JIM: Your Smart Kitchen Companion for Culinary Creativity and Social Connection

CSE 440 Staff
5 min readDec 14, 2023

Each Team Member’s Name and Role(s)

Alex Zhang, Jacob Frumkin, Noam Ronen: from sketching and designing, to gathering user research and testing, our team members did it all.

Problem Overview:

Unfortunately, cooking can be a daunting and unmotivating task for many people. The avoidance of cooking can bring unhealthy and expensive eating habits through heavy reliance on eating out or delivery takeaway services. Our user research has shown that the reason many people feel so alienated from cooking is their lack of cooking knowledge and the dislike of following complex recipes with no help and guidance.


For this reason, we have decided to design Jim: a smart mirror and cooking hub which can bring live cooking sessions and communities around the world right to your kitchen. Jim uses wide camera technology coupled with artificial intelligence to guide you through the cooking process, regardless of the dish’s difficulty. Jim offers instructional sessions with an AI or real chef who will help and guide you to cook whatever it is you choose. Jim also aims to bring a social aspect to your cooking experience. Through our user research, we found that roughly 75% of our participants felt more comfortable and enjoyable when cooking with others. We have specifically designed group sessions which allow users to interact and connect with others cooking the same dish in real time.

Paper Prototype, Testing Process, and Results:

When making our first paper prototype, we had to very carefully consider how we would design our prototype, since our design was intended to be very free and open-ended in terms of user control. For our initial paper prototype, we created a paper “mirror” stand, as well as different screens which would appear over the stand.

During our initial testing phase, we conducted a usability test with a group of four participants. With one facilitator, one computer, and one notetaker, we introduced our design and asked the users to complete some tasks such as selecting sessions and asking session questions with our prototype. We quickly discovered some major shortcomings of our prototype through this test: there was a lack of page to page mobility for users, as well as our intended minimalistic design seemed to confuse our users. Additionally, the absence of certain features such as reminders and schedule accessibility were brought to our attention from our users. This testing session proved to be very helpful to our team and design, as it granted us insight to features and design flaws which we were unaware of. Ultimately, our prototype received numerous alterations before reaching its stage of the digital mockup: back, exit, camera access, and microphone access buttons were added for better user control, more intuitive affordances paired with more explicit descriptions were used for better usability, and features for schedule viewing and upcoming session reminders were added for greater accessibility.

Digital Mockup:

Final Mockup Link: https://www.figma.com/proto/EbwKmQsjNVboSbJQLx8WAH/digital-prototype?type=design&node-id=5-6&t=SEK0gvooaLBxfcgX-1&scaling=scale-down&page-id=0%3A1&starting-point-node-id=5%3A6&mode=design

For our digital mockup, we chose a grayscale color scheme to keep the platform as minimalistic and modern as possible to emphasize the user’s reflection and their cooking experience (following CRAP principles). Note that the mirror reflection capability is not included due to limited budget and digitality. To tackle previous criticism, we introduced more clearly labeled features, help menus, and informative pop-ups for a more user-friendly experience. We ensured that users have easy access to comprehensive controls for mic and camera settings and receive notifications for upcoming cooking sessions. Also, note that we believed it would be better to use a physical camera cover, since it provides users with a greater sense of security, so it is not shown on the digital mockup. Other several key design changes and decisions were made to improve the user experience and operational efficiency of the smart mirror in the cooking process. A simple, more intuitive user interface was prioritized, as this was a significant critique during initial testing. We have included clearly labeled features, pop-up menus, and a help button to better assist users in navigating the application. At the end of the class user interface, we added the option to add friends, rate the class experience, and view interesting statistics of your session-mates profiles. This created the baseline for our preliminary mockup. However, for our final mockup, we hoped for a more realistic and usable interface. Thus, we utilized the interactive aspect of Figma to design and add intractability between our design frames. For our final mockup, we have an example run of what we imagine typical usage of Jim would be like, from signing up for a session, all the way to connecting with session mates after the session ends.

Our design can target many tasks, but we particularly focus on two: finding others to cook with, and receiving a real time walkthrough and assistance through the cooking process of a dish. For our first task, our design easily allows users to find a cooking session for whichever dish they would like to cook according to their preferred date, time, and session size. Our second task is achieved by joining one of these sessions and interacting with the chef and other session-mates, following the guided steps and also asking questions for the instructor. These sessions can be filled with encouragement, valuable and tailored new knowledge, enjoyment, and most importantly, quality food.


In summary, after both focus group and interview research we understood that many people convey a clear need for cooking help beyond a simple youtube video or Google search. The solution that we came up with is an interactive smart mirror that uses AI and a community aspect to help our users get more help in their cooking journey, while also connecting with others all around the world. We envision that this product will help our users not only save money but also experience benefits through making healthier choices in their diet, encouraging our users to live a happier healthier life, as well as meeting and learning about new people, communities, cultures, and cuisines.



CSE 440 Staff

University of Washington Computer Science, Intro to Human Computer Interaction