On-the-go Meals Experience Case Study

The Basic Steps

CeCe gathers her ingredients and supplies, begins to prepare them, and opens and closes various bags of ingredients as she does so.
Each ingredient is typically stored in it’s own container and assembled the day of, so the process of opening, using, and closing is repeated.
Once the sandwich is ready, it gets placed in the box as a whole, then with other ingredients added to the side all in the same container.
CeCe usually tries to only bring one box for her meals to reduce dirty dishes, and closes the box to put it into the larger lunch bag.
This reusable bag can be used to hold other things like fruit and her utensil and is typically carried alongside her water bottle to school each day. When she gets to school, the food is placed in the fridge until lunch time and then microwaved if hot, otherwise just opened, eaten, and cleaned at school.

Preliminary Interview

Second Interview and Audience Shift

Context of use: floor plan of Malibu water ski boat with central engine and cooler compartment

Initial Concepts

Stackable bowl containers not only fit into each other, but the lids can be placed underneath the bowl to avoid having them tip over when open and allow the user to have an additional plate to share. This addresses the current need for separate containers that allow for eating in the lap due to the lack of table space and sharing with others. Based on the current method of eating on the boat, this container serves as an alternative to the foil wrappers and sandwich bags that are currently used.
The meal presentation box expands on the experience of sharing food with the family by having two states — the box for transport and the table for sharing and presenting the food. The thin form of the transport makes it easy to fit in the cooler space and provide even temperature distribution, each food being in its own compartment with individual lids to open and close as needed. The boat does not have a table space but rather a large engine space that this container would ideally fit on with rubber legs to prevent sliding.
The final idea focuses on fully integrating the food and eating experience with being on the boat, as the family tends to drop anchor in the middle of the lake for both eating and swimming. The container is made to be fun for kids both to enjoy the food and to play with, being made out of hollow material to float in the water when not being used as a meal container. The simplified form of the toy boat makes is in proportion of the food used but in individual portions, allowing this system to be expanded to include various other toys to identify each family members meal experience.

Concept Refinement and Models

Model 1: Client Needs

Model 2: Improved Experience

Model 3: Changing Paradigms

Direction Refinement

Initial Concept

Exploratory Concept

Final Functional Model


Hand-drawn ideation sketches of styling concepts, ranging from straightforward to experimental, static to dynamic
Digital exploration of concepts in perspective, exploring the relationships between angles in space
Refinement of concept with form inspiration taken from the context of the boat
Exploration of the form language when in both states (transport and use)




Current student studying Design at Carnegie Mellon University, focusing on the Products Track

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Emily Spooner

Emily Spooner

Current student studying Design at Carnegie Mellon University, focusing on the Products Track

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