What is the problem?

Patients with celiac disease often go undiagnosed, and if they ultimately are diagnosed they are often left to their own devices to discover the necessary changes they must make to improve their health. It can be difficult to navigate a new life change, especially one that affects your diet, social life, and the way that you experience the world around you. Within the Celiac community, a majority of people with Celiac Disease share a kitchen space with someone who is not gluten-free, which greatly increases their risk of cross-contamination and illness as a result. 
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What is Celiac Disease?

 “Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications."
- Mayo Clinic
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Let's meet Emily.

Age: 23
Gender: Female
Location: Pawtucket Rhode Island
Emily is freshly out of college and has been living with Celiac disease for many years now. She was originally diagnosed at 16, but coming to terms with the disease and the life changes is an ongoing process. Before her diagnosis, she loved to bake sweet treats for her family, try new foods and restaurants, and spend afternoons watching baseball.  After her diagnosis, she found these familiar comforts a lot less comforting than they once were. Baking now required odd ingredients like xantham gum, and her friends and family were more reluctant to try her desserts.
While many of these things changed after her diagnosis, other things needed to change too, whether or not she knew it. New pots and pans, new cooking habits, being more strict with the people in her life about her diet. These changes are difficult, and Emily often feels overwhelmed and isolated due to her disease. 

Actionable Insights

After significant research, I was able to highlight several parts of the consumer experience that were important to note. I was also able to pinpoint moments in the user experience that needed attention and improvement.
The following data and insights are drawn from research, personal interviews, and survey responses from individuals internationally who have celiac disease totaling over 850 responses. All of the quotes are pulled verbatim from these responses. The sentiments expressed by interviewees are common and fairly universal.

Design Inspiration


Concept Generation + Ideation

I began my generation with mind mapping and exploring multiple different product opportunities. After interviews and speaking to individuals with celiac disease I decided to pursue the most popular and solution-oriented product. 

Prototyping and User Testing

I began prototyping with rough cardboard and foam models, and then ultimately 3D models to finetune the surfacing and perform user testing. 
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Final Design + Features

Ciao is a user-focused cooking set and phone application with the goal to streamline and increase cooking safety within the celiac community as well as provide a safe traveling cooking environment. 
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