Author: Blake M. Williams (page 3 of 3)

New Ways to Cook with Delicious Deliverable Services

As a college student living in an apartment style suite, I’ve finally had the option to start cooking for myself this year. I have almost no experience cooking–friends would joke that I’ll burn water. This summer I even had to make a trip to the emergency room due to an incident making grilled cheese. As I’ve started to look at options for cooking, I’ve begun to realize that there are four qualities that I seek: efficiency, health impact, cost, and quality. These qualities are exactly what human factors tries to optimize. I want to spend this blog taking about different delivery food companies and which company I believe would be the best choice for my needs.

Using these food delivery services, horrible cooks–such as myself–are able to curate delicious dishes.

Blue Apron is a delivery service that gives its customers all necessary ingredients and easy to follow recipes. The pricing follows a subscription method. For a two-person plan with three meals per week, it costs $59.64. For a four-person plan, it costs $69.92 for two meals per week and $139.84 for four meals per week. If I were to use the service, it would cost approximately $10 per meal, which seems very high to me as I can get restaurant food for around the same price. According to Consumer Reports, the nutritional value of these meals is quite healthy and can be made healthier as the customer prepares the food (f.e. not adding cheese to a salad). As there are so many different recipes, the recipes should be judged on an individual basis. For the most part, however, the recipes are rated as tasting very good. My biggest con with Blue Apron is that I still have to make a recipe from almost start to finish; however, it is still much more efficient than having to cook recipes the traditional way by seeking out recipes and ingredients.

Blue apron’s meals come prepackaged and pre-measured as shown above.

We’ve all heard of the Jenny Craig diet. The goal of Jenny Craig is to help people eat healthier through smaller portions and in moderation. Jenny Craig provides all meals and will cost consumers $560 a month—which is around $6 a meal. According to Consumer Compare, “the food [is] awful.” This is a common complaint that I have heard about Jenny Craig. Also, they are marketed as being a healthy choice, but there’s much contention over whether or not Jenny Craig is actually that good for you. Despite these negatives about Jenny Craig, I do like that Jenny Craig is highly efficient—it’s delivered to your door and all you need is a microwave.

We all recognize the famous Jenny Craig commercials and marketing materials.

Freshly is a relatively new company that delivers “freshly” cooked meals. All that is required is that you must heat up the food in the microwave. Depending on how many meals are ordered, Freshly costs between $9 per meal (12 meals per week) and $12.50 per meal (4 meals per week). According to Alex Tran, the meals from Freshly are mouthwatering. This high rating of Freshly is only echoed on Consumers Advocate’s 9.6/10 star rating of Freshly. It’s pretty clear that Freshly’s meals are of high quality. In addition, users get to choose which meals they would like. This service is highly efficient as the customer has to do almost no work. If the customer desires, the user can choose as healthy meals as he or she wishes.

All you have to do to eat this yummy meal is pop it into the microwave!

As the summaries of the companies above show, it’s a balancing act between efficiency, nutritional value, cost, and quality. Personally, I believe the best option for me would be Freshly because of its optimal efficiency ( I just have to order online and it will delivered, already made to my doorstep), high quality (it would probably be better than Blue Apron because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to mess up the recipe), healthy options, and affordability (although it is still almost $9 per meal). Besides the con of the price of Freshly, something that is a benefit yet a trouble is the fact that I would not need to learn how to cook at all. I really want to learn how to cook better, but I still have limited trust in my abilities.

In conclusion, I’m excited to try Freshly and will definitely keep you all updated on its branded packaging experience (see my last week’s blog on branded packaging experience here).

Works Cited

“Blue Apron: Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered to You.” Blue Apron: Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered to You, www.blueapron.com/.
ConsumersAdvocate.org. “Home.” 2018 Freshly Reviews: Meal Delivery, www.consumersadvocate.org/meal-delivery/c/freshly-review.
consumerscompare.org/jenny-craig-review/.
Craig, Jenny. “Jenny Craig – Weight Loss Program & Diet Plan with Food.” Jenny Craig | Official Site, www.jennycraig.com/.
Freshly, www.freshly.com/join-now?plan_id=421.
www.alextran.org/freshly-review/.
www.consumerreports.org/food/consumer-reports-reviews-blue-apron/.

