Skale is a community platform for people and influencers interested in food, health, wellness, cooking, and food production. Preliminary design research revealed a desire for a central place to discuss contemporary food topics, including honesty in ingredients, marketing, and food packaging.

A beta underwent three months of testing and the app launched publicly in March 2017. In the first four months, Skale acquired over 400 registered users through organic social media outreach. I led Skale’s design efforts that included conceptual phases, prototyping and user research, production, beta testing, launch, and iteration. This involved hands-on involvement in all aspects of the startup, from onboarding and managing developers, collaborators, and partners to product management, roadmapping, and strategy.

Roles: human-centered design research, conceptual development, planning and prototyping, user interface design, web design, development team oversight, business modeling and strategy, visual modeling, and app store preparation and design.

Titles: Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer (2015 – 2017)

Collaborator: Cabot Earle (Co-Founder and CEO)

Accolades: Finalist for the 2017 Pittsburgh Create Festival, Best of the Creative Industries Interactive Category

21,500 new food and beverage products come to market every year. Skale helps members discover what’s best, learn from the crowd, and get past product marketing. Source: USDA Economic Research Service (2016 data)

↑ Skale has been developed for the Apple App Store and Google Play and supports mobile screens.

↑ Skale includes users a virtual pantry, brought to life on its log-in and splash screens.

↑ Users are on-boarded through simple orientation screens, prompting them to join communities and scan products.

↑ Aside from being a platform for discussing the foods that members already know and love, Skale is a place to discover new products.

↑ A news feed provides users with alerts to products they have on their shelves. Updates to their community threads are aggregated here for quick access.

↑ A destination for food product reviews, the Skale review system revolves around Tastes. Taste scores are aggregated into a positivity score, bringing more nuance to consumer preferences.

↑ Members are oriented toward lifestyle communities, all of which share food discussion as a common denominator.

↑ Carrots are exchanged between users to assign value and accuracy to comments. Unlike hearts or likes, one can give away as many carrots as they like, boosting the most valuable information in a thread.

↑ Engaged participants earn badges and carrots for scanning new products, leading discussions, and inviting new members.

Design Language Evolution

Early explorations in a design language.

Explorations in animations and microinteractions.

Beta release with stacked index cards and image-rich experience.

Streamlined design with cleaner top-bar, standardized UX patterns, and flatter architecture.

Insight Dashboards & CMS

↑ Prototype of a content management system for food producers to upload product information, communicate with members, and monitor trends.

↑ Dashboards were prototyped with D3.js visualizations providing interactive insights across products and brands. These dashboards were developed through months of co-design activities with small and large food producers.

Models + Research

↑↑ Early engagement model to shape the strategic plan and development roadmap.
↑ User personas based on extensive market research and interviews.


© 1997–2018 Alexander R. Wilcox Cheek