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Temp Check: Reimagining Food Safety Logs for the Digital Era

This project involved improving and making the existing food safety logging process more effective by digitizing it and integrating it with Jolt's existing application infrastructure. The solution rethought how temperature logging could be done more efficiently and accurately, while also addressing common challenges in the food service industry.

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Summary

In 90 days, we revolutionized digital food safety by designing and developing Jolt’s Time and Temperature Logs (TTL). We streamlined food safety compliance, reduced liability for food service businesses, and executed design and development in parallel for a rapid product launch.

Role and Team

  • Product Designer ✋
  • Product Manager
  • 8+ Engineers

Skills

  • User and market research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Rapid high-fidelity, variable-driven prototyping for mobile and web
  • User testing

Outcomes and Impact

  • The pilot customer reported over 6,000 logs with a completion rate of 95% in 45 days
  • A 3-person food safety team saved an estimated 24+ hours per week on reporting

Overview

Jolt’s Time and Temperature Logs (TTL) is an effective digital solution for food service businesses looking to upgrade their tracking methods. By integrating mobile and web applications with Bluetooth thermometers, TTL transformed food safety compliance into a more efficient and reliable process.

The Problem

The food service industry faced several challenges with traditional temperature logging methods. We aimed to address these key issues:

  • Inconsistent temperature recording whether paper-based or digitally
  • Time-intensive manual log compilation and analysis
  • Difficulty establishing and maintaining digital food safety compliance
  • Limited real-time insights into food safety practices

Users and Audience

Our solution targeted key groups within the food service sector:

  1. Front-line employees manage multiple tasks while ensuring food safety
  2. Administrators seeking efficient ways to configure and manage safety protocols
  3. Food safety teams requiring comprehensive, real-time reporting

Our audience included a wide range of food service operations, from deli counters and quick-service restaurants to mobile food trucks and convenience stores.

Roles and Responsibilities

As the lead designer, I worked at the intersection of business requirements, user needs, and technical possibilities. My responsibilities included:

  • Conducting user research and competitive analysis
  • Creating high-fidelity, variable-based interactive prototypes to visualize and validate our solution with customers and executives (View mobile prototype 🔒 | View web prototype 🔒)
  • Rapid iteration of designs based on feedback
  • Collaborating closely with engineers to ensure feasibility

Our team worked with design and development progressing in parallel to meet our deadline. This approach allowed us to rapidly iterate and refine the product while ensuring technical feasibility throughout the process.

Scope and Constraints

We operated within specific parameters—an opportunity for focused work and tight cross-functional collaboration:

  • A 3-month timeline from concept to launch (2 months of design and planning, 1 month implementing)
  • The requirement to integrate with existing Jolt infrastructure
  • Broad compatibility across various food service environments
  • Parallel design and development processes

Process

Our process unfolded in a somewhat structured approach:

  1. Comprehensive analysis of FDA guidelines and market research
  2. Iterative prototyping (30+ for the native app, 15+ for the web app)
  3. Regular stakeholder feedback and refinement with customers and executives
  4. Development of core processes: Cool Down, Reheat, Hot Hold, and more
  5. Implementation of an intuitive visual notification system

Throughout this process, design and development teams worked in tandem, allowing for real-time problem-solving and rapid iteration.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

The launch of TTL brought notable improvements to food safety management:

  • The pilot customer reported a completion rate of 95% in 45 days, with over 6,000 logs completed
  • A 3-person food safety team saved an estimated 24+ hours per week on reporting (equivalent to 1 day/week for the entire team!)
  • Real-time insights enabled managers to make more informed decisions and quickly identify and address potential issues

Key takeaways:

  1. Efficient development relies on close cross-functional collaboration
  2. Accurate high-fidelity prototypes are valuable for securing stakeholder approval
  3. Addressing common industry challenges leads to higher user adoption rates
  4. Customization options are important for meeting diverse business needs
  5. Parallel design and development can significantly accelerate product delivery when done strategically