A Missed Opportunity: My Branded Packaging Experience Unboxing Amazon’s Echo Dot

Branded Packaging Experience

First, let’s talk about the importance of having a pleasant unboxing experience. Shopify calls this experience “branded packaging experience” and defines it as “a thoughtful selection of packaging and shipping materials as well as the deliberate presentation of your products. Its purpose is to provide additional value for your customer as well as your business through the ability to create a memorable and sharable experience.”

Having a good branded packaging experience allows a company to captivate their customers and allow the customer to first experience your product with a positive attitude. In addition, customers are more likely to post on social media and share with others your products if the unboxing is a positive experience. This experience can also be important for differentiating your product with competitors. For example, the Dollar Shave Club has comical messages printed on their products that enables them to farther sell their products by reminding users to change their blades.

Another example of a successful brand packaging experience comes from LootCrate, a company that will send its customers nerdy-type gifts on a monthly basis. Ordoro blog notes that “you’ll find brand decor – ads for the contents, or decoration that’s culturally relevant to the self-consciously geeky target audience.” Ordoro raises the important point of how important it is to know your audience and build the unboxing experience around them.

My Amazon Echo Dot Unboxing

Just yesterday I received my Amazon Echo Dot in the mail. It came in a small package and the experience of opening the box could be greatly improved.

Whenever I unpackage an Apple product, it’s an enthralling experience that leaves me wanting to open the package faster. I’m also always impressed by its minimalistic design and feeling of freshness.

In contrast to Apple’s branded package experience, the Amazon Echo Dot unboxing was forgetful as it felt like I was just opening an everyday product. There were nothing distinct or special about the experience. My recommendation to Amazon of how they could improve this would be to:

– clearly define how you want your customers to feel while opening the product
– make sure that there is something that differentiates the unboxing process from your competitors
– do user testing to make sure that your customers unbox the product as intended
– create memorability

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! When was the last time you had a successful branded packaging experience?

Sources:

https://www.shopify.com/blog/16991592-how-to-create-a-memorable-and-shareable-unboxing-experience-for-your-brand

ZDNet – Amazon Intros Cheaper Echo Dot

https://www.blog.ordoro.com/2016/04/19/7-best-unboxing-experiences/

**All images in this article were found from the three sources above**

 

 

BLOG POST 1: What is Human Factors and Ergonomics?

Pixabay

What is it?

On a macro level, the field of human factors and ergonomics seeks to encourage the well being of all people. The World Health Organization defines the human factors field as:

IEA

“examin[ing] the relationship between human beings and the systems with which they interact [1] by focusing on improving efficiency, creativity, productivity and job satisfaction, with the goal of minimizing errors.“

The WHO’s definition may seem paradoxical to some readers. How can employers increase their businesses’s efficiency without compromising its employees job satisfaction? Or how can an employee encourage outside of the box thinking while limiting employee errors?

It is true that the implementation of these goals can be counterproductive, which is why it is even more important to understand the consequences of manipulating certain environmental factors or systems. Human factors engineers must be cognizant that their goal is to “study…all the factors that make it easier to do…work in the right way” (World Health Organization).

Global Air Training

The fact that human factor engineers must study all factors reinforces that the field is extremely broad and multidisciplinary in nature. Human factor engineers do work in medical environments, nuclear power plants, military equipment, and much more. Human factors is so broad in nature because it has applications in any environment in which humans interact with something or someone. Because humans are working in these fields, there will be mistakes made and, as a consequence, the need to minimize human error in order to protect the best interest of human health.

But what’s the difference between Human Factors and Ergonomics?

