed the "inside market / outside market screen" once you first entered the app.

Design Guidelines

Design Iteration

A more intuitive and understandable way of using The Market
Pocket Pantry has gone through a major redesign. This is important in order to keep the design fresh as well as to improve on some major issues such as usability and hierarchy. Despite the major changes the colours and fonts largely remained the same.