AIP - Compliant Food Search

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Roll: UX designer


The AIP App is a searchable database for people on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet. This diet is specially designed for people with any of the many Autoimmune Illnesses. Doctors like Sara Ballantyne,  have found that some foods can cause an inflammatory response in the body. The temporary (or permanent) removal of these foods can help reduce the inflammation that exacerbates a person’s symptoms. These diets serve as an alternative to a life time of medications whose side effects can sometimes seem worse than the illness itself.


  • There are many elimination diets and they don’t all agree on what foods should be eliminated.

  • There is no easy way to search for which foods are compliant.

  • Dieters are often confused when they are going shopping.


Users want to be able to easily search for foods they are allowed to have on their elimination diet.


  • Database will come from the most popular version of the diet.

  • Users will be able to search easily and get a quick response.


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As a way of connecting to potential users, I joined a Facebook group dedicated to people on the AIP diet. Very early on I noticed a trend. Almost everyday without fail, someone would pose this situation/question, “I’m in the the grocery story right now, is “fill in the blank” compliant? These posts always had a sense of urgency. This person needed an answer now, in real time. This was the initial motivation for creating this app. This was also a great indicator that this facebook group would provide a wealth of information and resources for this project.


Imagine walking into a grocery store, a thing you’ve done a million times before, only to find yourself confused about what you suddenly can and can’t eat. Foods that were previously considered “healthy” aren’t actually good for you. The aisles filled with your favorite goodies are now off limits to you, Frustrated, you think “What can I eat on this diet?!”


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114 participants

I conducted several surveys through the FB group. The first was to find out which version of the diet or diets should be featured in the app. As I soon learned, there are several versions of the AIP diet. Some more popular than others. Should they all be included or just one? If so, which one? From the results of this survey I learned that there are more than 5 versions and the Sara Ballantyne version was the most popular. I wanted to incorporate all the versions however, after speaking with my developer, we decided that as a first version, we would focus on building the database for just one version, not all of them. The second survey, validated an assumption I had. Most potential users, didn’t even know there were different versions of the diet. This means that only including one version will not adversely affect the usage.

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72 participants

Question 1 - Which version of AIP do you follow? If you follow a version not listed, please feel free to add it.

Question 2 - When you started AIP, did you know exactly which version you were going to follow or did you learn about them later?





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The goal of the app was very simple, allow the user to immediately learn if food was compliant according to the AIP diet. This flow represents the most casual user. He/She knows the basics of the diet (which phase they are in) and needs answers fast. In the flow the user gets their result in just 3 clicks.



Click image to view InVision prototype (Version 1).

 What I Learned

  • Working with a developer has taught me the importance of keeping them in the loop as the project progresses. The developer I worked with was able to guide certain app features due to their viability and time constraints.

  • “Feature Creature” is a real thing. Many times we had to control the urge to add more and more features to the app. Keeping the MVP in mind helped to confine the first version to the most important features. Other features can always be added later.