Officesscape, Tips to Improve Ergonomics in the Workstation

According to the International Ergonomics Association and Merriam-Webster, human factors and ergonomics are terms that can be used interchangeably.

What causes Human Error?
The defintiion of human error may appear to be straightforward: when a human makes a blatant mistake. For example, an engineer making a miscalculation that leads to the instability of a structure. However, we should not define human error in such a singular manner. Ground Truth Trekking, a nonprofit that aims to protect Alaska’s natural resources through means such as human factors interventions, acknowledges that human error can stem from a multitude of factors:

 “- risk-taking philosophies
– engineering miscalculation
– mentally filtering data to fit our expectations
– “groupthink”
– social dynamics
– political pressure
– the natural difficulty humans have recognizing and responding to non-linear systems”
These factors illustrate that human errors are not always so obvious; rather, they can be poor choices or are only clear to be bad choices in hindsight after an issue arises (Ground Truth Trekking). For example, many people fall victim to placing more emphasis in evidence in favor of their hypothesis and ignoring or wrongfully discrediting evidence that goes against their hypothesis. Although someone may think that they are following the correct path, they may be blind to their biases which then results in human error.

A Case Study in Human Factors

Wikipedia, Teton Dam Sequence

The Teton Dam failure is an excellent example of what human factors aims to solve. Here is the link to the case study and explains extensively why the dam collapsed. In essence, the dam did not collapse because the engineers broke code or standard procedures. Rather, the collapse came from  “faulty investigation, disregarding of conflicting information, assumptions about evidence, and the pressures of financial commitment” (Ground Truth Trekking). Thus, political pressure, mentally filtering data to fit our exactions, and groupthink were some of the factors that lead to the breach of the damn. Since no other engineer mentioned a plan if the grouting did not hold, groupthink took away the teams ability to think creatively for unforeseen consequences. The financial restraints of the project and political pressure to complete the project allowed the engineers to mentally fit the data to their expectations when the geologists warned them of the risk of seismic collapse.

I mention this case study in order to not only define issues that human factors attempts to solve or prevent, but also relay the inherent need for human factors in order to minimize disaster.

What are the specializations in Human Factors?

According to the International Ergonomics Association, there are three broad areas human factors can be segmented into with of course further specializations within these segments:
– Physical Ergonomics: looks into human anatomy or physiology in order to minimize chronic or acute injury and productivity
– Cognitive Ergonomics: looks into human emotion and how systems can negatively or positively affect perception, memory, and response
– Organizational Ergonomics: looks how systems that include multiple people can be optimized in order to strengthen relationships, productivity, efficiency, reduce human error and much more

IEA

As mentioned before, human factors is an increasingly large field with growing influence and importance as technology continues to expand (i.e. human-computer interaction or AI). In closing, human factors aims to allow machines and systems to better fit humans.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please comment any questions/comments you have below.

Works Cited
“Big Dams & Bad Choices: Two Case Studies in Human Factors and Dam Failure.” Ground Truth Trekking, www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/OtherIssues/dam-failure-human-factors-cases-Teton-Vajont.html.
“Ergonomics.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ergonomics.
“Global Air Training Picture.” Human Factors in Safety Critical Organisations Foundation Course, www.globalairtraining.com/human-factors-safety-foundation.php.
“IEA Article and Two Separate Pictures.” Definition and Domains of Ergonomics | IEA Website, www.iea.cc/whats/index.html.
PixBay Picture, static.pexels.com/photos/267967/pexels-photo-267967.jpeg.
Teton Dam Picture. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/71/Teton_Dam_Sequence_13.jpg.
“Tips to Improve the Ergonomics of Workstations – Offiscapecommercial Furniture Solutions for the Modern Office.” Officescpace Picture, 25 June 2013, offiscape.com.au/offiscape-news/tips-to-improve-the-ergonomics-of-workstations/.
“Topic 2: What Is Human Factors and Why Is It Important to Patient Safety?” The World Health Organization, www.who.int/patientsafety/education/curriculum/who_mc_topic-2.pdf.
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